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VIDEO: Juno (2007)

BONUS! A completely unrelated mini-review of a cartoon from Mendo’s childhood:

Mr. Mendo is joined by co-host Sursum Ursa to review Juno, the Best Picture nominee starring Ellen Page as a Sunny D-guzzling pop culture reference machine who gets knocked up by Michael Cera and decides to give the baby up to Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman. Correction: Ursa reviews the movie, while Mendo unleashes a torrent of mindless self-indulgence, complete with cameos from Johnny Oldschool, the Unusual Suspect, Liam AKA Cheapus, Joey Tedesco as Dr. Rockso, a musical interlude from Full of Questions, and a special appearance by Robert Million as the Log Lady. Yes, all of this happens during the review. Honest to blog.

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  • MichaelANovelli

    When some people say, “Why?” Mendo says, “Why not?”

  • Cristiona

    Ugh.  Too precious for my taste.  Toss it on the pile with all the other crap.  Can I assume that Napoleon Dynamite is going to be pounded on soon?

    And actually, Jennifer’s Body is kind of a guilty pleasure of mine.  Well, a very guilty one, but the core concept really really kind of amusing (“What happens if the virgin sacrifice is actually a massive slut?”).

    • MichaelANovelli

      The review or Juno?  Because the review is intentionally precious, as we’re making fun of the film for it.  🙂

      I might do Napoleon Dynamite…

      • Cristiona

        Well, I kind of skipped ahead to the “Get on with it!” joke.  From that point on, the review was fine 😛

  • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

    Mendo as a true hetero male, never lose the muttonchops, they were epic…also was that Full of Questions on the guitar she’s really talented.  A great review, and Ursa goes from one creeper (you) to the Porn Critic (another) in a series of great crossovers.  I know it’s all in chest…I mean jest but it’s all in good fun.  Another good review, and I like how this site is a lot more interactive than the Competitor is, and everyone provides entertaining reviews.

  • Sofie Liv

    Ursa is starting to really make herself many enemies on the site…

    Heh, good thing we are all good friends with Jill Bearup X)
    Loved the log bit, that was oddly hillarious, all though I am among the people whom actually does like this movie, so well yeah, nice thing to have a two-side perspective.  

    • Jill Bearup

      Mendo says it’s from a really quite bizarre American show called Twin Peaks, because…yeah, I had no idea what it was about either. 🙂

      • Fire walk with Mendo? I sense another parody here. How are you at talking backwards?

        • MichaelANovelli

          Why not?  I’ve often suspected that the owls are not what they seem…

    • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

      Shouldn’t it be Holmes making the enemies and not Watson?  But I digress…

      • MichaelANovelli

        Well, as I recall, in that one game, Watson just kind of teleported everywhere and was creepy as hell, so…fair play, I say!

        • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

          A UK person being creepy as hell…I recommend Tim Curry for the role!

      • Sofie Liv

        I actually quite recently found out that Ursa is actually secretly Mycroft Holmes.

        She is putting surveliance on every-body claiming it’s “For our own protection.”
        Is strangely at all the important places to be mingling with important people.
        Some-how gets all of us to do her own dirty work
        Shrugs off all complaints with a kind of smug smile..
        Have what you call. “Polite rudeness.” where she is being very rude, but only using polite words and often you first figure what she said after the conversation took place.. and she seems compleately oblivious to how we feel when she invades our privacy..

        Sursa Ursum is the person inside of Mycroft Holmes…

        And of cause I got no such thing as enemies! why that is madness, I would never purposely annoy mr. Mendo…..

        • MichaelANovelli

          On purpose, she says…

          • Sofie Liv

             What? me? never!

            What kind of mad talk are thou speaking?

        • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

          She is from a country known for messing up other countries politics, and also for having hawt women being a distraction, so I can’t help but think this is a greater part of her plan of being Iron Lady 2.0 that just seems to be where things are going…we are all instruments in her plan of mass conquest, and I am going to enjoy the ride!

          • Jill Bearup

            Everything is proceeding as I have forseen it…

  • kennzeichen1d

    Go MENDO!
    Go MENDO!
    Go… other… folks!

  • Liam Barrett

    Given this review, and the name of one of the characters in MY latest review, would it be right to call it Unofficial Juno Week here at The Agony Booth?

    • MichaelANovelli

      I suppose we probably should…

  • Immortan Scott

    I haven’t seen Juno in a while and I don’t remember a lot about it, but I remember that I thought it was OK and not as good as some other people said.

    • MichaelANovelli

      In my experience, this is one of those films that makes people look at you like you’ve got three heads if you say you didn’t like it…

  • Cyvaris

    Well…the Film Brain reference made me laugh a bit to much.

    • MichaelANovelli

      Is there really such a thing as laughing too much?

      • Cyvaris

        When it causes me to spray lemonade out my nose…yes, yes there is. I’ll be scrubbing it out of my laptop for a month.

