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Episode 100 - Juno vs. Whiplash (w/ Franklin Leonard and Kate Hagen)


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Poll: Juno vs. Whiplash (101 member(s) have cast votes)

Which film becomes Canon-ized?

  1. Juno (47 votes [46.53%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 46.53%

  2. Whiplash (36 votes [35.64%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 35.64%

  3. Neither! (18 votes [17.82%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 17.82%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 Dalton Maltz

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 11:44 PM

Franklin Leonard and Kate Hagen of The Black List join Amy this week to pit “Juno” against “Whiplash.” Franklin makes his case for “Juno” with the potency of the written dialogue and what the film signifies as a cultural watershed moment, and Kate argues in favor of “Whiplash,” noting the enjoyability of J.K. Simmons’ character and breaking down the more intense sequences in the film.

#2 HoldenMartinson

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 12:36 AM

Was going in with Juno, and this episode clinched it.

I love Whiplash. It's one of my all-time favorites, and it's a far more engaging film experience.

That said, Juno could win on cultural impact alone. But I think Juno, in terms of its craft, is incredibly underrated. For as mean and lean as Whiplash is, Juno is a film about the crossroads of adulthood, whether it's keeping a baby, or being there for your pregnant daughter, or being honest about why you're with who you're with, and it would be so easy to slip into something melodramatic and overwrought. Juno is nimbler in its execution, because it deals with far tricker, more nuanced themes, without taking them too seriously, but without making too much light of them. In terms of screenwriting--honestly?--Whiplash is trash. Damien Chazelle's talents live and die on his direction. He's a visual storyteller like no one else, but his scripts are embarrassing. Juno is a film that, for one, actually has a soul. It has an identity and voice that is all its own, and that no one can capture with the same seamless authenticity.

I love Whiplash. It's a solid picture with no shortage of memorable moments, and it has a lot to say about talent, and male relationships, and ambition, and suffering for one's passion. But honestly, I think the characterization and dialogue alone leave so much to unpack in a way with which Whiplash can't compete. I think we need to adopt Juno into the canon, father or no father.

#3 andyradicalpossumtackler

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 03:41 AM

I can't stand "Whiplash." It's all jazz, self-importance, and toxic masculinity, with very little insight about any of it. Repellent.

Team Juno!

#4 Re42scott2

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 09:20 AM

I wish "None of the Above" was an option, but for me this one is pretty easy. JUNO does have great dialogue and seems to have influenced several low to mid budget comedies that came after it. It is not a great movie despite superb performances by Ellen Page and (yes) Jennifer Garner. WHIPLASH is a C-grade movie to me (on a grading scale of A to F). JK Simmons is amazing and his "not my tempo" was the most annoyingly imitated line of late 2014, but please explain to me what the third act of that movie is? I'm convinced it does not exist.

#5 LTL

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 10:53 AM

how is Whiplash even in consideration to be 'canon-ized'? ..and Juno while great on original viewing it has not aged well into " a classic" either.
This is a clear case of C) NONE OF THE ABOVE

#6 Cinescare

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 11:33 AM

The biggest of NO votes for 'Juno'. I've seen this film numerous times, both when it came out and recently, and it truly does not age well. And while the directing and most of the acting is well done, and the story, in general, is decent, the dialogue is absolute garbage. Diablo Cody tries so hard to create her own language, and it comes off very aggressive. It's as if after the success of 'Napoleon Dynamite', she based a script around trying to create her own language and catch phrases in the same way that it did. Because of this, the film comes off extremely obnoxious. And I disagree with the panel when they say that this dialogue disappears after the first act. It's throughout the entire film, which made this most recent viewing unbearable.

To be fair, neither film is worthy of being in the canon, and my vote was a vote against 'Juno', as opposed to a vote for 'Whiplash'.

#7 Lawbster31

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 12:07 PM

Why the hell are they adding a Neither option... the entire point of The Canon has always been "deal with it", and people complained and complained in literally every versus episode that there needs to be a Neither option. But now it's here to stay apparently. I miss Devin more every episode.

Anyway, out of the two movies, Whiplash is my personal favorite. It's massively entertaining and incredibly well shot and acted, and as a musician myself, it's relatable in a pretty upsetting way. Juno is a moving, beautiful movie that is also incredibly well acted. It was relatable for me in high school and it's relatable from an entirely different point of view now that I'm (more of) an adult. This is how Malcolm In The Middle is for me too by the way, but that's not really relevant here. The problem with Juno though is the appallingly bad dialogue. Yes, it's mostly at the beginning, and that first scene with Rainn Wilson is basically unwatchable, but it continues throughout the movie and never really settles to sounding natural. So for my personal canon of movies, my vote goes for Whiplash all the way.

