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Garden State
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Product Description

Andrew is a struggling 20-something actor who floats through life in a lithium-induced haze. When he returns to new jersey for his mothers funeral without his lithium & the drugs begin to leave his system andrew begins to feel things for the 1st time in years. Its a scary prospect for the young man. Studio: Tcfhe Release Date: 04/15/2008 Starring: Zach Braff Natalie Portman Run time: 103 minutes Rating: R

Zach Braff (from the TV show Scrubs) stars in his writing/directing debut, Garden State--normally a doomed act of hubris, but Braff pulls it off with unassuming charm. An emotionally numb actor in L.A., Andrew (Braff) comes back to New Jersey after nine years away for his mother's funeral. Andrew avoids his bitter father (Ian Holm, The Sweet Hereafter) and joins old friends (including the superb Peter Sarsgaard, Boys Don't Cry) in a round of parties. Along the way he meets a girl (Natalie Portman, Beautiful Girls) with demons of her own; bit by bit the two offer each other a little healing. Plotwise, Garden State is familiar stuff, a cross between The Graduate and a Meg Ryan movie, but Braff has an eye for goofy but resonant visual images, an ear for lively dialogue, and a great cast. The result is surprisingly fresh and funny. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews:

  • Surprisingly Great
    I like the simplicity of this movie, no special effects, no crazy robots, and no big explosions. Garden State is a simple movie depicting this somethings strange journey called life....more info
  • A nice surprise!
    I bought this movie for my teenage daughter and sat down reluctantly to watch it. What a nice surprise! This was one of the cutest, most well-acted movies I have seen in a long time. I would highly recommend it....more info
  • Stunted Coming of Age Story that is Inconsistently Natural
    Zach Braff (television's Scrubs) is without question an immense and versatile talent. He directs, writes, and acts as the film's main protagonist in Garden State, a film with flashes of near brilliance. He is no doubt worth looking out for and deserves quite a bit of credit. However, Garden State should be judged as a film without taking that into account and although it does contain some genuinely sweet moments and some even better moments of natural humor, it just isn't consistent in how compelling it was for me. I'm sure that experience will be different for everyone but to me it contains some very unlikely and unnatural moments.

    Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) is a quasi-actor and full fledge waiter who returns to his hometown for his mother's funeral. He stops taking his medication (he was on zoloft, depakote, and lithium among many others) and begins to awaken a little bit. He meets old friends and reflects on his family life before he left his hometown. He then meets a new friend named Sam (Natalie Portman) who helps him realize what is really important to him. Although clich¨¦, the film's end is satisfying and I can't pinpoint why but I really didn't expect it from a character I didn't like very much in Largeman.

    I want to believe that Garden State is semi-biographical for Braff, and it probably is (I might write a movie where I fall in love with Natalie Portman too) but if there are scenes influenced by reality, then it seems very simple to see which ones are and which ones are completely exaggerated for the sake of comedic storytelling. The other thing that troubled me about Garden State was how selfish every character is. It makes it very difficult to care about characters that you wouldn't have any respect for in real life. The only exception to this Portman's Sam who is very likeable and quirky but is probably the only character that isn't based on some degree of reality. I don't see any real serious undertones in Garden State or any real commentary beyond reflecting some aspect of real life. It failed to do that for me and that's probably why it comes off as pretentious. In some ways it really is only a few steps above pure teenage comedies because it wants to be adult so bad at times and maybe that is a strength for some people, but to me the way it masks its comedic goals with unconvincing drama is almost unforgivable.

