Garden State
Review By: Joe

I don't particularly have the time to write this review, chubbies. So let's blast right through this sucker, shall we? E-mail me with a simile that would work with "blast right through this sucker" and make it better than "like poop through a goose," okay? Because that's the one we all thought of and it's not even cool.

Garden State is an overrated film that came out in 2004 and a bunch of people overrated it and now they feel stupid about it because everyone figured out the truth. At least I assume everyone did but if they didn't I am here with the truth so listen good.

This isn't a terrible, terrible movie or anything but it's not worth your time, really. It stars (and was also written and directed) by the guy from Scrubs, a TV show which I've never seen. He has horse teeth. Natalie Portman is also in it. I've never found her as hot as everyone else seems to but she's cute, I guess. I wouldn't kick 'er out of bed, you know what I'm saying, guys? Heh, heh, yeeeeeeah.

This is your standard indie film through and through. We got ourselves the disillusioned protagonist searching for meaning and a reason to FEEL!!! again, we got a spunky, crazy girl introducing herself to said protagonist in an unlikely place and taking care of most of the footwork of meeting and going out with her that's usually a royal dick pain to get through in reality, we got dreamy indie rock pervading the soundtrack, we've got a suburb in which things are (oh, how silly!) just a little off, and we've got a corny setpiece in which the main character does something CRAAAAAAAZY to show how he's changed his life and stuff.

Let's address these thangs:

The film has a lot of the main character looking very disenchanted. It's exceptionally standard. However, one of the better things about the film is the main character's reason for being disillusioned is justified. One, he's been pumped with medication for his entire life but two (SPOILING! SPOILING THE LOVELY INDIE FOR YOU RIGHT NOW!!!) is that it was his fault his mom became a parapalegic early in his life. Fine, I'll buy that. The other stuff, however, is MAD crappy.

Natalie Portman is the standard wacky girl! He meets her in a BRAIN doctor's waiting room and one of the first things she tells him to do is kick a dog in the balls. Wooahhh you are so crazy come change my life crazy girl! She's supposed to be like the ideal crazy-cool girl. It worked somewhat but, to another extent, I just thought she was annoying. Some of the dialogue and stuff she does is cringe-inducing like her idea of doing something weird to feel UNIQUE IF JUST FOR THAT ONE MOMENT!!! OHHHH, NATALIE!

At the very least, it was nice to see Ms. Portman act for a change as the only other things I've seen with her were those awful Star Warses where George Lucas repeatedly ordered "NO EMOTION! I SAID NO EMOTION!" and Leon the Professional which still seems to me to be her best performance. Yes, I showed her. Moving on!

The indie music is utterly forgettable because I don't like wussy crap for losers. It's even more shameful because Portman's character up and SAYS to the main character when they first meet that she's listening to The Shins and tells him "this song will change your life." Well it didn't change mine, Natalie! Maybe it would if I thought there was a possibility of fucking you if I pretended to like it though! Ah! Now I understand the character motivation!

This movie takes place in New Jersey (the garden state, stupid) and is based mostly in Essex county, where I'm from. Is this supposed to make me care because it doesn't??? Everything's just a little WACKY!! here. There's a part with a guy in a house dressed in knight armor because he works at Medieval Times. I guess I mildly appreciated the nod to the old MT but, come now, the man would get dressed in his armor once he got to work. I mean honestly. Also, much of the humor derives from the standard indie non-joke, which is to say jokes that aren't your standard joke but more of your weird, pseudo-jokes with long pauses and people making confused faces. There's a few bits of wit scattered throughout but, by and large, this just feels stale now.

Now then! The setpiece of which I spoke is that of the lead, Natalie Portman, and some other guy standing on a broken tractor and screaming over a canyon IN THE RAIN as the camera ZOOMS AWAY FROM THEM! OH, HOW MEANINGFUL!!! SCREW YOU, INDIE CINEMA!!

Basically, this film just follows the schematic for indie moviemaking nearly to the letter. It's not flat-out awful but other films have done this a thousand times over and done it much better. Both Buffalo '66 and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind are far cooler and more fun to watch, even though they hit a couple of the standard indie checkpoints. Watch those over this shlockmachine.

SAY! I'm a kid in the suburb. I'm from Essex county. I'm disillusioned. If I go to the BRAIN doctor, will I meet a hottie who tells me her life story and changes my life forever? No! If there even is a hottie she'll probably just get pissed at me for leering at her. More likely, there'll just be a drooling lobotomized fat man there and he WILL be interested in me.

All I'm saying is that this film endeavored to cheer me up and for that I can never forgive it.


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