Thursday, January 06, 2005

Garden State (aka movie #1 this semester)

I realized tonight that sometimes I don't enjoy seeing a lot of good movies one right after another. I guess it follows that whole philosophy that without failures we don't appreciate our successes. When I saw Garden State tonight, I really enjoyed watching and experiencing it. But immediately afterwards it felt necessary to disregard parts of it (e.g. the ending) as being too sappy. Then I realized that it wasn't.

The stunning ability of the opening shots to set a mood and reflect character were almost thrown away by me as being obvious and unoriginal. Then I remembered movies like "The Flight of the Phoenix" and the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," and I immediately scrapped my disapproving attitude. I can now rationalize paying to see all those bad movies over the years- it makes experiences like Lost in Translation and Garden State so much better remembering all of the average material that comes out all the time.

This was the third movie I'd seen with Natalie Portman in it. And I must say, I was impressed. The two Star Wars prequels, in my opinion, didn't allow her to show off her skills as much as the nature of her role in Garden State. Ebert makes a good point:
She is Sam (Natalie Portman), a local girl who is one of those creatures you sometimes find in the movies, a girl who is completely available, absolutely desirable and really likes you. Portman's success in creating this character is all the more impressive because we learn almost nothing about her, except that she's great to look at and has those positive attributes.

I immensely enjoyed the direction (Zach Braff's only 29 years old! And he wrote, directed, starred in, and hand picked the soundtrack for Garden State), cinematography, acting, and script. Nothing really happens, but it's not hard to get caught up in the moment, follow the meandering adventures, and realize there was a certain knack to the piecing together afterall. This effect appears in two other great films- Lost in Translation and The Big Lebowski- to varying degrees.

So, now I guess I need to watch a few bad movies to balance it out now... Soul Plane anyone?


  1. Anonymous9:05 AM

    so you finally experienced the awesomness that is Garden State. To that I say Gooforyou.

  2. What are you talking about? Soul Plane rules!

    I have to admit, I wasn't expecting to hear "Search and Destroy" in The Life Aquatic, but of course it fit perfectly. Somebody should tell Dad to see that because he'll know what the pirates are saying.