This month marks the one year anniversary of Diablo Cody’s Academy Award-winning film, Juno starring Ellen Page as a sardonic high schooler who gets pregnant by Michael Cera and decides to carry the child to term and give it up for adoption. This month also marks the one year anniversary of the backlash against Diablo Cody’s Academy Award-winning film, Juno. In honor of the occasion, I finally watched this movie for the first time this weekend, and holy shit, the criticism that was dumped on this movie over the course of the past year has not gone far enough. This is one of the worst movies ever made, and there is a special discount movie screening room reserved in hell for it.

First of all, I’d like to get something out of the way. One of the classic defenses against Juno haters is that we are just jealous of Diablo Cody’s success. Untrue. Sure, we’d all like to get a ton of money and accolades, but I don’t think that Diablo Cody is taking work away from me. I don’t have a horrible screenplay filled with unbearable dialogue about an unrealistic teenager sitting in my desk drawer that will never get made now. Diablo Cody, like Seth MacFarlane, is not the one to blame for her success. She didn’t give herself an Oscar. She didn’t force Steven Spielberg to greenlight The United States of Tara, premiering on Showtime, Sunday, January 18th. Diablo Cody won, that is not up for debate. She should keep her Oscar and her diamond shoes that are too tight and continue to lead a long and happy life.

But Jesus F. Christ, her movie is bad.

I say her movie because she was really the story behind the whole thing. Jason Reitman may have directed, and Jason Bateman may have stolen every scene he was in, but Diablo Cody was the one with the better backstory. The problem is that just because you were a stripper one time doesn’t mean that your terrible writing isn’t terrible. I’m not going to shit on the slang-driven dialogue too much, because that was dutifully taken care of last year, but I will point out that half of it just didn’t even make sense. Forget the fact that no one, much less teenagers, say “honest to blog,” but at some point you have to realize that not all pop culture references are created equal. At one point Juno tells Jason Bateman that he should go to China and buy a baby off the black market. “I heard they were giving them away like free iPods.” Oh, cool, iPods! Those are so cool. Totally. Awesome reference to a cool thing teenagers know about, except WHO IS GIVING AWAY FREE iPODS? No, David Blaine. Or should I say, Lazy, David Blaine.

Which brings us to the plot, with its weird pro-life message based on the single unconvincing fact that fetuses have fingernails (?), its focus on idiosyncratic but completely unnecessary details, like Michael Cera’s orange tic tacs “addiction,” which is about as interesting and important to the story as the entirety of Garden State. Then there’s Juno‘s blatant hodgepodge of well-worn mid-90s to mid-00s indie tropes. There’s the hand-crafted graphics and twee visual motifs made popular by Wes Anderson and Napoleon Dynamite. There’s the older man falling for a teenager subplot of American Beauty, Beautiful Girls, Election, and half a dozen other movies.

It’s a testament to how good Michael Cera and Jason Bateman are (Honorable Mention: Jennifer Garner and Allison Janney) that I found myself laughing through my frustrated diarrhea tears at some of their lines, and feeling at the end that they’d both escaped what should have been disastrous turns in their career. Diablo should pay them both 10 percent of all future earnings for allowing her to continue working. It all rests on their shoulders. Wait, but what about Ellen Page? What about Ellen Page. Her range seems to consist of playing anything from precocious teenager who read Sarcasm For Dummies to precocious teenager who read Klutz Guide To Sarcasm. Fair enough. But also, UNIMPRESSED.

And at a certain point, we’re going to have to stop accepting movies on the strength of their soundtracks alone. It always turns out badly. I’m glad Kimya Dawson finally got the mainstream success she deserves, kind of, but did she have to earn it by throwing all of our eyes under the bus?

I just can’t say enough bad things about this movie. A rant against the first five minutes alone could fill a book.

So let’s raise a glass of Drano to the one year anniversary of the Juno backlash. May we continue to hate this movie, ))<>((.

Comments (75)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. Anonymous  |   Posted on Dec 8th, 2008 +13

    Regardless of Juno’s merits or lack thereof, you lose points for attacking the film’s ubiquitous sarcasm and “look ma, it’s a half-baked play on words” brand of sarcasm. Self-awareness fail! From you Gabe, Juno learned it from reading you!


