Is it Them or Me?

I watched Juno last night. This is the critically acclaimed movie from last year that won an academy award for best screenplay. It's a story about Juno, a 16 year old high school student who gets pregnant and decides to give the baby up for adoption. You can see from RottenTomatoes that it got a 100% rating from top critics. Roger Ebert, in particular, gave it a gushing review and declared it the best picture of the year.

I beg to differ. I think the movie was ok, and I made it through to the end, but it is not anywhere near as good at the critics say. In fact, much of what audiences and critics liked about the movie I just found tiresome:

1) The characters aren't remotely real. Juno's character in particular behaves like no 16 year old I ever knew. This is especially so in the first 15 minutes of the movie, where her reaction to her pregnancy is insouciance and little else. Her hip-ness and coolness grates on you throughout the entire movie. Only her mother in law (surprisingly), her father, and her boyfriend seem remotely real, but they are not very central to the movie. Frankly, even the characters in the quirky Napoleon Dynamite seem more real.

2) The dialog is too edgy for its own good. Every line between Juno and her friend is filled with hip jargon and foul language. Practically every slang word ever uttered is worked in somehow. Boss? Her boyfriend is boss? Juno and the adoptive father-to-be discuss obscure punk bands from the 70s. Sure. Juno discusses admiringly the films of Dario Argento, citing Suspiria (1977) in particular. Give me a break. Suspiria, by today's standards (Saw and Hostel,) would seem like a joke to today's 16 year old.

3) The music. So very very bad. It's a collection of indie rock/folksongs from no-talent "bands." I guess having no musical ability is what passes for talent these days. If you can't sing or play guitar, why not celebrate that fact and become an indie folk-rock singer/guitar-player? Anyone can make an album these days. It doesn't mean everyone should.

I seem to be getting more and more removed from mainstream tastes in movies. I'm not sure why. I had a similar reaction to "Dan in Real Life," another critically acclaimed stinker filled with characters I would avoid in real life.

Hence the title of this post. Is it them or me?