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Any cookies that are not specifically necessary for the website to function and are specifically used to collect user personal information through analytics, advertisements and other embedded content are called non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to obtain the user’s consent before these cookies can work on your website. Eleven years ago, Zach Braff released his cult classic. A year later, we watched it again and realized we had made a huge mistake.
This article is part of The Week in 2005 at Noisey, where we revisit all the best and worst pop culture hits from the past ten years. Garden State was released 11 years ago and in 2004, for a nation of desperate youth, it was the indie hit we’ve been waiting for. It was a film for those of us who didn’t understand our lives, thought a lot about how we didn’t understand life, and sat around talking to our fellow citizens who had no idea about life. Advertisement And this guy Braff played in it, the funny but thoughtful young doctor from Scrubs, he was like us, sensitive and emotionally vulnerable twenty-somethings going through tough times, because being in your twenties is so hard. it is very difficult. Braff was super sad and super bored and super unimpressive and other super things that we wanted to project into him, which was easy because he had such an interesting quality about him.
Braff spent most of the film having those very deep conversations we all had in our college years—long conversations about deep things like God and death and losing a sense of home. He introduced us to a small cast of unusual characters from suburban New Jersey, including Golden Globe-nominated actor Peter Sarsgaard. Braff’s style as a dramatic director made him a Woody Allen. For male audiences who loved manic pixie dream girls, Natalie Portman was the female lead of the film. He was cute and quirky, with an arsenal of adorable animals, like how he was an animal lover and had an elaborate hamster maze running throughout his house. How cool was that? In one scene, she and Braff hold a funeral for her dead hamster, and Braff uses the moment to assure Portman that her mother just died. When we thought of our own tragedies, we could not empathize.
In one of the most memorable scenes, Braff and Portman sit on the edge of a vast, seemingly endless mine, a chasm that itself is a metaphor for the great unknown future of adult life. They stood there in the rain and Braff, feeling truly alive for the first time in years, let out a primal scream. This was the turning point of the film and at that moment, we all proverbially woke up and stopped feeling numb with him. Advertisement And then there’s the soundtrack. What a set of hits! It was like Braff clicked through his third-generation iPod and picked his favorite songs from an indie music playlist and married them with some classics like Simon and Garfunkel. Imagine how excited we LiveJournalists attending CMJ were about the novelty of hearing Iron & Wine sing in a big theater. And Post Ser coverage, no less! Also, who can forget the Shins scene? Portman pulled on her oversized headphones because she’s a music lover and told Braff, “You have to hear this one song. It will change your life.” He listened, and we hear “New Slang” capture the moment. Braff was the director who could bring you back to your new favorite band.
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In the final scene, set at the airport, Braff changed his mind about leaving Portman, got off the plane and ran to kiss her. Meanwhile, Frou Frou’s “Let Go” soundtracked it perfectly. Indeed, it was a love story of a generation of carefree romantics, with all their fears and uncertainties. But a year later, something bigger happened. In 2005, we all sat on our dried-out Kerry/Edwards t-shirts, drowned out by news coverage of the ongoing wars and George W. Bush’s irreparable financial disaster, turned off, popped our Park State DVDs into our PS2s, and realized: Hey, wait a minute. Perhaps that 2004 election was a wake-up call for future middle Americans. The lights came on at the party and we all suddenly realized we were holding our dicks. Because like that election, life is just one desperate defeat after another. Of course, there is no such thing as “getting it figured out” about life. Or if there is, we won’t do it by watching a movie starring the guy who plays Chicken Little. Suddenly, the Garden State seemed like a dirty mirror in which to look at grotesque and rapidly aging images of ourselves.
Garden State was released 11 years ago, and in 2005, for a nation of grown children, it was a snoozefest that had already been done to death several times, and as a result of its success, will be done and likely to be done many more times. star Zooey Deschanel and / or Michael Cera. This movie was for those of us who felt bad about ourselves, thought a lot about how we felt bad, and talked to our self-righteous compatriots about how we felt bad. And this Braff guy who starred in it, Q-Tip from Scrubs was talking, he was like us over-medicated, therapist-dependent twenty-somethings who had a hard time feeling his emotions because wahhhhhhh. Braff is very boring and very boring and very annoying and super other things we wanted to project him, which was easy because he had a faceless and colorful face of an empty avatar. Advertisement Braff spends most of the movie having the kind of mundane conversations we all went through in our college years — you know, about useless privilege issues like swimming and Coldplay and being a struggling actor. He introduced us to a series of emotionally stunted characters with personality disorders as well as Bazinga! kid Braff’s portrayal of a sensitive mopey comedy boy has positioned him as the next David Schwimmer. For the male audience, who had a dubious prison and a predatory experience with borderline autism, the male projection canvas of the film was Natalie Portman. He was plagued with an arsenal of red flags, such as the fact that his entire yard was a graveyard for all the pets he had killed with gross negligence. How sick is that? In one scene, he and Braff buried their dead hamster, and eventually Braff said something interesting about how he paralyzed his mother, who had just died. We couldn’t help but laugh hysterically when we thought about Braff’s speech. In one of the most memorable scenes, Braff and Portman were placed on the edge of a very fake CGI mine, the penalty itself a metaphor for acting like an angry emo virgin. They stood there in the rain, and Braff, who stopped being a kid for a second to become an even bigger kid, opened his mouth for the shot he needed for the movie poster. This was the turning point of the movie and at that point, we all literally woke up and checked the back of the DVD to count how many minutes were left. Advertisement And then there’s the soundtrack. What a collection of horrors! It was like Braff pulled a bunch of rejections from a Wes Anderson movie and mixed them with the tones of an Urban Outfitters fitting room. Imagine the thrill we, inveterate indie rockers, felt at having our boring taste buds in a big theater show. And get away with it, no less! Also, who can forget that scene with Sheen? Portman pulled off her oversized headphones because she’s so deep into this other life and told Braff, “You have to blah blah blah blah. It’s gonna be your blah blah blah blah blah.” He listens and we realize it’s a whole lot.
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