  3. yeah but gabe doesn’t make us sit and listen to it for two hours.

    god this movie was annoying.

  4. “There’s the older man falling for a teenager subplot of American Beauty, Beautiful Girls, Election, and half a dozen other movies.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s the plot of like 7,000 movies and 3/4 of the books published since Gutenberg’s bible.

  5. JK Simmons was great too, I thought.

  6. Denzel was the Bone Collector Juno. We would have also accepted Angelina Jolie. You lose, stop talking forever.

  7. Jackie  |   Posted on Dec 8th, 2008 +3

    I really hate this movie. I even tried to give it a shot, but it sucks. Bad.

  8. y  |   Posted on Dec 8th, 2008 +5

    Yea, I thought the movie was kinda cute (except for the slang that is not really slang because no one uses it that made me want to shoot myself in the ears) but it was mostly due to Jason Bateman. I NEVER would have guessed that it would become an over-hyped monster that every teenage girl would obsess over. I saw the previews and was like, hmm that’s interesting-looking, how about I go and be the only person who sees it. I should quit my job at predicting trends.

  9. I think having the first five minutes be an unrelenting torrent of unbearable non-slang was a stroke of brilliance. Once the ironic hipster bullshit went down a couple of clicks and the frothing mad rage in my brain subsided, the rest of the film didn’t seem so bad.

    I think it was kind of a cinematic waterboarding. If you no longer feel like you’re drowning, a standard beating is probably a pleasant surprise.

    • You speak the truth. I was terrified of this movie after the first few minutes, but as I had expected it couldn’t keep it up, which may signify some laziness in Cody’s writing. The quirkiness is indeed nigh unbearable, but once it sets up every character’s little eccentricities it develops an actual story.

      And Gabe, come on. Pro-life message? I didn’t realize this was indignantgum.com.

  10. Jay  |   Posted on Dec 8th, 2008 +9

    Any good will I had about this movie is destroyed by “honest to blog”

  11. I’ve often thought to nominate this movie for TWMOAT based on how pleased it is with itself vs. how eye-roll inducing I found it. But I didn’t want to break your message boards with Juno nomination backlash.

    The intro is the worst, with its focus on converse, trippy animation and Sunny D.

  12. I think this is an overreaction. Some scenes were truly heartfelt and very nice, like Jennifer Garner raising the kid on her own, the cuteness between Juno and Michael, and although there was a couple cringe moments (my least favourite was the “free iPods thing too, I have never been given free iPods).
    But all in all, this one left me warm, and thats a lot more than I can say for a ton of other movies last year.

  13. Eh, the does get better after that. It has a nice story. And just because a girl keeps her baby doesn’t mean the movie has a “PRO-LIFE MESSAGE.” Part of the pro-choice platform, I think anyway, is that women should be able to choose whatever they want to up to a point. Drawing from my very limited insight into the experiences of women who’ve participated in the abortion process, they’ve been fairly deeply affected by the decision. The choice is on the table, but choosing to carry a pregnancy to term doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a pro-lifer. Roger Ebert wrote a really nice review of Juno, calling it his favorite movie of the year. You can find it at rogerebert.com.

  14. Victor  |   Posted on Dec 8th, 2008 -2

    Thanks for putting into words what I have been saying for a year now! You are SO RIGHT. Juno is one of the Worst Movies of All Time, without a doubt.

  15. What is really sad is when this movie came out, a friend of mine called and goes “If Ellen Page wasn’t pregnant in this movie it would so be you in High School”

    I have never wanted kill my high school self more than after that conversation started.

  16. I can’t believe gabe just rick roll’d all of you into talking about Juno again.

  17. i remember leaving the theater and my girlfriend (now fiancee) being really mad that i didn’t like it.

    juno is like the vampire weekend of movies.

