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"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Jumping the snark: The Juno backlash (backlash)

View image A teenage romantic fairy tale.

I'm a little confused about precisely where we stand at this very moment in the "Juno" backlash cycle, but I predict the anti-backlash backlash will begin any moment now if it hasn't already. The movie was warmly embraced at the Toronto International Film Festival (OK, the director is the son of the rich and famous Canadian director of "Stripes" and "Ghostbusters") and was greeted with predominantly positive reviews when it opened in December, although some critics, me included, thought it got off to a grating start. Roger Ebert even named it his favorite movie of 2007. My 16-year-old niece says it's her favorite film "ever."

Then came the inevitable backlash after the movie was no longer a "discovery": Why was this snarky teen comedy getting all this attention -- even Oscar buzz? (BTW, I've been doing occasional Google searches for "Juno"+"snark" since before the movie opened in December and the latest total is "about 26,500 results.") Arguments lit up all over the place. At Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule, Dennis Cozzalio chose it his worst film of the year. On rock critic Jim DeRogatis's Chicago Sun-Times blog, he accused the movie of "glib insincerity," suggested it could be seen as "anti-abortion and therefore anti-woman, despite its arch post-feminist veneer," and declared, "As an unapologetically old-school feminist, the father of a soon-to-be-teenage daughter, a reporter who regularly talks to actual teens as part of his beat and a plain old moviegoer, I hated, hated, hated this movie" ("Why 'Juno' is anti-rock," "More Juno Fallout," "And even a little bit more Juno").

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