        • MichaelANovelli

          Great, now I want a lemonade…

          • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

            Minute Maid Lemonade, or Sunkist Lemonade?  Both are sour for the record…I need a disapproving meme to to float over this comment…

          • MichaelANovelli

            I like the Turkey Hill Lemonade!  It comes in Strawberry Kiwi!  🙂

  • MichaelANovelli

    I’m amazed the movie’s die-hard fans haven’t come out of the woodwork, yet…

    • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

      I can pretend to be a die-hard fan just to troll you, but that would be as likely as Film Renegardo being a closet Twilight fan or Sofie being a closet Professor X die-hard fan…

      • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

        Oh and Renegardo was an intentional misspelling…it just adds to the accent more…and the Smoggies was a great show I still have fond memories of that one.

        • MichaelANovelli

          They used to play it when I lived in Alaska.  That made me happy!  That’s actually when I saw this one, if my memory serves…

          • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

            You lived in Alaska?  Did you survive 30 Days of Night?

          • MichaelANovelli

            Can’t say I did, no…

        • *hides his Jacob posters* I have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

            This is the Internet!  No lies, cheats or steals here mi amigo!  We can however complain about inept governments, shady police and the Kardashians without any guilt!  I love North America!

    • Jill Bearup

      I said nice things about the movie. That might help. 🙂 (Also, your summary is both hilarious and accurate)

    • FullofQuestions1

      Yeah, I should’ve at least commented by now. I mean, I DID teach myself to play “Anyone Else But You.”

    • Muthsarah

      I’m not a die-hard Juno fan, but I liked the movie a lot.  I have no problem with movies whose characters don’t act like real people do, as long as they can make their unrealism fun in some way.  Nobody in real life could possibly converse or soliloquise as quickly or densely as the characters in His Girl Friday, The West Wing, or The Lion in Winter, but their dialogue is meant to be faster than real-life, unique to the nature of the work, and helps to create a whole world of unreality, idealism, or just exaggerated emotion for drama’s sake.  The screwball films of the 1930s are chock-full of characters written to be whimsical or eccentric well past the brink of insanity, but their exaggerated behavior and the ludicrous situations they end up in IS the joke.

      At the same time, playing the same song over and over and over again can get tiring, but it’s not lazy or bad film-making to use that as a technique, unless you think it’s bad to repeatedly use the main themes of Ben-Hur, Back to the Future, or James Bond; the vaunted From Russia With Love plays the theme at full volume when James is casually searching his hotel room 20 minutes in.  Sure, Juno’s whatever song isn’t comparable in qualitative terms (IMO), but it’s the same technique.  Chungking Express played California Dreamin’ four times over the course of the movie (and I hate that song), but that didn’t derail the movie for me; the song was an idee fixe, and it only played at times that fit the story and the characters.  Juno, for its part, uses its song as a thematic and literal bookend.

      If you don’t like the way the characters talk or the way music is used, that’s fine.  But that’s based on your reaction to these specific uses of these techniques; the filmmakers didn’t do anything wrong in using them.  It wasn’t your flavor of quirk, clearly, but I bet lots of other movies have used similar quirks that you did like (*cough* Twin Peaks?), if you just cared more about the specific characters or the story.

      As for cutaways jokes or other divertissements like the running joke here, I think it’s a highly effective way of condensing jokes or ideas, showing backstory, or taking us into the characters’ heads (not in a Malkovich way) that allows the filmmakers to take advantage of the strengths of the medium.  Alternatively, it can explore elements of the movie that are tangential to the story, would be hard to squeeze in as a B-plot, but which still flesh out one or more of the characters or just give a viewer a more detailed view of the world the characters live in, and thus where they come from when they act the way they do.  It’s not “hipsterish”, it’s good film-making: expand and explore the characters while still keeping a fast pace, as movies allow you to do.  They’re not filmed plays, they’re works that can be filmed separately and edited together, all being viewed by an audience that can be as omniscient as the filmmakers want them to be.  If you want them to see what a character is thinking without having the other characters in the scene also seeing it, thereyago: cutaway scene.  I don’t think the pop culture references or that one joke about the girl was obnoxious or ill-fitting, it gives us a feeling of the mindsets of a couple of misfit teenagers, and a chance to jump into Juno’s head and listen to her tick without having her deliver a quirky spiel to a glazed-over Bleaker who probably would be having a hard time keeping up.

      Long story short (insert Clue reference), I don’t recall seeing a single gripe in the review that can’t be easily dismissed as “just not Mendo’s cup of tea”.  Juno’s not a badly written movie at all, it didn’t break any cardinal rule of “good film-making”, it’s just clearly not the kind of story you’re interested in.  In other words, there are no fundamental artistic or structural deficiencies in the movie (that could, perhaps, be deconstructed Plinkett-style).  It’s all taste.

      For that reason, I do really like the way you structured this review.  I just hope you weren’t criticizing the use of this kind of structure in general as obnoxious, lazy, or deliberately alienating.

