BLAWWWWGGGG! Enough of this crap, time to get down to some bloggin’! Blog it out, folks! BLAWG!

One of the very few and – as far as I can tell – totally unique creative downsides to being a comic book writer/artist is that the ratios are all wrong. On average, it takes about ten times as long to pencil, ink and tone a page as it takes to write it, which means only 10% of my time goes to develop my skills with the ol’ “written word.” This is frankly unacceptable. I could write some stream-of-consciousness short stories or compose haiku beneath the sakuranbo tree, but instead I’m going to blog. (BLAAAWWWWG!)

Unfortunately, it is a matter of public record that I often have trouble getting blog entries started. I just don’t know what to write about most of the time. (It feels oddly like trying to strike up a conversation with a total stranger.)

So I’m just going to go ahead and start listing the things that make me happy.

Thanks For Happy #1: JUNO (the movie)

I just saw this thing a couple days ago. I meant to go out and see it at the theater, but uh… didn’t! I did read lots of glowing reviews, though, which really got my hopes up, and then a lot of horrible backlash reviews, which really got my hopes down, so by the time that little red DVD envelope arrived, my hopes were just all out of whack. All I could be sure of was that the movie won two Oscars and the writer has a bikini girl tattoo. A bikini girl in bondage, even.

Now, I have to be honest, the first 10 minutes or so of this movie kinda worried me a little. “Honest to blog?” Really? All the forced quirk and made-up slangtalk in the dialogue just made my blood run… well, not cold. But tepid. Definitely tepid. (“Could that Something Awful spoof be right on the nose?” I tepidly wondered.) And look, I love Rainn Wilson. I love him like candy. But his whole character just seemed like it came staggering in from the darkest recesses of Napoleon Dynamite.

It was tough going, friends. “FUCK YOU, MOVIE!” shouted my couch-buddy over her math homework.

But then… it got better. It got LOTS better. I’m not sure if I just got used to the peculiar rhythms of the dialogue or if that first little chunk was an aberration (I’ll have to watch it again), but by the end I really loved this little movie. It really is one of the best bits of 2007.

A tremendous lot of the movie’s charm has to do with the way Diablo Cody’s script consistently turns left when you expect it to turn right. Very few things play out the way you expect them to, but that’s not just some stupid gimmick; it’s all completely believable, totally real, and very, very… human. I read a lot of websnark that said Juno was a ridiculous screenwriter’s fantasy version of a teenager, way too smart, way too cool, way too mature for someone so young, but I didn’t feel that way at all. She seemed totally real to me. I’ve MET teenage girls like Juno. I’ve gotten MAIL from teenage girls like Juno. Teenage girls like Juno have left COMMENTS ON MY BLOG POSTS. They definitely exist, Mr. Smartypants Internet Movie Reviewer Guy. In fact, I bet you could find at least two or three Junos in the little clique of artsy honor students behind that group of cheerleaders you’ve been ogling.

What I found most interesting about the character of Juno, though, was that she most definitely was not “mature beyond her years.” Far from it. Just look at the scene where she first meets Mark and Vanessa. She keeps up this running patter of sarcastic little jokes and comments throughout the whole meeting, and yeah, it’s meant to be funny (the “t-shirt gun” is maybe the best line in the movie), but there’s much more to it than that. Juno is nervous. She’s out of her element. She’s flailing around blasting witticisms shotgun-style every whichaway to make the Lorings think she’s cool and to cope with her own nerves. She’s not really even thinking about what she’s saying. At one point Juno tells the slightly desperate, infertile but “born to be a mom” Vanessa she ought to be “glad it isn’t you” who has to deal with being pregnant. It’s just a throwaway comment, not intended to hurt, just part of the patter, and the screenplay is smart enough not to dwell on the moment… but it speaks loads about Juno. No one “mature beyond her years” would’ve said something like that. It was brilliant.

But as great as the script is, I’m not sure the movie would be half as good without Ellen Page as Juno. It’s funny, when I first saw her in Hard Candy a couple years ago, I thought, “That girl would be a great Serenity… if, y’know, someone were mean enough to do Serenity Rose live action instead of with Balinese shadow puppets like I want.” I have to say, seeing Juno paired up with a loud, obnoxious red-haired best pal was… sort of surreal…

I really liked this Michael Cera guy as the boyfriend, too. I haven’t seen Superbad or Arrested Development, so this was pretty much my introduction to the future Scott Pilgrim. He’s not exactly how I pictured Scott Pilgrim in live action, but then… I’m not exactly sure what I was picturing anyway (BALINESE SHADOWN PUPPETS). He’s a funny actor, though, and about the right age, so it’ll work. And with Edgar Wright directing it should be… um…

Yeah, I should probably save all that for another post.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen Juno yet, you should. Just please don’t flee in terror when you hear the phrase “Honest to BLOG!”