  18. OntheNext  |   Posted on Dec 8th, 2008 +11

    Ok, “honest to blog” may be the worst line in the history of film, and yes, I have seen all the Charles Band movies. But it’s negated by Cera’s line at the end, when Juno tells him he doesn’t try to be cool, and he says he tries really hard. I did it approx. 0 justice there, but whatever, it was a nice moment. Plus, the iPod thing you guys are getting your panties in a twist over isn’t a reference to iPods, it’s reference to those annoying scam banner ads all over the internet advertising free iPods. Of course they don’t exist. Or are you mad because Diablo Cody outsnarked you?

    • divalcious  |   Posted on Dec 19th, 2008 0

      well thanks to someone finally saying that! i was like… really? noone got the reference to those “free ipod/xbox/etc.” ads that were all over the internet a yr. ago? way to pay attention people…

  19. the movie sucks. deal with it, defenders.

  20. REEZY  |   Posted on Dec 8th, 2008 +1

    i found alison jennings grating in this – that bullshit version of outrage speech she gives in the ultra sound clinic made me want to turn to violence.

  21. Much like Napoleon Dynamite..you either hate it or love it. I hate both equally for different reasons and I’d listen to a Third Eye Blind album rather than watch either one again.

  22. Gabe, you nailed it.

  23. TC  |   Posted on Dec 8th, 2008 +21

    What a ballsy post. Between bashing Juno, Seth MacFarlane and Third Eye Blind, I look forward to your next post where you totally stick it to “According to Jim.”

  24. Slangdini  |   Posted on Dec 8th, 2008 +10

    Well done.

    I just wanted to add that the movie was so WHITE one more time. Like In 2008 a white teenager having a baby and not crumbling is other-wordly. but if you replace page with a black girl the movie would have to be losing Isaiah 2008 or a maury povich produced feature. but i digress

    The characters weren’t even fleshed out, everybody seemed to be what Cody hoped her family would be like and random people she met in a bar. which is lame. Now my 14 year old female cousin worships page’s “rebellious attitude” and speaks sarcasm fluently (better than page) cody won

  25. I kinda liked Juno. I enjoyed watching it, and thats all I have to say.

  26. thrillhouse  |   Posted on Dec 8th, 2008 0

    Garden State did the exact same thing.. the first five minutes were so full of terrible sight-gags, you’re forced to lower your expectations so much that rest of the movie seems almost watchable.

  27. Michael  |   Posted on Dec 8th, 2008 -1


    *closes ears* la la la I can’t hear your rebuttal.

  28. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  29. Juno, Garden State, Little Miss Sunshine – all of these movies have this saccharine falsity to them with unbelievable characters and lead actors maddogging the camera. Zach Braff and Juno Paige should go lose their suicide virginity together. Bleh.

  30. “What are you listening to?”
    “The Shins. You know them?”
    “You got to hear this one song, it will change your life I swear.”

    Everything wrong with movies like Juno and Garden State and the whole Indie-film-where-people-are-so-quirky-and-learn-deep-life-lessons-to-mildly-listenable-indie-rock genre which is OBVIOUSLY the worst genre of all time.

    • thanks to people like you I have a fear that genuinely liking any movie is going to make me seem ignorant and NOT pretentious.
      So fuck it. I absolutely loved Garden State. Loved loved loved loved loved it.
      Are you melting yet?

      • I LOVED Garden State when it was first released (I was 18), but wait a few years, watch it again, and it’s BORING. I can see the appeal; the whole “wahwah i’m young and where is my life going wahwah” but it’s so contrived and self-indulgent, I can’t stand it.

        Also, anything Zach Braff touches is ruined for me. Watch the Last Kiss, then go back and watch Garden State and see how long you can last before you shoot your television. Seriously.

  31. Smurf Face  |   Posted on Dec 9th, 2008 -1

    The pseudo-slang was insufferable, particularly that phone conversation. Still, I liked Juno. Juno was good. Fuck you for having a different opinion.