    Garden State is in the frame of a very good movie and for the most part I didn't think it was as bad as I'm detailing here, I think I just couldn't identify with it. Performances from Portman, Braff, Ian Holm, Peter Saargard and others are genuine, at times amusing, and overall pretty solid. The actors do struggle at times with the more ostentatious and less believable dialogue. Portman is especially enjoyable to watch but you really wonder how long she can be the potentially great actress everyone has been waiting for. Despite what some people may suggest, this movie is not the vehicle for Portman's career defining star moment, which may or may not ever come. She probably doesn't care though and is fine slumming it in quirky little films like this that have very little to say. Anyway, it is worth watching if you like the talent in this movie. It shows some budding talent from Braff and some solid actors at work. It also happens to have a smart sense of humor that I suppose I appreciated. The soundtrack was great but also felt pretty consistent with Braff's hipster-wannabe motif. Either way, I'll keep an eye out for his next movie. ...more info
  • A Shock!!!
    I had never heard of that movie until recently, and I had no idea that it was both written and directed by Zach Braff. Within about 10 minutes into the movie, I knew that whomever directed this was definitely talented, and whomever had written it was equally talented. By the end of the movie and the credits, I realised who was behind all this, and I was surprised. I like Zach Braff very much for his acting, but until then it was unknown to me that the guy was so gifted behind a camera and a pen.

    Even though the main plot is relatively simple, this movie has truly compelling bits of weirdness and oddities. If you're into details, you'll probably love this film as much as I do; not a second of this movie is a bore, and I'm still amazed at the tireless richness of it. The direction is splendid and the substance is pure, not to mention the soundtrack which lets you know that someone is a tasteful listener of music (that being Mr. Braff, again).

    Natalie Portman is absolutely stunning in this movie. She blew my mind. I guess that seeing her as queen Amidala in Star Wars made me think she wasn't anything special as an actress, but in "Garden State", her true potential comes out shining and exploding. She truly is amazing and talented; that film totally changed my perception of her as an actress, now I know she is genuinely good. So is Braff; and the two together - well they're just a fantastic pair.

    Compared to most movies, this one comes as a breath of fresh air. It's inspiring too because it does so much with "so little"; for as I said before, the details here matter. To name but a few: silent velcro, skating alligators, epilepsy security helmet, house-boat, etc.

    I can't recommend this movie enough. And I can't wait for more work from Zach Braff, who I now know is very promising as a director and writer. Honestly, I put very much hope in him. I didn't see it in 2004, but if you have to see two movies from that year, they would have to be "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "Garden State".

    A must see....more info
  • One of the best movies I've seen on DVD in quite a while
    I had intended to see GARDEN STATE when it was in the theaters, but for some reason I never got around to it. Then when it came out on DVD, I kept intending to see it, but for whatever reason didn't, until now. As they say, better late than never, and I'll add that this ends a personal losing streak of seeing one disappointing movie after another

    The movie is basically about a struggling actor in Hollywood who returns to his hometown in New Jersey to attend his mother's funeral. Like so many movies involving a trip home, this one becomes a journey of self-discovery and renewal, as Andrew Largeman confronts the shape life has taken since the moment he caused a serious accident his mother suffered when he was nine. Heavily medicated for most of his life, he resolves to get off the host of drugs he is on. Meanwhile, just as he is determined to get off anti-depressants so that he can feel again, he meets a charming yet quirky girl who has her own set of problems. For whatever reason, they click and embark on their own romance.

    Plot in a movie is not the same as execution, but luckily the film is executed marvelously, maintaining a perfect balance between funny but quirky weirdness and emotional authenticity. The film is full of laughs, but it is much more than just a collection of laughs. All in all, it is a very impressive movie.

    You have to love what Zach Braff did in this film. Few have pulled off the triple feat of acting, writing, and directing as well as he did here. What is remarkable is how well he managed all three. As an actor, he is a performer of immense likeability. I think if he manages to stay within the range of that fundamental likeability as an actor, he is going to have a remarkable career. The general feeling is that next year will be the last for SCRUBS, which while a great vehicle for Braff is probably keeping him from the movie career that beckons. I hope that at some point he returns as well to both writing and directing.

