It’s a very rare time when a movie can bring together an audience made up of people from different backgrounds, neighborhoods and walks of life. Most mainstream movies are obsessed with attracting the highest audience possible, so they suck all the life and uniqueness out of it, which isn’t hard to do since most movie producers are technically vampires anyway.
We are living in one of those times. Juno opened three weeks ago and people are still talking about it as if a screening will help you see the eyes of Jesus Himself. The premise seems fairly ordinary. A teenage girl gets pregnant and has to deal with the rapid changes her life is about to undergo as she struggles with the fate of a human life that didn’t ask to be born. The difference with this film seems to be the execution. Unlike other movies, it’s genuinely funny and unique and doesn’t make you wish you weren’t born for having watched it.
This review isn’t based on my personal viewing of the film. In fact, I haven’t even seen the bastard (no pun intended) yet. This is based on the review of the film from everyone I know who has seen the film and insists that I either see it or suffer the wrath of God.
These people are everywhere. It’s easier to escape from Guantanamo Bay with only duct tape and plastic sheeting than the phrase “You have to see Juno.”
“Dude, you have to see Juno. If not, you should donate your eyes to someone more deserving – like a guy who edits dogfighting films.”
“You haven’t seen Juno yet? You should. How do you sleep at night? On a bed of nails made from the bones of baby elephants? I’m assuming since you’re so unfeeling.”
“You should see Juno because if you don’t, than the terrorists win. The CIA said they’ve seen it and evidently have a better sense of humor than you. That’s right, terrorists are funnier than you.”
I’ve even gotten the “You should see Juno” drop from so-called friends who haven’t seen the movie. They’ve only seen the trailer. They are telling me to see a movie they haven’t even seen for themselves. This is the same reason I never let them set me up on blind dates.
It is for this very reason that I will not see Juno. I’m not saying the movie’s bad or not worth seeing. I loved director Jason Reitman’s take on Thank You for Smoking, one of my all time favorite books and writer Diablo Cody is on her way to becoming an edgy scribe who’s words will echo throughout the world long after her lifetime. It’s probably better than half of the films on the marquee. Why should I see a movie just because everyone else says I should? On the one hand, it’s good to see that something as simple as a movie has managed to touch so many hearts and minds and bring people together on so many different levels. On the other hand, that’s also how Nazi Germany started.
It would be one thing if everyone said, “You might enjoy this film.” That would imply that they like me and know me well enough to recommend something they think I might enjoy. It’s the “You should” that makes me want to claw their eyes out with dull fingernails so they can’t ever tell me what movies I should or shouldn’t see again.
“You should” is a very smug and subtle way of saying, “Hey dumbass, I’m smarter, deeper and more knowledgeable about this than you ever will be.” I know because I used to say it a lot and most of the time, it was a worse idea than letting the Insane Clown Posse open a Wiggles concert.
I said “You should” all the time, especially when it came to movies, and whether or not I was right, a part of me garnished my id with a smug self sense of superiority that made me feel that I was better than them. It was a good feeling, but now that the lampshade is on the other drunk’s head, I couldn’t have looked more pompous if I was French.
Opinions are personal beliefs, not widely held facts. You can share them with others. You can stand on top of a building and shout them to the world until the police talk you down. You can let the people you know your take on the world whether it’s politics, religious beliefs or movies.
When you start a sentence with the phrase “you should,” your opinion becomes a fact whether it’s right or not, and I don’t want to live in a world where people’s personal opinions, feelings or beliefs are pushed on other people as indisputable facts or France.