  32. Tippet  |   Posted on Dec 9th, 2008 +2

    Yup. Juno’s crimes against music are really something else. Including the Velvet Underground in the soundtrack and namedropping the Stooges reeks of self-congratulation, like ‘hey, check out all the cool shit I know, RANDOMLY OBSCURE’.
    Sorry, but none of it is obsure. The only people who think so are six year olds and people with their heads jammed up their ass. Like Diablo Cody. Hey Diablo, how about I crank up some Brainbombs and BLOW your narrow-ass mind? AAAARRRRRGGHHH MUSIC DORK MELTDOWN

  33. King Ink  |   Posted on Dec 9th, 2008 +10

    The phony slanguage was bad enough in and of itself, but the fact that the film has to point out its “hipness/quirkiness/gahhh!!!” was what really made me want to slit my own throat. Like when you can clearly see that Juno has a hamburger phone, but then she has to say ?Can you hold on for a second? I?m on my hamburger phone.”

  34. TS  |   Posted on Dec 9th, 2008 +2

    Surely this movie can’t be worse than THE FAMILY STONE. Can it?

  35. The slang I get over, what wins is Jason Bateman singing Hole’s Doll Parts. DOLL HANDS. DOLL LEGS…HE WANTS TO BE THE GIRL WITH THE MOST CAKE.

  36. Maybe this movie did not completley suck ass, but it was not good. However, besides Jason Bateman’s performance the BEST PART was when Juno told Bateman’s character that Sonic Youth suck. Which they do.

  37. Rob  |   Posted on Dec 10th, 2008 +1

    After watching the Last Kiss, Juno seemed kinda cool.

  38. Brilliant article. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I would probably read a book on how bad this movie was. Yuck.

  39. zach  |   Posted on Dec 10th, 2008 +1

    Overrated…DEFINENTLY. But horribly bad? Not really. If it wasn’t nominated for an OSCAR for Best Picture, would we all hate it this much? No way. The first time I saw it I laughed a few times, I thought of it as just another indie comedy, nothing more, nothing less. Seriously though, Wes Anderson should sue Jason Reitman for style infringement.

  40. let me clarify some things.
    yes we all liked garden state when it first came out.
    if we don’t like juno it is because the movie execs have infiltrated our brains and figured out what makes us tick. they know we like quirky not so normal cute in a weird way people who I just can’t put my finger on it but they’re something…….
    they know that. they’ve tapped it. it was nice in garden state because it was innocent and new.
    then you fuckers ruined it. you exploited it and quoted it to death and commodified it.
    now it’s not fun.
    it’s as if people need to prove they like something.
    anyway, if garden state started the bandwagon, juno is the horseshit left behind.

  41. Not Important  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 -1

    It’s really too bad that hating Juno is the “in-thing” to do. It was an enjoyable movie that became an over-priced DVD and helped Cody write garbage there-after, but Juno was definitely something fresh.

  42. bob  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 -1

    i loved this movie, i don’t get why people hate it

  43. Eric  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 +10

    Juno is another example of a piece of pop culture victimized by the hipsters that couldn’t predict the next second coming. It’s only natural in human nature to react against something that we didn’t have the foresight to understand. It’s the reason why people are so defensive when it comes to politics, success, iPod playlists, etc. We always want to be the first to be in the know. Now I saw this flick when it premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. I only knew Jason Reitman from ‘Thank You For Smoking’ and was jazzed about Cera and Bateman reuniting (alhtough they shared no scenes), but wasn’t all that enthused about another pregnant teen romcom. I was, however, pleasantly surprised by its heart, humor, wit and quirkiness. While I can understand why people think the latter two may be a bit overbearing, it is no more distracting than Christian Bale’s voice in ‘The Dark Knight’, Orson Wells’ exuberance in ‘The Third Man’, or Godard’s application of cinema verite in, well, all of his movies; point being, while all of the above have been critiques, they are not enough to warrant such vehement, indiscernible hate toward a film. Subsequently, these criticims have been used to rationalize that inherent human instinct to rebel against anything that is prominent in the discourse of pop culture that was not discovered early by any given person. Juno is going down on the list of “all time greatest films that could have been great if it wasn’t for the grandiloquent cadre of hipster philistines” (also see: Sideways, Junebug, Me, You and Everyone We Know, Little Miss Sunshine, Brick, The Royal Tenenbaums, Kicking and Screaming, Amelie, Half Nelson, Slumdog Millionaire [To be added soon]).