    Natalie Portman is enjoyable in her role as Sam, the epileptic girl he meets and falls in love with. She is an actress. I mean by that that she performs roles, she doesn't just play herself in films. This isn't one of her most impressive performances to date, but it is further evidence of her considerable talent. Unfortunately, much of her time was eaten up in recent years by the lamentable STAR WARS trilogy. I'm very anxious to see what she does from here on out. Her character gave me a bit of a pang because of the way it reminded me of a major ex-girlfriend of mine, who like Sam was a compulsive liar (as with Sam, she would lie on all manner of incredibly small--as well as big--things) and who also like same carried about the tattered remnants of her "blankey." A definite moment of deja vu for me.

    GARDEN STATE contains one of the most celebrated soundtracks of recent years and it isn't an accident that it has enjoyed considerable success on its own. In addition to all else that he did on the film, Braff picked out all the songs on the record. It is a very well chosen selection. I've often wondered how much of a role, if any, he plays in the music selection of music on SCBUBS, which has some of the best music of any show on TV.

    All in all, this is a superb movie. If you like intelligent, serious yet eccentric comedy, you will almost certainly enjoy this one....more info
  • Different and in a good way
    Loved this movie. It's quirky, touching, and makes you think.
    The music is fantastic! I bought the soundtrack after watching the movie.
    The actors are superior, as always.
    I'd watch it again!
    ...more info
  • scintillating indie comedy
    ****1/2

    "Garden State" is anything but a garden variety romantic comedy. Brilliantly written and directed by Zack Braff (who also plays the lead role), this quirky indie triumph is one of the most delightful and disarming little films to come our way in a long long time.

    The ironically named Andrew Largeman is a bit like Holden Caulfield, but without all the articulation about his alienation and angst. In fact, for Andrew, the angst is buried so deep within his psyche that he is completely unable to verbalize what it is that is bothering him. All he knows is that he isn't happy with either his life or himself as a person. Andrew confesses that for most of his time here on earth all he has been able to feel is "numb." As the movie begins, we meet Andrew as a struggling actor living in Los Angeles, having fled his hometown in New Jersey years earlier. Virtually estranged from his parents, Andrew receives the shocking news that his paraplegic mother has died suddenly in a drowning "accident," thus precipitating Andrew's first trip home in ages. As with many literary and cinematic characters, Andrew learns a great deal about himself and about others by making that return trek back to the place of his roots.

    It's hard to convey in words just how charming and lovable an experience "Garden State" turns out to be. It is a movie filled with originality, humor, warmth, poignancy and a sly comprehension about life and how best to live it. As Andrew reconnects with his childhood buddies, he learns that not much has changed in their lives either and that they are no closer to finding true happiness than he is. So even though fleeing the town may not have been the answer, staying there certainly wasn't the answer either - or at least so he believes until he meets an idiosyncratic young woman named Sam, delightfully played by Natalie Portman. The two hit it off almost instantly, finding common ground in their peculiarities and eccentricities. What's impressive about Braff's work here is that he never overdoes the quirkiness as so many other filmmakers do. He allows it to filter through his tale in such a way that we find ourselves laughing with the people rather than at them. The folks in this town may not be the smartest or most ambitious people we will ever meet, but somehow they have managed to make life work for them and have remained generally positive and upbeat in the process.

    Braff, looking a little like a young Ray Romano, perfectly captures the befuddlement, fear and almost crippling self-consciousness that lay at the root of Andrew's unhappiness, while at the same time conveying the good-naturedness and capacity for loving that provide him with the hope that, against all odds, he will someday achieve fulfillment. He and Portman make such an endearing romantic couple that we just know they will wind up making it in the end. In addition, there are strong supporting performances from Ian Holm, Peter Sarsgaard, Ron Leibman and a whole host of other talented performers.

    "Garden State" provides a subtle little homage to "The Graduate" in its closing line - a fitting tribute from a film that captures the offbeat vision and youthful spirit of that earlier classic of anarchic cinema. But "Garden State" is a visionary film in its own right as well....more info
  • I was very impressed by this film..........................
    First off, for anyone thinking about getting this movie, go do it!! No matter what anyone has told you already about the film. I notice a lot of people writing that they didn't like Garden State and that's fine, I personally thought it was great. To me it was real life on film, and within that real life there are very different people. Unfortunately not everyone wants to see movies that remind them of reality, and I guess not everybody reality is the same as mine.
    After seeing this movie last night, it kept replaying in my mind for some reason. It reminded me of the movie "The Graduate" (no slight praise) for many reasons, not the least of which was the soundtrack which included a song by Simon and Garfunkel. I mean, why include an old song by S&G in the middle of a host of contemporary artists - it must have been done on purpose - right? And the pool scene, although different than Hoffman's, still serves to illustrate Andrew Largeman's alienation.

    Much like the " The Graduate," it was the little things that got to me. The escalators heading in two directions at the end, the making of a completely original dance, the touching of the father, the arc on the edge of the abyss, the silent Velcro...I could go on.

    Natalie Portman is a great actress and I enjoy watching her on this films and others that she previously done. Playing the role of a goofy, epileptic but cute, hometown girl, she steals the show. She hits all the right notes. She is responsible for the death by tread-wheel of a loved one, she habitually lies, and she's slightly crazy, but Andrew and we can't help falling in love with her.

    Even so "Garden State" is well worth watching, if only to remind us that the comatose state most of us live in is only temporary, and the joy of a life well lived is forever. Movies like this are either rare or one of kind. I hope Braff (star, writer, and director) has a few more like this in him.
    ...more info
  • OK , you HAVE to see this
    This is one of those "have you ever seen a movie that really made you think and feel again?" kind of movies.

    When someone asks you the question above, you will answer with "yes, Garden State", after you've seen it.

    I found myself really impacted by the artistic pauses and snapshots of the "human-experience". It had me so entranced, that I was as glued to my TV during the credits as I was during that long middle part.

    Natalie Portman really brought out the life in Zach Braff, and it reminded me of being young again, and being vulnerable. I felt vulnerable the next day at work and I really think that Garden State has kind of changed my approach to how I carry myself around the office (which is where I spend most of my time - you know you do too!). I stop and stare more often, and I've really gotten into the Shins too! You have to hear them! ;-)

    I did the winky face above, because Natalie Portman says something about Zach having to hear the Shins in the movie. It's something I made up as an indicator that I'm making a pun, or sneaking a joke in, etc.

    Nat is right, and so is my 5 star rating....more info
  • Teaches about life and people.
    This movie does a good job showing how different people act uniquely. The director did a good job picking the actors and their own quirks. I recommend you watch this movie with people you care for. It touches the heart and teaches some valuable lessons about everyday life and the loved ones around you....more info
  • Garden State DVD
    I never received this product. I attempted to contact the seller several times to no avail. I promptly paid for this and, after many weeks never got it. I understand that items may sometimes get lost in the postal system, but this seller's customer service was non-existent and I will never purchase from them again. ...more info
  • Fake and Derivative
    This review will be simple: Garden State is fake, manipulative and annoying.

    It tries way too hard, and every "idiosyncratic" element seems forced and insincere.

    I hate to offened any reader out there, but the entire time I was watching this flick I had one re-occuring thought:

    "This is a movie for Tools."

    You know those big-budget, well-shot TV commercials for Cars or Cellphones? It's about two hours of that: Vapid and pretty, micro-managed and insincere.

    The compulsive, overstated attention to detail is obnoxious and trite. The Director and cinematographer are more concerned with framing shots "well" than making a decent movie.

    Skip this one!

    Cliched, derivative, phoney, forced.

    If you're in the mood for something in this 'genre' just rewatch your Wes Anderson collection or maybe 'I Heart Huckabees' or even 'Eternal Sunshine...". Don't waste your time on this drivel....more info
  • lame!
    Wow! The only remarkable thing about this movie is, how boring it really is. It is supposed to be a comedy. Well, I didn't laugh a single time. I didn't even smile once! I simply do not get the excitement of many reviews. I really felt disgusted by the main character. I give one star for the motorcycle with the sidecar, which was really cool.

    Don't watch this movie!!!...more info
  • finally, a good film....
    excellent film... and u dont get many of those these days. funny, touching, interesting and different. not your typical blockbuster romantic comedy, but a smart and thoughtful look at life. i love the way it doesnt explain things right away. it really feels like u are watching this guy for a few days, instead of watching a movie. brilliant work by zach braff, genius. i look forward to his next project....more info
  • Love Scrubs, Hate This
    I got this thinking that Zach's style and humor from Scrubs might be fun to see in a film. I only got 20 minutes into it when it started seeming like the whole script was written as an experiment to see how many times the writers could cram the word "f*ck" into each page.

    I pulled the DVD out of the machine without finishing it and I can't decide whether to keep it against the day I feel far too happy and need a tug back towards 'neurotic' or tie it to a brick and toss it in the sea.

    If you love Scrubs (good family humor) and you are looking to find that here, keep looking.

    ...more info
  • Amazing!
    I was walking down an alley to a car park in a neighboring town and I saw something written on one of the concrete supports of the parking structure. I suppose I'd passed it a hundred times, but I never read it until that day, "Good luck exploring the infinite abyss". I looked as it oddly because it is an odd thing to graffiti. Later, I saw the movie Garden State and I figured out that it was not only an odd act, it was an inspired one.
    Garden State has such an amazing message attached to it as it subtly encapsulates what it feels like to be 20 something and lost. It could be a simple throw away movie of boy meets girl, but Zack Braff puts so much heart into the script, acting and music that you can help but feel it strike a chord. The characters slowly grow on you instead of being instantly indeared. Every character feels real; real flaws and real beauty. This movie may only resonate with someone that has felt like one of the main characters, but I think that is true for most things in life. Whether you have felt so numb that you just stopped caring about life, felt like a loser towny that has to do drugs to feel good about anything,or felt like you got dealt a bad hand and you are trying to stay positive. And how all of these different lives come together until you are screaming on top of a bull- dozer.
    I would definately recomend this movie to anyone in their teens to early 30's. But, don't be fooled by Zach Braff's televison persona. While there are comedic elements in the film, this is definately very dramatic. ...more info
  • Diamond in the rough
    This is a hidden gem. A great movie that was never publized. Easily worth the price of admission....more info
  • Fascinating character based comedy
    When we first see, Andrew Largemen (Zack Braff), he's a burnt out LA actor with what looks like a serious drug program. A call from his father (Ian Holm) and Andrew is on a plane headed back to New Jersey for his Mom's funeral.

    Turns out, his wheelchair-bound Mom drowned in a newly remodeled bathroom. His Dad wants to talk, but Andrew's clearly avoiding the family scene--and has been for the past nine years.

    While exploring his old home, Andrew gets caught back up in the party scene with his old friends. Some have succeeded. Some have grown up and moved on to other careers. Yet others are pretty much the same.

    While seeing a neurologist on what at first appears to be a quest for more medication, Andrew meets Sam (Natalie Portman) a young girl who at first seems completely normal, but suffers from epilepsy and compulsive lying.

    As the layers of character are peeled back, you start to see both Andrew and Sam as far deeper people than the initial partying slackers.

    The star, Zack Braff of "Scrubs" also wrote and directed this film. It's a far deeper comedy than I would have expected and also has some excellent numbers for the soundtrack.

    Don't forget to check the out-takes on DVD. They will have you laughing until you've got tears in your eyes.

    Rebecca Kyle, March 2009 ...more info
  • Impressive...
    After hearing wonderful things about this movie from many people, I finally bought the DVD. Some of my friends hailed it as the best movie they have ever seen, some the most romantic. Does it live up to expectations. Well, yes and no.

    First things first, if you're expecting humor in the vein of Scrubs, don't even bother with this. It is not even remotely close, in fact it doesn't even try to be. The story is about Andrew Largeman, who is on so many drugs, that he basically sleepwalks through life. He has no emotional connections with anybody. He feels empty, that is until his dad calls him one day crying, and says that his mother has just passed away. Andrew then goes back to his hometown, Jersey where he meets some of his old friends and forges a relationship with someone new. The story then revolves around these people over a span of about 4 days. A journey of self discovery ensues...

    While the story is hardly groundbreaking, I actually fell in love with this movie, largely because of the fantastic cast and superb dialogue. Zach Braff's directorial debut is actually very good. The characters are a delight to watch. They seem so real. They have their share of good moments and self doubts, just like us. Zach Braff, who practically typifies wackiness in Scrubs does pretty much the same here, but toning it down a level and it works wonderfully. Natalie Portman, who I feel is one of the best actors of our generation (or my generation, at least) is great as Samantha. Portman has been in such diverse roles in her short career, and she pulls it off very well each and every time. Her performance here adds a whole lot of "heart" to the movie. The rest of the cast, Peter Sarsgaard, Ian Holm and even Jean Smart provide memorable supporting performances, that stays with you even after the show. As I said, the conversation between characters are also something that drew me into the show. Watch how something you've always thought as petty, turn into something thoughtful. An example of this, is the idea of a "home". Don't get it? Watch the movie.

    Another thing I would like to comment was the cinematography and music. They went hand in hand, the shots of the neighbourhood were beautiful, fitting the story exceptionally well and Zach Braff has an ear for good music. A nice selection of songs that leaves you with some sort of emotion, for the characters and their experiences.

    All in all, a good movie that's worthy of my recommendation. Just take it for what it is and enjoy the moment. In fact, I think that's what the people behind this movie are hoping for. Great effort!...more info
  • Why actors shouldn't direct
    The Garden State is one of the most pretentious movies of all time. From first hand knowledge of living in LA, Zach got the entire soundtrack from KCRW, the local "hip" music station in the area. It's like a bad playlist for the show "morning becomes eclectic."

    Did you know that the movie was "sold" to movie producers when Mr. Braff sent them mix cds of the soundtrack? That spells disaster to me, when a movie is green lit without more than just a "I know how this is going to make me feel" outline of the movie. I think that is how Michael Bay movies are made.

    I can't say anything that hasn't been said yet except this: If ever, in real life, a girl as pretty as Natalie Portman starts following you around like a lost puppy, you better watch your back son. A girl like her SHOULD have dozens, if not dozens upon dozens of suitors. The fact that there isn't one around AND that she prefers you, then it means shes absolutely, completely f*cking insane. She's already scared off/killed everyone if she's now chasing after the quirky depressed boy. Just remember, things that are too good to be true are either 1., not true or 2., in a cheesy-poorly-written-hack-of-a-director-cliched film that doen't deserve your patronage....more info
  • No good.
    This movie was horrible. Don't bother. It was boring and depressing and lame. I love Natalie, but she was annoying in this. OK Zach Braff I know you're big time now but this movie was just super-weak. Don't waste your time on this stuff. Go read a book....more info
  • Orpheus undone
    Braff seems to have reversed the ancient Orpheus story -- if you're trying to get out of hell, and the woman calls for you, you should turn around, grab her, and hang on tight.

    I'm learning to respect Portman more as an actress. She keeps Sam's quirkiness believable, even saving some dialog that's a bit clumsy and melodramatic by making it part of her melodramitic, clumsy, and insecure character. It's a shame she was involved in that whole Star Wars mess!

    I do have some doubts about the little sex jokes throughout the film. Not that I mind sex jokes -- I love Kevin Smith movies -- but they seem a bit forced and out of place in this one. On the other hand, the movie might get kind of maudlin without an occasional masturbating pug dog.

    And the MUSIC is GREAT! I'm gonna buy the sound track and I'm fundamentally opposed to soundtrack albums (except for musicals, of course). I had to get on Amazon to track down some of the stuff I wasn't familiar with. ...more info
  • fantastic
    Thanks for the quick shipping. Item arrived in time. Just what I wanted. Great job....more info
  • The best date movie that nobody saw.
    This was obviously a labor of love. It tells the story of a twenty something almost-star awakening to his life for the first time in too long. His efforts to start living are fueled and aided by a beguiling and vital young woman played by Natalie Portman. The story is woven from real events or urban legends from writer/director/actor Zach Braff's experiences in Jersey, along with a healthy dose of old fashioned sweet-natured and honest romance. All the performances are first rate, and the emotional punch and suspension of disbelief are never hampered by the belly laughs. See it with your special someone. ...more info
  • Music and story excellence
    I rented this movie four times before I finally purchased it. The story reveals more with each repeated viewing, and the music ranks amongst the best soundtracks ever; I've owned the album since I first saw the film in the theatre. This is a no-brainer - treat yourself and get this one....more info
  • More than the Sum of its Parts
    Garden State is certainly more than the sum of its parts. What I love so much about this movie is that it doesn't condescend, by explaining to us every little detail but letting us feel this eerily real couple of days experienced by Zach Braff and Natalie Portman. The beautiful backdrops and cinematography would initially make you feel distant and disconnected from the characters or the places you are watching, but the feeling is intentional in replicating the psychological displacement the characters feel at home. You feel at ease again when the story beautifully undulates and cleanly unfolds, again treating you like an adult. The movie is like a great book to cozy up with and a coming-of-age story you will find comfort and commonality in.

    Lauren Patrizi...more info
  • Garden State DVD
    Quirky, teenage angst/self-actualization in progress, neo-modern classic with an intriguing "below-the-radar" approach to touching your brain that has become the calling card of Zach Braff. It's a good movie...almost like a slightly deeper/darker "Juno" but from a male central character point of view....more info
  • Drugs imply guilt, according to dad the shrink
    This is an interesting movie worth seeing. The theme that emerges, once you get to know the characters and their history well enough to put it all in perspective, is that the main character was damaged by psychiatric drugs all his life, his father being a psychiatrist who thought he knew what he was doing.

    When he was a little boy, our hero lost patience with his constantly complaining mom, and gave her a push. She fell over something, injured herself, and spent the rest of her life crippled. In response, the father put the kid on prescription drugs, his way of saying that the boy was dangerous and out of control. The "fact" is that it was just an accident, and the little boy was not dangerous or out of control. The mother was extremely annoying, so much so that she got her son to give her a little push out of frustration.

    Years passed, and then the woman accidentally drowned in her own bathtub. Again, the father would want that to seem like the son's fault, for that push he gave his mom so many years ago. He wouldn't want to take the blame on himself. Personally I think he should have had a talk with his wife way back then, letting her know how inconsiderate it is to be complaining all the time. If he had given her enough verbal pushes, maybe the child wouldn't have had to give a physical push.

    The father is ponderous. By the end of the movie you realize what a villain he is. Fortunately, most of the movie leaves him out of it. It follows the son and his friends.

    His most interesting friend is Natalie Portman, a young woman with an odd sense of humor that has her making up tall tales. Much is made of her being a "liar", but I don't see it that way. Is a comedian called a liar for telling stories? Once you accept the fact that Natalie's character enjoys putting people on with tall tales, I don't see a problem with it. I'm fine with her sense of humor. Can you only be considered a comic if you are getting paid for it? Is a stage the only place you are allowed to put people on?

    One drawback of this film is that since the main character is supposed to be drugged into numbness, how do you make him interesting to watch? I think the movie had to struggle with that....more info
  • What an amazing accomplishment!
    Wow, Zach Braff did an excellent job of boring the hell out of me. This film is friggin awful. I was so looking forward to it after the nice little montage that was the teaser trailer, but man what a load of crap this turned out to be. Was I supposed to feel sorry for this guy? Cause I didn't in the least. The only person I felt sorry for was Natalie Portman cause she fell for the dude. So, so boring. And I really could not stand all the annoying MTV shots they would do like the fossits turning on one after the other and the wall paper matching the shirt and all that other music video crap. If you want to see a good, far superior film about being twenty something and not knowing where you're going or who you are supposed to be, etc, which I think is what this extremely overrated film was attempting to do, then check out David Gordon Green's 'All The Real Girls'. Please don't fall under the impression that this is the mother of all "indie" films cause seriously, it's an insult. ...more info
  • Another Puppy Love Film
    Hmmm...just saw this film and was left unimpressed. Watching a 20 something who is lost, finding his way (and it's questionable if he ever does) is less than captivating, unless maybe you are in the same state the viewer is in. His old friends are immature and irresponsible partying 24/7 with no care in the world. One of the film's leads has the most despicable of habits to pay for his drug use. Is it supposed to be funny? The characters are two dimensional and poorly scripted. The whole premise just seems unrealistic, unresolved and unintelligent. If the critics say this is a great movie, maybe it's because they do that for a living. Not a waste of time but close to it....more info
  • 2 hours of self-indulgent ego massaging
    There are a lot of things that I didn't like about this movie when I was watching it. A lot of it made more sense when I saw at the end that the tirelessly unfunny lead (who is only mildly entertaining at best on Scrubs) both wrote and directed this massacre.

    Here's the thing, I can understand where this might appeal to people. And maybe when I was in high-school and nothing existed outside of my own world and I was starting to figure out that I could make my own decisions and be a grown up for the first time, this movie would have called out to me. But somewhere along the line, you see "Ordinary People," "Fight Club," "The Graduate," and any other number of movies about a young man going through finding himself, having turned off his senses either intentionally or unintentionally to the world around him, and you realize that there is a sensitive, intelligent, observant, brutal/poignant, honest, and to be frank, much better way to tell this same story. And it's already been done so what's behind this thing?

    It starts off with what looks to be a late 90's MTV emo video with the lead being the center of attention and numb to his surroundings. He's got that look for about 90% of the movie; totally dispassionate, uninvolved, blah...only 50 cent might have been able to do a better job. But that's really not acting, and it's boring to watch. Add to that a slowly developing, poorly conceived hack-story about coming home for a funeral and going through a journey of self-realization and discovery and to that a cast of supporting actors (a completely wasted Ian Holm, Natalie Portman overacting and overemoting, that one woman from designing women and Frasier who pretty much does the only character she ever does) none of whom can fully understand the angst and depth of Scrubs-guy's super gigantic ego. And everybody's dying to make-out with, hang-out with, or otherwise do all the work of interacting with Scrubs-guy so he's free to be moody, dispassionate, and desert-dryly "funny" ad naseum.

    The plot develops at a pointedly and pointlessly quirky and uphill pace. Not as upsettingly overbearing and intentional as Napoleon Dynamite, but these two movies could at least be kissing cousins. Other characters are left to wallow in Scrubs guy's melancholy trail or maybe are even behind him in emotional development so he ends up being perhaps the most mature person in the entire film. And he's got about the mental and emotional development of a newly hazed frat boy.

    What results through all of this is stomach-turning at it's highest points and I think is best described by one of the other reviewers as "mastarbatory." I think my girlfriend also summed this movie up well as Scrubs-guy's enormously expensive excuse to be able to make out with Natalie Portman....more info
  • Quietly Moving, Strongly Recommended
    I felt this film had a quiet flow from beginning to end, sudden patches of brilliantly delivered dialogue, and interesting characters who were neither over-the-top odd or predictably normal. Peter Sarsgaard's performance was outstanding, and his character's complexity was mesmerizing. Ian Holm was in perfect form as the psychiatrist/father, flawed by his inability to accept what is as opposed to what he would prefer. My favorite scene in the movie is set in the quarry, when the 3 main characters stand atop an abandoned piece of equipment and shout into the "infinite abyss" before them, after which the awakened hero embraces and enfolds his lover in one of the most tender, realistic, and heartfelt kisses I've ever seen on film. It was also quite unexpected and delightful to hear "The Only Living Boy in New York" by Simon & Garfunkel for the first time in decades. I envied Natalie Portman's character's outlook on life, her boldness and lack of inhibition contrasted nicely with the passivity and deadened emotions of "Large". Not exactly original in concept, but carefully constructed, directed, and acted. Missed being a real masterpiece by inches....more info