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Garden State - Not Much of a Review
2012
unknownj
It pains me to read reviews of "quirky" movies, because eventually the reviewer will let slip something which destroys any respect I have for their opinion. It's no reflection on the person, but I find it hard to take notice of reviews written by people who actually enjoyed such tryhard trash as Donnie Darko and Kill Bill. These people are clearly watching movies in a different way to me, and as such a review of theirs is going to border on irrelevant to me. If it helps, I don't expect those people to listen to me either.

I remember looking Garden State up on IMDb a while back, and it failed to interest me. Then for whatever reason last night I was reading Zach Braff's blog, and thought I might as well download the movie and find out (okay, it might have been Natalie Portman induced..)

Overall, I have to say I really liked it. As far as direction goes, I'm not so fussy. I don't really care whether the director is amazing or not, provided that the movie feels right, and nothing jars. This movie felt right, and didn't piss me off, so that'll do. I think part of the reason it felt right was simply because it was a 'Written & Directed By..' deal, and who better than the writer to know how he wanted a scene to play?

I've seen a lot of negative remarks about the movie, but all I can say is that in part it's one of those things where you really had to be there to get it. It would be an error to compare it to Lost in Translation, but there are parallels - the character-based emphasis, the resulting lack of plot, the feeling of extreme detachment. Though as far as I can see, the detachment in Lost in Translation comes from culture shock and loneliness, in Garden State it comes from the realisation that the home you left behind isn't going to exist in the same way when you come back.

In fact, where Lost in Translation showed how displaced one can feel, Garden State showed me exactly why it is that I might have felt like that in the past. The mixture of nostalgia and homesickness, mixed with the stagnation and lack of ambition that small town life breeds. I suppose what I'm saying is that a lot of the feeling of detachment that Garden State shows is presented in a form that I can identify with.

Plus, you have to respect Zach Braff... He writes a movie about a guy kissing Natalie Portman, he directs that guy kissing Natalie Portman, and then plays the guy kissing Natalie Portman. Genius. But my real point isn't about Natalie Portman's looks, but her acting talent. I don't know what the fuck George Lucas did to her in Star Wars to make her so shite in it, but it's nice to be reassured that given the right environment and direction, she can shine.

I can't help but feel that I've not actually said anything about the movie, but then that's just how these things are. I thought it was fantastic, for more than just a couple of reasons, and it's made me respect Zach Braff far more than Scrubs ever did..

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(Deleted comment)
Natalie Portman is the one of the few actors who I blame entirely for their own performance in the prequels. She has and has always had such a negative attitude towards the films that not even the greatest director in the world would manage to get anything much better than Benji from Sunset Beach out of her.

Plus she's annoying...

I enjoyed all three, but how is Lost in Translation not tryhard trash if Donnie Darko and Kill Bill are? I loved all three and Lost in Translation most of all, but it did seem as stylised as Kill Bill and as earnestly student friendly as Donnie Darko...

Reading your review is the first time I've felt curious about Garden State though :)

Ah, but you see, it's only tryhard trash if I don't like it ;o)

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