But for this Canon of movies that need to be passed down and watched by future generations, there's really no question that Juno is the winner (not Neither, cowards). The movie is important to watch for high school kids, college kids, and adults, whether settled down or not. Everyone can get something different out of the movie, and I think it's important for high school kids especially to see a funny and relatable movie that deals with teen pregnancy in such a realistic way. Like they said in the episode, this movie kind of soured for me over time, but coming back to it (after about 15 minutes), I remembered why it meant so much to me and my friends 10 years ago. So my vote for The Canon is Juno all the way.

#8 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 12:16 PM

I would also say "Neither" in this case, though I like both movies. If forced to choose, I pick Whiplash, in that I think it's the more exciting, challenging, better-made movie. But I am not sure about its Canon-worthiness, in large part because Chazelle's career is still so young. Will this age into being a great breakout on par with later great works (a la Mean Streets)? Or will it look like a promising first entry by someone who later did his TRUE Canon efforts? Or will Chazelle flame out and make us look back on when he used to be interesting? I don't know for sure.

Juno is a good, solid, accessible movie. I like that it has empathy across the board for its characters, and I like that it tackles a difficult subject (teen pregnancy) without a lot of moralizing and bluster. Cody's writing style and Reitman's directorial style are indeed good complements for each other. But has it really held up as a cultural touchstone? I also remember when everyone was doing Napoleon Dynamite quotes left and right. Do them now and people will just stare at you blankly. Why? Because it was a flashy empty gesture of a movie that tried to cash in on the "quirky indie comedy" boom of its time. Juno is better than that, but I'm not sure I see that its influence has extended beyond that temporary boom. And if you REALLY want to investigate where the influence for this filmmaking style came from and Canonize that, then I think you have to go to Wes Anderson (Rushmore or The Royal Tenenbaums) before this.

So I vote Whiplash because I think there is at least a chance that with Chazelle's imprint it holds up over time. I think Juno's time has passed, and it hasn't gotten there. Not because it's bad, but because it doesn't have anything outstanding to break it out of the pack of perfectly good movies that aren't Canon.

#9 FictionIsntReal

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 12:24 PM

I was expecting this to be easy: I prefer Young Adult to Juno, and Whiplash to (nearly Best Picture winning!) La La Land. But it seems too recent judge how canonical it is.

Regarding the neither entry: it actually seems like a good idea, since in non-vs episodes we have that option. It does make it harder to compare with prior vs episodes which lacked that option.

#10 Ryan L

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 05:03 PM

Juno vs Whiplash; Or, Amy's weekly opportunity to bash La La Land

Really though, she seems to have a serious beef with Damien Chazelle. She makes a side-dig at him of supposedly being a jazz drummer, she says all he can do is jazz movies (for worse he wrote the story for The Last Exorcism Part II, but for better he did re-writes for and was supposed to direct 10 Cloverfield Lane before Whiplash got the greenlight). It's getting to the level of how much Devin hated things with seemingly petty reasons. I can't wait for how she ties the Chazelle/La La Land hate into Shakespeare in Love.

And it should be said that I'm an Amy fan and was almost always on her side during the Amy/Devin era (especially when he would take pot shots at her), so the concern/criticism comes from the heart.

#11 Galactiac

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 05:53 PM

There's a lot that I like about Juno, but there's also enough twee dialogue throughout the movie that I'm constantly taken out of it. It's a really tough thing for me to ignore. The first 10 minutes is definitely the worst, but every time it pops back up even a little bit it's like the movie hits a massive speed bump for me. There are a lot of reasons I'd like to vote for it, but it's not a great viewing experience for me.

I have to go with Whiplash, but it's a soft yes.

#12 Galactiac

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 06:20 PM

oh btw "collect some bones" is one of those things you say as a young college student, but don't necessarily share as an anecdote on a podcast later on.

#13 Johnny Pomatto

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 09:58 PM

This is tough. The first time I saw Juno, going into it with much hype and praise, I wanted to tear my ears off for the first 20 minutes or so. The twee dialogue, hamburger phones, and the like were too much for me. However, Amy & co is right, that really does vanish pretty quickly. It bothers me that it's so aggressive in the early scenes because it makes the rest of the film feel even more separate, but I really love the rest of the film, and have grown more tolerant over the early moments that initially bothered me. I don't really love "Juno the Comedy" but I find "Juno the Drama" to be very effective and still potent to this day. When I first saw Whiplash at the New York Film Festival, I was absolutely floored. The thrill of seeing that movie (though to be honest, mostly that first scene when Teller drums for Simmons) had my heart pounding in a way that movies don't often excite me much anymore. It was maybe my favorite film I saw that year, though not the best as I'm aware of some of the flaws that don't totally work in the film. I found Whiplash more affecting and powerful upon first viewing than I did when I first saw Juno, but I still have to vote JUNO into The Canon over Whiplash because I feel that if we're judging these by blacklist scripts that made the bigger splash and cultural impact (for better or worse), I think Juno wins hands down. The tone and style of not just Juno, but also screenwriter Diablo Cody felt so new and unique that year, that while we still see constant imitations, we're always pretty confident in being able to separate the influences from the original. I think Damien Chazelle has some real talent, and I think Whiplash was a very impressive film for such a young director. The fact that I loathed La La Land does not affect my vote on its own, just as Cody's work on Ricki and the Flash doesn't taint my memories of Juno. But although I may have enjoyed Whiplash more initially, I don't know if I'll see much new in it if I were to revisit it in 5 or 10 years. I don't know if Juno has all that many mysterious layers either, but it does work better as a cultural time capsule, and marks the true arrival of Ellen Page. Welcome to The Canon, JUNO.

