Tuesday, February 01, 2005

"Wow! I can't believe you're not retarded."

So, instead of getting my essay on Brazil done or finishing reading Brave New World, or one of a thousand other activities that I should have infact been working really hard on this evening (and now I'm blogging), I went over to Luke's and watched Garden State.

I had initially (as in about a year ago) been obsessed with the trailer for the film, the one that just shows a series of images and plays the song "Let Go" by Frou Frou; you know the one. The my initial interest faded when I started to hear mixed things about the film. Then I really lost interest because my good friend Ryan said he loved the film. To put a long story short, Ryan and I have very different taste in movies. He didn't like Taxi Driver. That bothered me. Anyway, then I started to hear some good buzz about the film again, but I didn't get my hopes up too much.

I finally watched it and I'll say that it is good. There are some great moments in the film and Zach Braff has a gift for visuals. The film looks great. Natalie Portman and Peter Sarsgaard are excellent (as usual). But it's not a great film (won't make my Top Ten). I guess the film just didn't flow enough. The climax didn't resonate because the film was too scattershot. We're led on all these side stories and when we're brought to moments that shoudl have great significance, they just don't. And while certain moments felt incredibly real, other parts I didn't really "click" with. I'm going to recommend the film and say that for some people this film will totally resonate and for others it might not. And the soundtrack, which is excellent, is almost too much. I found that they were so excited about getting you to listen to some great songs (and I must admit, I do like a lot of the music and might even buy the soundtrack) that it detracted from some of the scenes because all the attention was on the song that was playing and it didn't "gel" with the scene.

I know it sounds like I'm really ragging on it, but I really did like it. I just feel the need to explain to people why I didn't love it (while I find it really hard to explain to people why I loved Sideways). I felt the same way about Napoleon Dynamite. Liked. Not loved. Either way, I'm really excited to see what Zach Braff does next. For a first film, this is a really impressive work. Especially considering he wrote, starred, and directed. It's always easy to be a critic. It's not always easy for a young person to put their heart on film the way he did. So I'm giving him "kudos" for that. Watch it. You might really like it.


Speaking of movies. I convinced my parents to go see Million Dollar Baby this evening. They were already in bed when I got home, so I don't know if they liked it yet. But it's one of those things where I didn't want the movie spoiled for them. There are some pretty surprising (and to some, controversial) items at the end of the movie that are going to be talked about a lot before Oscars. See it now before its too late. I go out of my way not to give any hints as to how the movie ends in my review. Be sure you don't read a review that gives too much away.


At 2:06 p.m., Blogger cait said...

I've not seen "Garden State" yet (for similar reasons as you hadn't, except the bit about Ryan liking it, because I haven't seen Taxi Driver, either, and really, all I know about Ryan is that he plays bass and likes funk and the Beastie Boys and that's not enough to base a relationship of any sort on, is it?), but I think "good" for a first attempt usually translates into "promising," so I think he's someone to watch definitely.
Also: you know how you're talking about the ways in which Garden State fails but you still like it? That's pretty much how I talk all the time when I'm critiquing something. Don't take it personally.

At 5:28 p.m., Blogger Ewan said...

It's a likeable movie. It has some nice tunes, some neat characters, but it descends into Dawson's Creek-style drama at the end.

At 11:12 p.m., Blogger Anders said...

Caitlin; Wrong Ryan. You're thinking of Ryan Gullen. The Ryan who was obsessed with "Garden State" was Ryan Fisher, who I will hereforward call "Fish" to avoid confusion.

I do recommend the film. I think I'm beginning to understand where you're coming from.

At 11:33 p.m., Blogger cait said...

Oh, so I really don't know this Ryan; well, how did Ryan Gullen feel about "Garden State", and how would that affect your opinion? (I'm going to salvage this one if I can ;o) )

At 9:15 p.m., Blogger Luke said...

I had the smae problem when reviewing Garden state. How do i build up a film I like. Im going ot have to work on that in every aspect of life. Howe to describe somthing positivly. I agree with you on every point. It was basically a frst time director trying to sqeeze in every bit of himself into his project that he could. This would somtimes help and somtimes hinder the story.


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