F.I.L.M. of the Week (February 19, 2010)

19 02 2010

This week’s “F.I.L.M.” is “Garden State.”  Written and directed by Zach Braff, the star of TV’s “Scrubs,” the debut is a wonderfully delightful indie comedy.  It’s filled with its own set of quirks that we come to associate with the genre, but the movie is equally remarkable for its contrastingly somber side.

“Garden State” is constructed upon a beautifully ironic premise.  Failed actor Andrew Largeman (Braff) comes home to New Jersey to attend his mother’s funeral.  At the same time, Andrew decides that it is time to go off the anti-depressants that he has been taking since his troubled teenage years.  These medications have made him feel numb and stoic to life passing by.

But as he wanes off the meds, Andrew begins to open his eyes to all the great things happening around him.  He falls for compulsive liar Sam (Natalie Portman), a fiery chick with a bubbling personality.  He begins to smile again.  He confronts the issues which have forced him into depression.  But overall, “Garden State” is such a remarkable movie because it is a movie about rediscovering the joy of living.

For an enriched viewing experience, I recommend having watched Mike Nichols’ “The Graduate” before seeing this.  Not only will you have seen two great movies, but it will give you great insight into Zach Braff’s influences.  Someone told me that watching modern comedy without having seen “The Graduate” is akin to trying to see in fog.  Now that I have seen it, I agree.

But I digress.  Watch “Garden State” – and listen, too, because it’s got a great soundtrack (which seems to be another hallmark of this genre).



4 responses

20 02 2010
Dreher Bear

I hold Garden State as one of my personal favorite films. I can relate to Andrew in the movie. For example, I go to college in the Midwest and every time I go back home to New Jersey (another guilty reason why I love this film) for Christmas I see how some people I grew up with haven’t done much since high school and in a way it feels depressing and it almost feels like it’s not the place you grew up anymore. As many people point out when talking about Garden State, the soundtrack is pretty fitting and I still listen to it every now and then.

21 02 2010

I’ve been a bit unsure about Garden State but you make it sound good..might have to go out and see it.

21 02 2010
Mad Hatter

I gravitated towards this film a lot when it first came out, since I was about the same age as Andrew and likewise started discovering that the place I grew up didn;t feel like “home” anymore.

One of my all time favorites – thanks for writing about it!

PS – Out of curiosity, what does your F.I.L.M. acronym stand for?

22 02 2010

It’s a contrived acronym for “First-Class, Independent Little-Known Movie.” I wanted something that would be a mix of all those adjectives but would fit a cool acronym. It’s a little wordy, but oh well.

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