iTunes Movie Of the Week: GARDEN STATE

GARDEN STATE was a favorite among festival goers at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival where it premiered. The film opened in theatres on July 28, 2004 and marked the directorial and screenwriting debut of Zach Braff, star of the long-running sitcom "Scrubs." The film also featured Oscar nominees Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard and Ian Holm.


Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) shuffled through life in a lithium-induced coma until his mother’s death inspired a vacation from the pills to see what might happen. Returning to his hometown in the GARDEN STATE, "Large" finds old acquaintances around every corner living quite unique lives as grave diggers (Peter Sarsgaard), fast food knights and the panderers of pyramid schemes. By a twist of fate, Large meets Sam (Natalie Portman), a girl who is everything he isn't. A blast of color, hope and quirks, Sam becomes a sidekick who refuses to ride in his sidecar. Her warmth and fearlessness give Large the courage to open his heart to the joy and pain of the infinite abyss that is life.

GARDEN STATE's roster of awards included "Best First Feature" at the Independent Spirit Awards and three National Board of Review awards. And per Wikipedia, it "generated a devoted fan base from people who read and responded to Braff's blog on the film's official site. Fans drove hours to see the film and saw it repeatedly in theaters." Visit the film's official site.

The film also features an astounding (and Grammy-winning, for Braff) soundtrack of songs from an eclectic mix of artists including Simon & Garfunkel, Coldplay, The Shins, Nick Drake, Remy Zero and Thievery Corporation.

 Critics' Quotes 

"Illuminates a young man's overdue coming of age with unexpected depth and grace."
-- Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

"Garden State, Zach Braff's lyrical directorial debut, self-consciously announces itself as a baby buster generational marker -- and richly deserves the designation."
-- Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer

"Achingly alive, beautifully written first feature."
-- Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

"[A] very good film."
-- Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper

"Braff, now a proven triple-threat, is blessed with his own comic chops, an eye for the small details of regular life and a simple, straightforward directorial style."
-- Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune

"A hilarious and heartfelt ode to twentysomething angst."
-- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

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