Dear Jason Bateman,
I applaud you sir. You are a great actor. I recently watched Juno after not having seen it perhaps since I first purchased the DVD. I had seen the movie in the cinema and recall really sympathizing with your character, Mark Loring. I watched the movie at least two, maybe three times, again after buying it, and each time I felt like I could relate to Mark. Mark is trapped in this picture perfect – a fact noted by Juno herself, drawn to them by their photo – suburban life with a home that matches everyone’s, a beautiful wife, a stable career, and squashed musical dreams. You play him with such charm and easy coolness. I felt like Juno, drawn to your musical knowledge and awesomely twisted love of gore. I remember feeling the connection between Mark and Juno, seeing it as an admiration on both parts. Juno views Mark as perhaps an older version of herself, someone who gives her hope that her child will have some cultural upbringing. Mark sees Juno as a reminder of his past and who he could still be. So, when Mark leaves Vanessa – played perfectly by Jennifer Garner – I supported him. It was not that I did not like Vanessa, because I did. And I still do. I just saw their incompatibility and Mark’s need to rediscover his creativity.
When I put Juno in last week I saw Mark in a whole new way. He is creepy and even says to Juno “How do you see me?” when she reprimands him for wanting to leave Vanessa and after sharing an intimate dance. It got me thinking Bateman, thinking about how you are a great actor. I already knew this. Well, I knew you could make me laugh a lot. I have also been re-watching Arrested Development and recently watched Smokin’ Aces. I would say that after Chris Pine you are my favorite character in the latter. That whole scene is out of nowhere and ridiculous in a great what the hell is going on sort of way. I suppose you were playing some alternate universe Barry Zuckerkorn. What I failed to realize is how great you are at subtlety. Part of what makes Mark so creepy and off-putting is that he is also charming, not to mention the already obvious handsome. It really unnerved me watching the exchanges between Juno and Mark, particularly the last one. I felt uneasy in my seat. Juno is so clueless. Despite Brenda’s (Alisson Janney) warning, she continues to visit the Lorings, mainly Mark. She even seeks comfort by calling him from school after a particularly hard day.
What bothered me most of all is not Mark or Juno’s interactions with him, after all, she is innocent and acts realistically. I cannot say that at 16 I would have been any smarter or aware. No, what really bothered me is the fact that I failed to see the creep factor the first 3 or 4 times I watched the movie. What the hell does that say about me? If I can’t get a good read on a movie character, someone whose personality is written out for me as a viewer, then how the hell do I expect to make it through life? So, I need to work on myself…as always, and how I read people. But really, I wanted to say to you, well done Jason Bateman. You fooled me like you fooled Juno.