Garden State
2004
Just weaned off antidepressants, Andrew returns to his New Jersey hometown after a decade away for his mom's funeral and starts to see his life in a new light. In the process, he confronts his psychologist father and connects with a new friend.

Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

Since I already expressed the bulk of my opinion in my Ten Best Films article about the film, I have little more to contribute here. Since that article was intended to highlight the positives of this wonderful film, I'm instead going to use this space to gripe about its one big negative.

Nothing says indulgence in the indie-film industry these days like the "perfect" musical soundtrack, and I haven't heard a film so delighted with its own taste in music since "Moonlight Mile." When he sent out the script to potential financiers, Zach Braff reportedly sent a mix CD of the songs along with it. Sure, they're pretty songs, but what does Braff accomplish by letting them speak for him? In the finished film, he stops the action for a "perfect" song so often that it seems like the songwriters should be given a screenplay credit; they're doing half of the talking for him. On another level, I don't like being subjected to one man's "perfect" taste in music simply because he has the talent to mount a film production; more than once I felt like Braff's song selection wasn't trying to complement the scene, it was trying to make him look hip and knowledge about music. This isn't entirely fair, since some of the music is very appropriate, like the Simon & Garfunkel song. But it got on my nerves, and kept me from enjoying the film more. It's a very good picture that shouldn't be dragged down by Braff's showiness with his music collection.

− date unknown • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

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Erik Bates: “It ruled.”

This movie falls into my list of Top 10 movies of all time. What are the other 9? I'm not sure. I'll let you know when I figure that out. Braff was quoted as saying that Garden State was "a big, life-affirming, state-of-the-union address for twentysomethings." Seeing as how I was 24 when the movie came out, it resonated with me and where I was in my life at the time.

I see Scott's issue with the soundtrack, and I agree that at times it feels out-of-place in the structure of the film. However, taken on it's own, it is also one of my favorite movie soundtracks of all time. The greatness of soundtracks, like the films they accompany, though, are subjective. I think my musical tastes fall in line with Braff's on many levels. I understand that he was instrumental (pun not intended) in many of the musical selections for Scrubs, which may speak to why I enjoyed that television show so much.

− February 24, 2015 • more by Eriklog in or create an account to reply

Scott Hardie: Yes, very good movie. My review above is negative but it was intended to link to 3-4 paragraphs of high praise for the film that are no longer online. :-) It's a shame that Braff has struggled to follow up since, but at least Kickstarter worked out for him. − February 25, 2015 • more by Scott

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