A pair of rentals from the local video store really brought home for us the diversity of popular cinema ..... oh, and provided some entertainment in the process.
The first was Juno, a new release on local rental shelves. Directed by Jason Reitman, it stars Ellen Page as the title character, a sharp-tongued and spirited teenager confronting an unplanned pregnancy.
My Favorite Landman and I liked this movie ... A LOT. And, apparently, we're not alone. According to its Wikipedia entry, the film won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and earned three other Oscar nominations including Best Picture; overwhelmingly positive reviews earned it a place on many critics' Top Ten lists; the film earned back its initial budget of $6.5-million in only twenty days, during the first nineteen of which, the film was in only limited release (did it even show in Midland - I can't remember) and has gone on to earn more than 30 times that amount; while the film confronted issues regarding abortion - a sensitive subject in American culture - it won plaudits from both the pro-life and pro-choice community.
Page does a wonderful job, and the film is loaded with strong performances in supporting roles including Michael Cera as Juno's friend and the baby's father, Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons as Juno's parents, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman as a couple who may - or may not - have a role to play in the baby's future, and Rainn Wilson as one of the more entertaining store clerks to grace the big screen.
The film also benefits from a sense of realism ..... the setting and the characters are more accessible to us - we care for them more than we might the more outrageous products of a a screenwriter's fancy. The film is perfectly complemented by the soundtrack which includes several songs including the wonderful "All I Want Is You" by Barry Louis Polisar (here's a video of that, courtesy of FoxSearchlight at YouTube).
My Favorite Landman and I heartily recommend the film to you ..... but not to your kids (at least, depending upon their age). Juno is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual content and language. Your young teen may be alright with it, or may not ..... you know best.
Pt. 2 later .....