Zach Braff is kinda talented, huh? A lot of TV actors come across as one trick ponies, but it turns out that Zach Braff isn’t just a great sitcom actor, he can also turn a pretty quick phrase and is a bit of a whiz behind the camera too. And he also worked on the film’s soundtrack. I’ve got a lot to thank him for. Without Garden State, The Shins, Alexi Murdoch and Imogen Heap may be missing from my iTunes collection. I would never have checked out the likes of The Last Kiss and Jarhead after falling for Peter Sarsgaard and Michael Weston’s charms. And my conversations wouldn’t be peppered with such witty phrases as “sidecars are for bitches” and “don’t tease me about my hobbies. I don’t tease you about being an asshole.”
Amongst other things, Garden State is about that idea of not being able to go home anymore. Braff plays Andrew “Large” Largeman, a twenty-something actor who has become estranged from his parents and has to return home for his mother’s funeral. He catches up with friends from high school and discovers that they haven’t changed as much as he has. He also meets your Sam, your typical manic-pixie-dream-girl type. Her charm is appealing and her quirks are endearing, so there’s plenty to love about her. She gives Large’s life purpose again, and helps him come to terms with his mother’s passing in his own way and in his own time.
One of the things that makes Garden State so memorable is its ability to change your life. It can completely alter your outlook, particularly for those of us in that post-university slump, where our lives haven’t quite turned out the way we planned. The tiniest thing, be it a comment from an old acquaintance, words of wisdom from a new friend or a line from a song you’ve never heard before, can totally open your eyes to a new way of thinking. And Garden State has that in spades!
Is there a specific part which made you sit up and take notice? Are there other films that you credit with having changed your life? Let me know in the comments section.