#14 KomariVolta

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 10:12 PM

Had to go with Whiplash based purely on personal experience. I was a Jazz drummer in high school and college. The film makes me relive the anxiety I felt during those years.

#15 JJ95

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 02:09 AM

So we could have gotten Juno vs Little Miss Sunshine? And instead got this pairing? OK, I guess...

My vote goes to Juno. It's definitely a Pop Culture Milestone Whiplash just cannot touch!

#16 joel_rosenbaum

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 03:10 AM

 sycasey 2.0, on 01 May 2017 - 12:16 PM, said:

I also remember when everyone was doing Napoleon Dynamite quotes left and right. Do them now and people will just stare at you blankly. Why? Because it was a flashy empty gesture of a movie that tried to cash in on the "quirky indie comedy" boom of its time.
I think you're misremembering the time a little bit here, because the landcsape of "indie comedy" was pretty barren around the time of Napoleon Dynamite. That movie was strikingly different in tone than anything by Wes Anderson, Terry Zwigoff, or Alexander Payne.

It was a weird little movie that completely came out of left field for its time. It featured a bunch of people who had never been on screen before and for a large part wouldn't be again. I would argue that the reason why Napoleon Dynamite doesn't hold up is that it captures a nostalgia for a very specific time. Those references are completely meaningless to the majority of the film-watching public (more than) ten years later.

#17 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 08:55 AM

 joel_rosenbaum, on 02 May 2017 - 03:10 AM, said:

I think you're misremembering the time a little bit here, because the landcsape of "indie comedy" was pretty barren around the time of Napoleon Dynamite. That movie was strikingly different in tone than anything by Wes Anderson, Terry Zwigoff, or Alexander Payne.

It was a weird little movie that completely came out of left field for its time. It featured a bunch of people who had never been on screen before and for a large part wouldn't be again. I would argue that the reason why Napoleon Dynamite doesn't hold up is that it captures a nostalgia for a very specific time. Those references are completely meaningless to the majority of the film-watching public (more than) ten years later.


Napoleon Dynamite was a goonish version of a Wes Anderson movie.

#18 Galactiac

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 12:22 PM

I remember spending 90% of Napoleon Dynamite assuming it took place in the early eighties just because most of the clothes, hairstyles and even that ancient VCR they used were all from that era. Then suddenly he starts dancing to diegetic Jamiroquai and I was puzzled.

#19 Nodz

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 12:40 PM

This was a pretty tough choice - I totally agree with Franklin about wanting to champion writers a lot more in Hollywood, and because of that I have to say JUNO wins because of the stronger and more unique writing. The sheer power and strength of Whiplash cannot be denied; it's tense, stressful, and massively entertaining and I think the ending is one of the best I've seen in the past five years. But Juno is a great piece of writing that I think still does hold up today, and as Franklin pointed out we are yet to see if Whiplash will have the same lasting effect. While the dialogue can be grating, doesn't it just do an amazing job of how immature and not ready for this situation the characters are? And I find it very realistic, a lot of pre-teens and teens speak like idiots all the time. Whiplash definitely has issues whenever Miles Teller and J.K. Simmons aren't together, but the characters in Juno are all very entertaining to watch.

Overall, a great episode. I loved these guests and thought they had a lot of interesting things to say.

#20 HoldenMartinson

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 01:59 PM

 Galactiac, on 02 May 2017 - 12:22 PM, said:

I remember spending 90% of Napoleon Dynamite assuming it took place in the early eighties just because most of the clothes, hairstyles and even that ancient VCR they used were all from that era. Then suddenly he starts dancing to diegetic Jamiroquai and I was puzzled.

I don't know how familiar you are with that part of the country, but having visited there, and lived really close to Preston, ID, it's one of those rural towns where culture just doesn't catch up for a while, which the film captures pretty well. Also, did online dating exist in the 80's? Honest question.

Napoleon Dynamite still feels like its own thing. There's a quirkiness and heart that, to me, still work, because the film doesn't lean into them the way that even something like Juno does. It just lets this weird, lived-in world exist without much presumption or irony. I really like that about Napoleon Dynamite. It doesn't try to be anything other than itself. Unlike Garden State, which... ugh. Great soundtrack, though.