Saturday was more interesting than some days and less interesting than others.
It started with a two-hour spin session over at the local fitness center. I know what you're saying (I do), "Who wants to spend two hours on a spin bike?" Not only that, but I paid $6 for the privilege. The good news is that my heart rate stayed between 140 and 160 bpm for pretty much the entire time. It's lower now.
After a short nap (really) it was off to the city to see the latest high-end critically acclaimed film, "Juno". It was playing every 45 minutes in one of those multi-plex theaters where, if the rooms were a little bigger it wouldn't have to run in three theaters. I suppose they hedge their bets by making the rooms small in case they accidentally book a loser. This one is close to selling out every show, so they wind up wasting three theaters where one bigger one would do.
It's a clever story with lots of pithy dialogue. Think M*A*S*H (the TV version) with kids in Minnesota. The kind of dialogue that is so clever that it sounds written, because regular people would have to be set up with it ahead of time to speak so cleverly.
Juno MacGuff: You should've gone to China, you know, 'cause I hear they give away babies like free iPods. You know, they pretty much just put them in those t-shirt guns and shoot them out at sporting events.
The film stars Ellen Page as 16-year old Juno MacGuff, who is one of those movie-typical high school outcasts, street-smarter than most of them and she's supposed to be ugly or something. I would call her "movie ugly", which is a far cry from real ugly. Supposedly, the boys in school find her unattractive which, to me makes her all the more appealing. She will surely be nominated for an Oscar, since the film carries her character's name and if we don't buy her, we aren't going to buy the film. She is compelling and as an audience, we like her and feel sympathy for her, which is key to carrying the movie.
There's a nice supporting cast, including J.K. Simmons (Dr. Emil Skoda, Law & Order) as her father and Allison Janney (The West Wing and Ricky Fitts' mom in "American Beauty") as her mouthy stepmother. There's also a despicable role by Jason Bateman (every movie needs a despicable character) and Jennifer Garner, who narrowly avoids bimbo and moves straight to compassionate with one key scene at a shopping mall. If you're a fan of Rainn Wilson and you have seen the movie's trailer, you have seen his entire role in this film. He's pretty much Dwight Schrute with a pharmacist's coat.
It's a little different, in that a teenage girl gets pregnant and her parents support her. That's different in a refreshing way. There's an odd, too hip for the room soundtrack and ten tons of convenience store snack food references - everything from orange Tic Tacs to Super Ropes - but mostly, there's a great story and a film that somewhere between the snappy dialogue and the great acting finds a heart, and the unexpected affection that a young girl can feel for two people she doesn't know and one that is growing inside her. I give it two thumbs up - because I only have two thumbs.
At one point, when asked what she was doing, Juno tells her mother, "I was out doing something way beyond my maturity level." That pretty much sums up the film. It's one of those stories where the kids are more mature than some of the adults, so take your kids to the theater. They can help explain the dialogue, too.