So the question many NJ-ans are asking is: why is Garden State playing in only one movie theater in New Jersey? It doesn't make sense!
Ah, but it does. The Jersey sense. * I think I got the black lung pops...* The kind of sense that explains Jersey pride, how swampy, cranberry-boggy, suburban grounds can give rise to a number of interesting artists, and why it is okay to give a bracing slap to anybody who allows "what exit?" to escape his/her naively grinning lips.
I watched GS this past Wednesday in NYC...
It's being advertised in various ads and things as this year's Lost in Translation and grouped immediately with movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It's just that kind of movie. "Artsy" ... "Indie" ... blahblahblah
Sure. A+ for adjectives! Really, I came to this movie with a certain amount of expectation. It's like when I see Crème Brulée on a dessert menu. I love creme brulee, even without all the accents. It's the kind of food that is easily found in a mediocre state, especially in the unsatisfactory forms of crackly sugar, but since it's one of my favorites, I'm bound to eat it. The kind of movie Garden State was advertised to be was like my creme brulees. [end useless metaphor]
So needless to say, I liked it a whole lot. Yummy. Braff would've majorly had to screw up for me not to. Of course there are some weaknesses, as many of the reviews point out; the relationship with the dad was especially disappointing and unfulfilling. And then I had some problems with Natalie Portman's character, Sam, at first while she was alternately endearing and irritatingly super Quirky. There's this one part, when she shows Zach's character some funky dance... she has consciously made up her mind to do this thing that is quirky and weird, expressly for the purpose of trying to be original. But then again, she's not like that continuously throughout the movie and I think she ends up, thanks to Portman and Braff, showing a depth of character that leads one who might cringe at these outbursts of whimsy to reconsider her character.
There's the sappy ending but it's mitigated by a nice closing shot and ending with a question. There are some great visuals throughout the movie, though I especially loved the scene with the pet funeral in the backyard. You see the autumn leaves all over the plastic tarp in the pool and you hear the sound of the train in the background. Yep -- that's my home. Plastic and noise pollution. And it can be beautiful? All in all, it was a lovely movie, somehow managing sap and melancholy, and it'll be interesting to see what Braff does next...
And that song "Let Go" by Frou Frou? At first I was like, "ew who is this Dido?" but then it got on the obsessive repeat list. quirky!!! slap!