With the Oscars looming on the horizon -- Feb. 24, writer's strike or not, I thought that I would venture an opinion on my choice for the Best Picture of 2007.
This is not only the one I predict as the winner, but my personal selection as well. "Juno" is a small budget, crisply written little story, a comedy about a most unlikely topic for humor, teenage pregnancy.
It is the best of the nominated five films, and is the movie metaphor for this Valentine's Day 2008.
Juno MacGruff is a very atypical 16-year-old. Named for the Greek goddess, she very matter of factly decides to seduce her sometimes boyfriend Paulie Bleeker.
After failing no less than three home pregnancy tests, she is resigned to the reality of impending motherhood. After briefly -- and I am ashamed to say given the subject -- humorously -- toying with the idea of an abortion (nothing revealed here, as I am sure you understand that the movie is longer than 25 minutes) she decides to give the infant up to a loving couple for adoption.
With all the tribulations of a teenager in love, the added burden of surrogate parenthood is rocky and Juno begins to doubt that the adopting couple are fit, begins to have doubts about true happiness, doubts about the validity of love itself.
She comes to her father, Mac MacGruff, and asks IF it is, WHY it is and more importantly, HOW it is possible that couples stay together.
Daddy Mac, sensing his daughter's angst, gives her his best paternal advice, albeit unorthodox.
"In my opinion, the best thing you can do if find a person who loves you for exactly who you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think the sun shines out your ass. That's the kind of person that's worth sticking with."
What it loses in vulgarity, the advice from the Big Mac more than makes up in clarity. Restating really nothing more than the promises of the marital vows, it places a premium on longevity, on loyalty, and on love, the mature kind that really knows no age boundaries but is reflected in a sense of joy and respect for your partner.
Derriere sunshine success is not the residue of planning, but many times simply blessed luck. Such has been my good fortune for now more than 30 years.
I have seen many over the years good people -- church going, hard working, Democratic-voting -- beset by the ravages of disability, death and divorce. They neither wanted nor deserved such a fate, but it happened nevertheless. Fair has nothing to do with it, but it does make the lucky few appreciate their own good fortune.
The loving grasp of the hand during church, the reminder to take your glasses off before going to sleep, the swelling of pride as you watch her preside over the "Wreaths Across America" celebration, an event that simply would not have happened without her selfless direction, these are the markers of the human experience so aptly described by Juno's Dad.
Her own humility -- and yes, there is one humble occupant of 1014 Henry -- inhibits her self-promotion, so please, as a Valentine's Day gift to my bride (admittedly not as cool as Rocky Mozele naming a star after you, but much cheaper than a trip to the Shane Company), permit me to sing some of the praises of this very distinguished woman of my own.
From the beginning, the restoration of the Wade-Duncan house was a work of vision, working a masterpiece from the shadow of the city's condemned list, for which I enjoy much pleasure and certainly undeserved credit.
She enthusiastically serves on the board of PRIDE, the Lincoln - Douglas Debate Anniversary Committee, the Haskell Park Friends and Vintage Voices, not to mention the long time service to the Susan B. Koman Fund, speaking volumes to her civic spirit.
Eucharistic minister to the home-bound and nursing home, lunch service for the funerals and rotating in the preparation of dinner for the clergy, all serve testament to Margaret's commitment to St. Mary's parish.
For the past four years, flags line both sides of Henry during the summer and fall, and on Christmas Eve, luminaries light the way for the baby Jesus, sparked by the seemingly boundless energy of this Meryl Streep twin.
For readers thinking this piece indulgent and gauche, my sincere apologies. But truth be told, I care not. Material items have passed in blessed abundance in our lives, so another "regular" gift would hardly be noticed.
I have been given this bully pulpit, so like her stern reminders to stay on my diet, this gesture is sent with love, even though it may irritate or even embarrass its intended recipient.
In the beginning of "Juno," as she is walking to her third and final prego test, the soundtrack plays a Dylan like song called "All I Want is You."
With lyrics like, "You if you were a wink, I'd be nod. If you were seed, I'd be pod. All I want is you to be my Bride. Take me by the hand, stand by side," it tells you right away the advice of Mac MacGruff.
I am one of the lucky ones who both understands and appreciates such karma. On this up coming day of romance, I hope you are as well.
P.S. On the Weight Watcher's scene, that wrapper for the chocolate doughnuts that you found in the kitchen, it blew in from the drive way. I swear.