    • See, I completely disagree with that. There’s a difference between genuinely not liking something and not liking something because it’s “cool” to do so (which I really have a hard time believing adults do). I saw Juno at a screening in New York, a couple of months before the wide release so there was some good buzz, but nothing out of control. I thought it was OK, but pretty contrived and a bit annoyingly unrealistic. A few months later as people starting raving about how original and fresh it was, my opinion did not change. If anything makes me dislike this movie more than I originally did, it’s the adamancy of people that try to get me to like it and it has absolutely nothing to do with what other people think or what “hipster” trend is at the time.

      You also mentioned Junebug – I just saw that a few weeks ago, had absolutely no idea there was any backlash against it, and guess what? I didn’t like it. Can’t a movie just be unenjoyable without throwing the credit on some hipster consipracy?

  44. FBC  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 +3

    It still wasn’t as bad as Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

  45. pooltop  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 +4

    The reason it’s so popular is because, like ‘Heathers,’ (a movie 2,000 times better than Juno) viewers want to believe that teenagers can be that clever and witty to use lines like, ‘Do you need any bones collected?’
    Ultimately, it’s way too unbelievable as a script and ends up coming across more of like a ‘Willie Wonka’ fantasy type movie than a teen angst movie.
    What of love? What of relationships? What of witty banter? The movie simply fails at every turns. Cera makes his role believable but he’s written way too precious for it to come across any better than simply ‘believable.’
    I think Cody may have had her victory and death rattle with the same movie on this one. Like so many breakout writers before her, she’ll be used as a ‘sellable’ writer until her next project fails and then nobody will touch her with a 2,000 foot (stripper) pole.

  46. Hi  |   Posted on Dec 11th, 2008 -4


    Ebert knows more than you guys. People who hate Juno are not fun to be around.

  47. Nick Norris  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 +1

    I can’t believe that the mention of free iPod’s bothers some of you so much
    Especially when there was a site that gave away IPODS FOR FREE like four years ago
    every other site had an article about how it wasn’t a scheme
    Here is one
    I even recall this being on TV!

    it seems some may not have liked this movie because they wanted to take some of it’s silly characteristics seriously
    The “slang” isn’t intended to be an accurate representation of the American youth’s vernacular, but a goofy parody of it

  48. ))<>((  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 -1

    poop on your face for ever gabriel! POOP ON YOUR FACE!!!!

  49. dave  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 +2

    It got me laid… so it was a great movie.

  50. billhaverchuck  |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 -1

    you know big word & probably took a film class or two in college! YOU WIN!!!

    still, juno is pretty lousy, and that “everyone who didn’t like it is a jealous hipster” horseshit you tried so valiantly to sell ain’t going anywhere.

  51. reet   |   Posted on Dec 12th, 2008 0

    i agree that juno is shit, but you should be shot for mentioning wes anderson and napoleon dynamite in the same sentence.

  52. I liked it. i thought it was actually really fun to watch and strangely clever. It was normal and I loved that. why is stereogum so pretentious? and why does everyone have to be so opinionated and hateful? like, it is kinda strange to me. since Christian Lander came out with his list of Stuff White People Like, audiences of movies or music, etc. will not like something because it’s LIKE OH MY GOSH SO WHITE! since when is something not good because it’s so white?

  53. Jennifer Garner was the best thing about this movie because she was the only genuine character.

    I cringed when Jason Bateman sat down on his floor and played Superstar by Sonic Youth for Juno. Was that supposed to be cringe-worthy? Or were we supposed to identify with some manchild holding onto the dream of being a rock star and making mixes for a teenager?

  54. byron k.  |   Posted on Dec 13th, 2008 -4

    Juno is MTV’s Daria. So easy to hate the fakeness. And note to creatives: when you make all the characters in your novel/play/film speak in the same idiom, they fail to seem real — they are all transparent extensions of the mind of the creator, not working characters. Hate Juno. Hate Little Miss Sunshine. Hate all fake indies. Makes me long for GG Allin, At least he wasn’t pretentious.

  55. Shut up  |   Posted on Dec 13th, 2008 -5

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  56. On a more positive note, I did like the soundtrack.

