Wednesday, January 13, 2010

#393: Garden State (2004)

Director: Zach Braff
Cast: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman & Peter Sarsgaard

Andrew Largeman returns home to New Jersey for the first time in years to attend his mother’s funeral. His trip unexpectedly turns his life for the better. While in the waiting room to check on a headache problem, he meets the life-loving, ever-optimist Sam. She’s a compulsive liar, but she’s cute, and they have a connection right off the bat. He spends his few days at home with her and his old classmates who have all gone on to bigger and weirder things (one invented silent Velcro, another digs graves, you get the idea).

It’s so unfortunate what kind of reputation this film has nowadays. It’s completely linked with the hipster movement, and it’s almost shameful to say that I’m a fan today. But it was chosen to be an iconic film for those types for good reasons. It’s got a great quirky sense of humor, it’s got loads of color to keep your eye on the screen, and it has a wonderful message overall.

Though Portman is a bit over-the-top in her half-glass-full attitude, she’s still a sight for sore eyes. After the first viewing of the film, she might be a bit annoying, but I’d love to know somebody that happy with life. Zach Braff is also pretty good, but he’s been outshined. Fortunately, his directing made up for it – and with his debut film!

But most importantly, the soundtrack is one of the best I’ve ever heard. It brought
The Shins to fame, but used their music so well with the overall mood of the film. Honestly, it might be the best soundtrack I’ve ever heard.

Oh, and I’ve totally been to the restaurant that Largeman works at in the beginning of the film (it’s not Vietnamese, but a Thai restaurant called “Sea” in Williamsburg). Woot!

A good movie for a rainy day.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):

  • The cue for the seeing eye dog to mount was, "Love 'em up," while the cue for the dog to start humping was, "Who's your bitch?"
  • The motorcycle is a Russian/Ukrainian Dnepr.
  • During the swimming pool scene (when Andrew cannot swim) the fog was not there for effect. The site was originally chosen because the Manhattan Skyline was clearly visible but it just happened to be incredibly foggy on the day of filming.
  • The Vietnamese restaurant in Los Angeles in the beginning is actually a Thai restaurant - Sea in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. Walking through the kitchen the background voices can be heard conversing in Thai, not Vietnamese.

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