Juno, Juno, Juno. Everywhere I turn these days, someone’s raving about Juno. It’s the movie of the season! It’s going to be this year’s Little Miss Sunshine! Ellen Page is destined for great things! Diablo Cody!
Well, you know what, people? I’m afraid to see Juno. And I’m scared to death of Ellen Page. I’d go so far as to admit that I harbor something of an irrational hatred toward her (though I’m sure she’s a lovely human being). Because roughly eight months ago, I made the mistake of putting Hard Candy in my Netflix queue.
Here’s the premise: A 14-year-old (Page, pictured) begins an online flirtation with a 32-year-old man (Patrick Wilson) that ultimately results in a face-to-face date and an eventual trip to his home, where she decides to expose him for the potential pedophile that he is. Great. Fine. Sounds promising. Only it isn’t. Because–spoiler alert!–the scary-smart teenager is so hellbent on punishing her would-be suitor that she eventually ties him up and begins a sick, twisted game of psychological and physical torture—wait, she can’t really be cutting his balls off, can she?!??!—that wants to be perversely entertaining but is instead morally repulsive, ideologically empty, and utterly disgusting. Page gives a bravura performance, no doubt, but Candy is so void of any ultimate meaning—and its so-called “protagonist” such an unlikable sadist—that I actually found myself rooting for the poor bum that she tied up and tortured! Thanks, Hollywood. First I cheered on Miss Mona when I was four years old, and now I’m sympathizing with pedophiles. Once again, you’ve screwed up my moral compass.
I finished Hard Candy–maybe I’m a sadist, too? or a masochist?–but I couldn’t throw it back soon enough. In fact, I think I may have run three blocks to the nearest mailbox just to get it out of my house that very afternoon. And I know what you’re thinking: You’re the idiot who rented it, Nicholas. Live with the fact and get over it. But I can’t. Because I want to love Ellen Page. And more than that, I really want to see Juno. Like, bad. And I can’t stop worrying that the minute Ellen Page pops up onscreen lookin’ all cute, I’m going to be unable to refrain myself from jumping out of my seat in a fit of fear, screaming “AAAAHHH IT’S THAT HATEFUL GIRL FROM HARD CANDY!!!” all the way to the theater exit.
Your turn to confess: Which movie do you regret putting in your Netflix queue, and how did it screw you up?