DVD Review: Mama's Boy
Film Review: Finding Amanda

Hate Mail: June 2008

My Fans

From: Brittany


Normally I am not one to take someone’s opinion to heart, but after watching Spiral It has made me realize that you have about as much imagination and understanding of this movie as a common house hold dog.

Masons character was played perfectly, during the film the audience isn't suppose to know if the character is mentally unstable or if he has actually hurt someone, Nor does the audience know about is father let alone what happened to his mother and if Amber is possibly just a figment of his imagination.
I don't watch a lot of movies, why because I find them boring, I prefer books (I guess that is why some of us have a better understanding of the world then others) But Spiral had me in a trance almost where I could not look away. I was constantly asking questions, wondering like you what Amber saw in him, but I hate to break it to you Mr. try hard big shot movie reviewer, Some people like the shy artsy type and would actually make an attempt to get to know someone not based on looks but on who they are as a person. Example being.... I did NOT think he had rape written across his forehead nor would I ever think to use that terminology for someone who seems quiet and distant. Troubled, shy and uneasy yes, rape... well that's just you being unoriginal and completely moronic.
The movie Surprised me in the end as well as through out, and by the end, the only question left, was what might that last pose have been. Was it his murdered mother? Was it how he planned to kill them? And frankly I think a movie like this is better then the rest being made to date. Unlike stupid comedies, the predictable romantic comedies, so called scary movies, action or any TV show of this day and age you actually need to use your mind, to think, to imagine, to believe in anything and become part of the movie. I guess that is your problem, you are so use to being told what is good and what isn't by the shit they make these days and who ever bribes you more for the better review, that when a genuine movie that, Heaven forbid, you actually have to use your Own brain power for and think for yourself should come along you deem it crap.
The Acting was amazing as expected from Amber Tamblyn, but as well as Mason and the supporting actors. I am sorry that you could not see the art, sociology, psychology, thought, time, genius and imagery put into the film to understand it. My advice, Read a damn book once in a while instead of sitting on your ass every day of every week rotting your mind with the crap that the industry deems good quality entertainment. That’s just my advice, If I know people like you, you will either not have read this which is ok I'm sure it would not make sense to you anyways, or you will write back telling me how I am unexperienced, and stupid and how bad I spell and how off my grammar is and what ever other slander you can possibly come up with (in other words what your higher ups tell you to say about the e-mail), and you know what, your right, but at least I can admit and know that when I enjoy something it is because I choose to not because it is what I am told to.
Thank you for your time


From: Vanessa


"Juno" is a cartoon. It’s an inflated piece of filmmaking without any consideration of tone; it just floats out there on a rubber raft made of one-liners in a pool of cancerous indie comedy cred.

I would say it does consider tone, and toys with tone for much of the movie. Playing with the viewers expectations with respect to forks and turns in the plot that are mirrored by feints within the tone. Just look at how it slips and slides around the expectations of a typical comedy, a coming of age film, a lolita type of film, and finally a romance. Everytime you think the tone is going to be forced to settle into one of these tracks, the filmmakers catch it at the last minute and flip it back on it's quirky tracks. To say there's no consideration at all of tone flies completely in the face of all reason. If anything the movie is all tone.

with a droopy sense of humor, which runs along the lines of the “I Love the 90s” cable series, only stickier and intensely crowed with self-awareness. Cody is mesmerized by affected, stagy dialogue delivered in a rat-tat-tat style, which is fine for the average production, but when the lines consist primarily of lofty pop culture references and heavily considered mallrat gibberish (think the boozy secret language of twins, only thickly underlined), it forms a puddle of artistic poison that serves no purpose but to flamboyantly parade around the writer’s questionable gift for capturing self-aware alternateen lifestyle masturbation.

Contradictory paragraph. The first half decries the dialouge for personal taste reasons, and overstates by a large margin the pop-culture references, of which there are actually few. Especially in a generation that now has a million episodes of Family Guy and Robot Chicken spewing across the airways. He then comes in at the end and says that the dialouge in the end serves no purpose. But wait. He qualifies that remark by saying it doesn't serve any purpose BUT the development of the characters. Oh wow. Brilliant criticism there. You've got two choices with dialouge, build character with it, or push plot. Sometimes you do both. But it seems here since he's decrying building character with dialouge, he'd have rather watched a movie full of Bond Villians summarizing and re-summarizing the plot for him. The fact of the matter is that the film's chief conciet is the dialouge. No more or less so than a Neil Labute or David Mamet screenplay. If you come in to those and don't like the dialouge style taken at all, chances are your personal enjoyment of the movie is not going to be as high as people who get into that. So I mean, I get why he doesn't like the movie. But saying simply that you don't like something and therefore it's bad isn't a critique, it's an opinion. No matter how harshly you blast it. Unless he's going to specifically talk about how the mallrat gibberish dialouge failed in creating mallrat gibberish characters and thus failed the movie, then his points on the dialouge are pretty moot.

