iTunes Movie of the Week: Zach Braff's GARDEN STATE (2004)

In light of Natalie Portman's Oscar win for BLACK SWAN, we thought we'd revisit her other Fox Searchlight Film: the indie-kid-beloved GARDEN STATE, starring and directed by Zach Braff. Honestly, if you read this blog then you've probably seen it multiple times, but isn't it always nice to sometimes revisit old favorites? Also, that soundtrack is still totally crucial.


Twentysomething, emotionally detached Andrew "Large" Largeman (Braff) hasn't been home to New Jersey in nine years. Now, as Large attempts to re-connect with a variety of odd acquaintances including his father he decides to risk getting high on the most potent and unpredictable drug there is... life! More than a coming-of-age story, GADEN STATE encapsulates what it's like to live on the brink of adulthood, teetering between a prolonged adolescence and the real-world problems adulthood entails.

GARDEN STATE scored an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the top critics had more than their fair share of things to say; Here's a smattering of quotes from the release of the movie:

"An edgy quasi-comedy, it's very funny in places, touching in others. There is a little unevenness. But for a directorial debut, it's amazingly assured."--Desson Thompson, Washington Post

"GARDEN STATE inspires obvious comparisons with "The Graduate," not least in the similarity of the two heroes; both Benjamin and Andrew are passive, puzzled and quizzical in the face of incoming exhortations. But "The Graduate" is a critique of the world Benjamin finds himself in, and GARDEN STATE is the world's critique of Andrew. All of the people he meets are urging him, in one way or another, to wake up and smell the coffee.  Ian Holm plays his father with perfect pitch, making small emotional adjustments instead of big dramatic moves."--Roger Ebert

"GARDEN STATE poignantly portrays a detached man who decides to tackle life — with all its pain, joys and everything in between — with his eyes open and his head clear."--Claudia Puig, USA Today

"Early on, Sam claps her headphones onto Largeman's ears so that the Shins can fill the soundtrack—a scene so out-of-nowhere moving, you wish they could stay like that till the last possible measure."--Ed Park, The Village Voice

GARDEN STATE is also fondly remembered by members of Gen Y for its soundtrack, which won the Grammy for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media.

And here's the trailer! Happy viewing:

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