Garden State

DVD Reviews | Mar 4th, 2005

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Starring Zach Braff, Ian Holm, Natalie Portman, Method Man, Peter Sarsgaard
Written By: Zach Braff
Directed By: Zach Braff
Studio: Zach Braff, wait! I mean Fox, yeah Fox
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Garden State, starring writer-director Zach Braff (Scrubs) about a man who comes home after nine long years away from home to deal with the death of his mom. Upon his return, he is faced with dealing with the past and moving forward with the future. Co-starring Natalie Portman and Peter Sarsgaard, it’s no wonder that this film is on everyone’s top ten list for 2004.

Andrew Largeman (Braff) or as his friends in Jersey know him as “Large” returns home to face the death of his mother and see life again fresh through his own eyes. Severly medicated since a childhood trauma, Andrew has been in a zombie-like state for some time until now. Life is new, and doesn’t seem to be one long day. Re-uniting with old friends (Peter Sarsgaard) and meeting new one’s like Sam, played masterfully by Natalie Portman. A meeting by chance, Sam and Andrew hit it off from the get-go. Sam seems to be the opposite of Andrew; fun, outgoing, and a pathological liar which she admits she is. Andrew believes that Sam is the answer to his downward spiral and she can help him regain his life with her positive attitude and love. Meanwhile, Andrew must face his father and the conversation that he has been dreading for years. Gideon (Ian Holm) plays Andrew’s father and his psychiatrist, who believes Andrew is still traumitized by the death of his mother and the events that took place before that time. He also feels Andrew must be on medication to help relive anxiety, stress and depression. Now that Andrew has been off his meds since he has returned, he can’t believe he was in that state for so long. He wants to be free from his medicine and just live life and deal with it.

Every teenager and twenty-thirty something year old should see this film. If you haven’t gone through what these characters in this movie have gone through, then you are living in a blind life and need to see what your whole purpose in life is about. Many kids in their twenties have no direction, and need some sort of sign or guidance to lead themselves to where they want to go. Andrew is one of those people. Meeting Sam, dealing with the death of his mother, seeing old faces from home, helps Andrew get on a new path. The message I took away from this film is that the past is there, the present is now, and you must live that present for the future, ya dig? Life is what you make it.

Extras on the dvd take a great look at the production of Garden State. This includes a “Making Of” featurrette which covers a great deal on the shoot, and you gain many insights into how fun and challenging it was for Zach Braff, who has a slam dunk with his first feature film. You can also listen to a pretty insightful commentary with Zach and Natalie as they discuss the film and make jokes along the way. Next, watch 16 deleted scenes that were either completetly deleted or just slightly extended scenes and don’t forget a pretty funny blooper reel as well.

Garden State was one of the surprises of 2004, and was one of my favorite movies of the past year. I guess you can call the film a “Dramedy” since it was mostly drama with tons of funny lines and scenarios in the film. Zach Braff is extremely talented for his writing, directing and acting and the movie is done with extreme care for the work. Natalie Portman is so loveable as Sam and I wish every girl could be like that. If you don’t check out this film, then you are missing out.

Audio Commentary by Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, and filmmakers
Outtakes and Bloopers
16 Deleted Scenes
“Making of” Featurette

ENGLISH: 5.1 Dolby Surround
SPANISH: Dolby Surround

Widescreen 2.35:1


Favorite Scenes: Anything with Natalie Portman, Dog Humping Scene, Andrew and His Dad talk about the past, present and future, Screaming on the truck, Chatting in the Pool
Rating: R
Running Time: 102 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: