Jersey’s Got More than Tony Soprano

So I finally got around to seeing Garden State, Zach Braff’s little project that could. And I have to say: very impressed. Lots of excellent filmmaking including, among others, the way the early scenes/shots isolate Largeman from the world around him; he’s center screen and seems to leap off the screen on the escalator, at the funeral, while wearing the wallpaper shirt. And there are lots of shots that seem almost visually poetic. I’m thinking at the moment of the walk in front of the windows at the airport near the end. BUt I’m gushing now…someone stop me.

About Natalie Portman. It’s clear to me now that she really just needs a decent director. After her disastrous turn as Padme in the newer Star Wars trilogy, I had lost most hope for her (after the stupendous The Professional. But I’ve since seen this and the one where she has the Wal-Mart baby–it’s late, forgive me–and I’ve got hope again. This should be one more proof that George Lucas should never direct. In fact, he should just make up the stories: no scripts, no real supervision. It pains me to no end that we have to depend on George for Indy IV. (Give it to us, already! Harrison will be playing bridge with Morty Seinfeld and Leo Costanza in Del Boca Vista in no time.)

But I digress… Garden State’s a powerful movie, although I can’t imagine real people saying the ‘f’ word so often. It sounds almost comical at times, which is probably intentional to some degree. Not for the faint of heart where language is concerned. It’s no Goodfellas but still.

All in all, I think it’s worth seeing. It captures the angst of those of us not so far removed from a quarter-life crisis (thanks, Michelle), for whom life seems to be somewhere up ahead, waiting for us to finish whatever we’re doing now. Best line:

This is my life, Dad, this is it. I spent 26 years waiting for something else to start, so, no, I don’t think it’s too much to take on, because it’s everything there is. I see now it’s all of it.

Obviously, not a formal movie review. But I had to get some of this on paper. Nuff said.

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3 thoughts on “Jersey’s Got More than Tony Soprano”

  1. I’m glad you liked it.

    Lately, Zach Braff has been directing various and sundry projects to get his name out there and build a reputation. He’s good. That’s for sure. I think he wants to be the next Woody Allen.

  2. Also glad you liked it. My favorite part is when they’re standing in the junkyard looking out over the hole (cliff? I’m not sure…it’s been a while since I watched it!) and just scream at the top of their lungs. Who hasn’t wanted to do that sometimes?

    I love what you said about Natalie Portman. I think this movie (and I’m predicting V For Vendetta will as well) proves The Professional wasn’t a fluke. That is one of my all time favorites and she is brilliant in it. I always think of her as a high quality actress, but trip up on the Star Wars stuff. It was just so bad. Not just her, really everything. But I’m rambling. All of that to say…well said.

  3. The next Woody Allen. Hmm. I have mixed feelings about that, tho I am a WA fan.

    RE: Portman–I really think Star Wars is Lucas’s fault. How can you screw up such a fantastic story? It’s visceral, elemental, almost primal, and yet he puts lines like this in the mouth of Luke Skywalker’s mom:

    “You’re not all-powerful, Ani.”

    “I’m not afraid to die. I’ve been dying a little bit each day since you came back into my life.”

    “I think our lives are about to be destroyed anyway. I truly… deeply… love you and before we die I want you to know.”

    Seriously, there’s a reason that the thirteen year olds in our youth group were swooning about that movie and that “romance.”

    Whoo, time to shut up now.

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