Reality, or plausibility, wouldn’t be such an issue here if “Juno” didn’t struggle to humanize this cardboard character in the final reel. After 60 minutes watching Juno verbally limbo her way around town like a Hot Topic version of Dennis the Menace, I couldn’t believe my ears when Cody asked the viewer to show concern for Juno’s emotional state of the union, or any of the thinly-drawn personalities that clutter the film. It’s an enormous miscalculation on Cody’s part, exacerbated by Jason Reitman’s (“Thank You for Smoking”) submissive direction. The man hasn’t met a bit of obviousness that he didn’t love.

I'm not sure what he is particularly referring to here. Because he's so caught up in his own verbage that he never stops to say whether he's talking about the climax to the birth narrative, or the romance narrative, or what. I think Reitman does his work early for the birth narrative. The ground is laid in the opening scene with Garner and Bateman for how that relationship is going to end. And the emotional payoff for that narrative is there. Whether you buy it or not is another thing. But whether you buy it or not has more to do with Garner's performance I think, which isn't even mentioned here. As for the climax with Cera's character and Page's, again her affection for him is set and reitterated throughout the movie. And the tone of their final scenes corresponds perfectly with how their relationship was presented to that point. I mean the movie closes with them playing a song together, and that comes out of I think like the 20th minute of the filim when she is talking about how she used to be in a band with Cera's character. So now they are back to making music together. She's made sense of her feelings for him in a way that makes sense. You can't point anywhere in the script really where it contradicts it's own conclusion. And the direction never leads you that much from that conclusion either. It all has it's anticedents.

Then again, perhaps he was too busy trying to match Cody’s script with his own strained bits of quirk, also forgetting that suburban Minneapolis doesn’t have large Canadian mountain ranges or is situated in the 310 area code. Well, as long as there’s snow on the ground and someone has an “oh yahhhhh dontcha know” accent while wearing a turtleneck and small-town bangs, then that’ll do.

This is valid. Though to be fair I saw it twice and thought the movie took place in Canada somewhere. Or some non-descript nowhere. I think the movie does a good enough job of creating it's own space that the specifics of where it is are kind of beside the point, and any failings to that effect are probably not as important as he makes it seem here.

It seems the only character permitted a relatable crisis of conscience is Mark, nicely played by Jason Bateman, in the lone role of his career resurgence that doesn’t require a snarky attitude. Mark isn’t sure he wants a child, sucked into the vortex of Vanessa’s babyfever before he was comfortable with the idea. Of course Cody rewards this behavior by turning Mark into pathetically pouty lost boy incapable of growing up and giving him lecherous intentions with our pal Juno. Any complexity the script teased us with here is kicked like a football out of the movie.

I can agree with all of that. But I don't think it in and of itself should produce the screed that is this review. It's not a perfect movie. Not everything worked. But it accomplished most of what it set out to do. Which was pretty ambitious really. It's a solid debut for Cody, and a good film for Reitman to build on.

....I think that addresses the few points he brought up.

And whether you agree with them or not, you honestly can't say that that movie deserves this level of vitriol and anger. This is Diablo Cody's first screenplay I think, according to IMDB. Is it really so awful a first effort that she deserves the treatment that she gets in this review?

It's not so much a review as one man's diatribal blog that's less about the movie and more about what he imagines the scene around the movie is. This review says nothing of substance about the movie that at all illuminates the experience.

All you get from the review is that he doesn't like the woman who wrote the script, and the dialouge wasn't his cup of tea.

That's where someone like Ebert is so much better a critique. Because even when something isn't your taste, you can still critique it for what it does, and for what it asks to be taken as. You can intelligentaly bring up points the movie raises and debate them against what you've been presented in the film even. There's so many shitty critics out there and this guys review is emblematic of them. A good critic of whatever artform they've chosen to be a critic of, even if they are ripping a into something, should still make me want to be interested in that art form. But you read a review like this and it just makes you not want to watch movies. Which is dumb, because in theory he's reviewing movies because he cares about them. So instead of spending so much time tearing down the screenwriter, why not spend your time writing on the movie in such a way that someone can read your review and still be excited about the form, and come away with some ideas of where they should go instead.

There's no joy or love in this style of critiquing and it's damaging to any artform it's a part of.



Yeah Brian, I mean honest to blog.

Jay B.

Do these people really have this much time on their hands? Are they in prison, or just unemployed?


Someone needs to introduce your haters to the many uses of the comma.

Jim King

I don't watch a lot of movies, why because I find them boring, I prefer books (I guess that is why some of us have a better understanding of the world then others)

This made me laugh out loud. It's almost too sad, though. This girl has set herself up as this brain normally too smart to watch movies, but unfortunately her comments give the lie to the above quote. Just another deluded keyboard jockey I guess. You were spot on with your review. As for WALL-E while I wouldn't give it the grade you did I wasn't as crazy about it as most people seem to have been. A good B movie I thought. Technically superb, but with a lacklustre story.

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