  57. Laura  |   Posted on Dec 14th, 2008 +2

    My mom and I both agreed that Juno was not so great, but the Jewno parody was very very funny. Jews FTW.

  58. Jim Tucker  |   Posted on Dec 15th, 2008 +3

    can we call him “Jason Batman” from now on?

  59. You’re all forgetting the most important argument: that this movie made people happy. If you’re against the enjoyment of other people, you’re pretty much against the well-being of the world.
    Movies are an escape from reality, so realize that no, no one speaks like these characters do, and no, no one has ever gotten free iPods (which I’m sure Diablo Cody stole from an ad on her MySpace page).
    But people were pleased with it. And you weren’t. Anything that makes people happy is at least worth something. It’s not fair to judge something poorly based on the fact that it’s over-hyped and too formulaic, considering every film is just old wine in a new bottle by now.
    I’m personally in the crowd of people that didn’t like this movie that much either, but the fact remains that anything people enjoy deserves some credit, no matter how mind-numbingly painful it is to any one of you.
    It’s pretty easy to assume that everyone on this comment list has a friend or relative that liked this movie, so, unless you wish that they be sent to “bad-film-taste” hell, I suggest you accept Juno for what it is, and move on with your life. Maybe go watch There Will Be Blood again to ease the pain.

  60. You don?t know how relieved I am to find a such a wonderfully expressed post on just how GOD AWFULL this movie really was. Everyone I attempt to discuss this with always comes back with that “I thought it was so cute” & “Aww. I wanted to be her”…. WTF?! High school student pregnancy is not cute. It’s scary and REAL. This movie made me want to break faces.


  61. kurt  |   Posted on Dec 17th, 2008 0

    i’m glad that you admit that you at least laughed amongst it being pretty trite and contrived. this in my mind puts it far ahead of “the worst movie ever.” it’s certainly not one of the best, but COME ON! watch anything Jason Friedberg has written and tell me it’s worse than Juno.

    it’s like a dead heat for what has become most popular to hate on in 2008.

  62. I think the thing that made the movie a lot more fake than the iPods or the lingo was that damn hamburger phone. OMG, she’s sooo indie she uses a land line and her phone is shaped like a hamburger! That’s so forking keen it makes me go bonkers.

    Even so, the scenes with Jason Bateman and Ellen Page were still great.

  63. theEvilAngel  |   Posted on Dec 18th, 2008 -5

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  64. sthenige  |   Posted on Dec 19th, 2008 -4

    Juno is neither a terrible movie nor a wonderful movie. In my opinion, it was a cute movie, even if it was very overhyped. My problem with both those people who love Juno and who hate it are that they all seem to have really stupid reasons for either loving or hating it. If we take a look at this review we see he hates this movie for: the slang (which was supposed to be ridiculous, that was the point), the ipod comment (which references those pop-up ads that claim you have won a free ipod, so yes, they do exist), the “weird pro-life message” (note to the author: just because a girl in a movie decides to keep her baby does not make it pro-life, pro-choice does not mean you should be pro-abortion, any woman should be allowed to do what she wants, and that’s what Juno does), the tic-tacs obsession (which provided some laughs, which, in my opinion means its hardly unnecessary), the intro credits (who cares? get over it, they lasted like a minute and a half), and the fact that the plot is somewhat similar to some other movies (this would be a valid point, but if this were a valid reason to hate movies, then we should by rights hate almost every movie ever made, because everybody draws inspiration from something already in existence).

    So, we see only one potentially valid reason to hate this movie, and it applies to almost every movie. The other reasons are either stupid (hating the tic-tac obsession and the intro credits, etc.) or simply not true (the authors ranting about the ipod comment, the “pro-life message”).

    So why does this author and millions of others hate this movie? The answer is simple! It’s super super cool and hip to hate on this movie! And it’s easy, because no one seems to care that the reasons you give for hating Juno don’t make sense!

    Get off the hating bandwagon, it’s just as bad, if not worse, than the fanboy bandwagon. Juno was a cute (and overhyped) movie, nothing more, nothing less. If you do actually dislike this movie, I would like to hear better reasons than “aw wah they said ‘honest to blog’ once”

    Wah Wah somebody call the wahmbulance

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