      I do agree that the movie went a little too far (for me) in a few instances, where Juno said things that seemed too forced to me (Thundercats, especially), but that’s only a small amount of the references.  The rest seemed perfectly consistent with a young rebel who rejects anything mainstream, probably values anything obscure or unknown just so she can think of it as a little secret she can keep from the rest of the world.  Teenagers tend to have an anti-“normal” streak to them.  That’s probably Juno’s singularly defining characteristic and I think nothing could be so realistic.

      • MichaelANovelli

        I say this in all seriousness: this was longer than my script.  Well done!

        • Muthsarah

          Quantity has a quality all its own.

          It’s also a handy crutch. :p

  • Joelkazoo

    I ruined a potentially great relationship by not pretending to like this movie. She just could not get over the fact that I didn’t think this movie was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Much like Scott Pilgrim, this movie is too damn hip for its own good, especially the first half hour. I will admit to warming up a tiny bit to it around the time Juno and Mr. Bateman started watching “The Wizard of Gore”, but was ultimately left with a very “meh” feeling. 

    That said, I think Ellen Page is cute as hell and she was great in “Super”, especially when she died. >:)   

    • MichaelANovelli

      I wouldn’t know.  Unlike with Michael Cera, I hate Ellen Page so much I refuse to watch anything she’s in…

      • Jill Bearup

        See, I love Ellen Page because she was Shadowcat once, and Shadowcat is just my favourite member of the X-Men ever. So I was totally biased towards liking this movie. And even with the incomparably stupid dialogue, I did. 

        • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

          There was also no one better suited to play Shadowcat than Ellen Page, who like Beast got a great casting choice.  Juggernaut?  Not so much and I’m a huge Vinnie Jones fan but he was a terrible Juggernaut.  Ellen Page was also really good when she started in Trailer Park Boys, a cult comedy here in Canada (set and filmed in Nova Scotia) and just her career went up from there…and seeing her now from then makes me feel really, really old…

      • FullofQuestions1

        Then I should stop trying to persuade you to watch Hard Candy, Inception, and An American Crime.

        • MichaelANovelli

          Most likely!  😉

      • Joelkazoo

         Just thought you might appreciate the fact that she has a horrible, violent death in that film. And listen to FullofQuestions1! Hard Candy is an awesome movie! I haven’t seen either of those other ones she mentioned, nor any of the X-Men movies, so I can’t say about those, tho I’m very reluctant to see Inception cuz I’m afraid I’ll be disappointed.

    • Kids today!

      No offense to Page of course (cute as she is), but she was probably the weakest actor in Inception. Of course, considering who else was in the movie…

      • MichaelANovelli

        Well, I was probably never gonna watch Inception, anyway.  Not a huge Christopher Nolan fan…

  • FullofQuestions1

    Here’s an uncut version of the song I play in the video.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptjVeRUTF_k&feature=plcp

    • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

      You sounded absolutely terrified to be singing…but the pitch, strums and melody were solid, so it’s mostly a matter of getting comfortable performing than the performance…at least that’s my review of it.

  • MichaelANovelli

    So, y’all like the bonus video, then?  I made it just for you!

  • FullofQuestions1

    By the way, Mendo, you’re definitely not invited to my Juno-watching party.

    • MichaelANovelli

      What is that?  What even is that?

      • FullofQuestions1

        It’s an evening where my friends and I get together and watch Juno while eating popcorn and drinking enormous slurpees.

        • Russell Brin (Facebook sux)

          Sounds like me except we watch UFC, drink a lot of beer and eat BBQ steaks and ceasar salads…

  • Kids today!

    So when are you going to look at the other terrible (mileage may vary) film from Diablo Cody? (Jennifer’s Body)

    • MichaelANovelli

      There’s a lost episode about that one; other than that, I don’t know…

  • MichaelANovelli

    This reminds me, when the show comes back I really should review Youth In Revolt…

  • Thomas Stockel

    I never saw Juno, not my kind of film.  But I could tell from the commercials and clips that it was doubly not my kind of movie.  The dialogue just sounded so…fake.

    • MichaelANovelli

      And not even the good kind of fake!

  • Tedzey71

    So how about that Rockso guy?!

    • Sofie Liv

       just keep him away from my appartment please.

    • MichaelANovelli

      He got some cocaine!  Don’t tell nobody…

  • MichaelANovelli

    A big thank you to everyone who’s donated so far, and those who haven’t yet!  🙂

  • Sorry Mendo, gotta side with Jill on this one. I dig Juno. =P Entertaining video though. =) 

    • MichaelANovelli

      Oh, you can side with her if you want to, Josh, but don’t forget, you and Jack owe me one when I come back!  😉

  • Sean

    You know I’m not terribly fond of the women on this site. Mostly because they tend to be tumblr style fangirls. So meh.

    • MichaelANovelli

      Well, that’s why I invited so many sexy men!

      • Muthsarah

        Wait….Mr. Mendo….are YOU the power behind the AB throne, so to speak?

        • MichaelANovelli

          Nah, I am a man of constant sorrow. I’ve seen trouble all my days.