I love "Scrubs," the NBC dram-com about residents in a hospital. You should love it too. Therefore, I like Zach Braff, that shows star and the writer/director/star of "Garden State", his first feature film. His character in "Scrubs" has a self-deprecating style that a self-deprecating jack-ass like myself can appreciate. He is about my age, so I cannot hide a bit of pulsating green jealousy that the guy got to make his film and I get to sit here 8 hours a day and type my knubby fingers into carpal-tunnel hell. Oh well, maybe the flourescent lights will give me skin cancer first.
Anyways, Braff's film centers on an tv actor (Braff) who returns home to Bon Jovi...er New Jersey for the first time in 9 years because his mother has drowned. He visits old friends! Dude! Let's get high! He has a strained relationship with his psychiatrist father (Ian Holm) who has prescribed him tons of mood-alterting behavior medication. My dad sells insurance....which you can't get high off of...trust me I've tried. He meets local, strang-o hottie (Natalie Portman) and develops cutesy romance. Aw! Much like I have devloped with my MP3 player (Rio Karma Plug).
I liked this movie because (A) Braff has good taste in music: Coldplay, The Shins (!), Iron & Wine, and Simon & Garfunkel. By the way, if any of the preceding bands do not sound familiar to you get your ass to your local free peer-to-peer download site and start stealing! (Legal disclaimer: I hereby free myself of any legal responisbility to that last remark). (B) Braff has good taste in movies...the army scooter/bike thing he rides and Natalie Portman's character clearly are influenced by "Harold & Maude" (Hal Ashby R.I.P., brotha) and the scene at home after the funeral are a clear homage to "The Graduate." (C) I'm 26, so is Braff, so is his lead character. I easily identify with the disillusionment with life and family/lost in society/struggle to grow-up (You can start by acting like a man!)/lost little boy crying in the corner/get the razor away from my wrist feelings and (D) because, most importantly there are some genuinely really funny, well-written moments that all can identify with and Braff does a stand-up job on a first feature.
Now for the other shoe. It is a first feature=problems. Natalie Portman's character was either written or she plays it like she is 16. When I saw her with a beer later in the movie, I wanted to rip it out of her hand and suck it down myself. More importantly, its the kind of idea that about 1000 26 year-olds write scripts about all the time....ya know I'm lost in post-graduate/real world adolescent maturity sludge that forces me to do things like create this damn blog. Zach Braff got to make his lost 26 year-old soul script beacuse he is Zach Braff. More power to him. I just got the feeling that in 10 years, he's gonna regret the things he said in it....much as I'm gonna wanna expunge this thing forever some day. The world he creates in the film felt thin at times, not enveloping me as a viewer...characters are introduced and disappear (cop buddy scene?)...and supposedly Ian Holm was in the movie too.
I'm so happy that dude got to make his movie and there is some good stuff in it too. Go see it to support the man and young filmmakers everywhere. Besides....what the hell do I really know anyway?