There is a long-standing rule in the Hunt for the Worst Movie of All Time that childrens’ movies are not up for consideration because, while awful, they are made for children, not for adults, and to watch them or talk about them along the lines that you would use for a movie made for human beings is beside the point. (This doesn’t mean that there aren’t also GREAT childrens’ movies that even adults can enjoy, but the ones that are all butts and poops and fart-pants and crotch-slams do exactly what they are supposed to for the people for whom they are intended to do it, so what’s the point?) With that in mind, it almost seems unfair to talk about Garden State because it is also kind of made for children. If I had to guess who the target audience for this movie is I would say they are 15-24-year-old babies who completed one semester of Freshman College (and are VERY impressed with themselves for having done so), believes Deathcab for Cutie “practically invented music,” are a pretty big deal on their LiveJournal group blog, have had one serious relationship that ended in the third grade, don’t think it’s a problem to wear pajamas to work, believe that “sadness” is “sexy,” and say things like “everyone says I’m crazy, but I don’t know, I’m just me!” when in fact no one says they are crazy because they are the most normal McNormalson on Earth. So, unformed garbage people, basically.

Well, then, garbage babies, let’s talk about your movie!

Garden State tells the “story” (not a story) of Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff, who also wrote and directed this piece of crap) who is a Hollywood actor returns home to New Jersey for the funeral of his mother. He is depressed or something? All I know is that his face looks like this:

A lot:

Zach Braff is getting headaches so he goes to a doctor and meets Natalie Portman in the waiting room who is listening to The Shins on her Zune and blah blah blah they fall in love. I’m not entirely sure how anyone could be attracted to either of them as Natalie Portman is almost painfully annoying and Zach Braff is insufferable, but actually as a couple they both kind of make sense. I hope they get married and move into a house together and lock the door to the house and burn that house to the ground. Also: Zach Braff stops taking his Prozac or something because this movie was made in 2004 and apparently people were still talking about Prozac as some kind of “numbing” problem? Seriously? Now he is in love with Natalie Portman and they travel around New Jersey meeting all kinds of “hilarious” “characters” and having “adventures,” all the while talking about life and death and love and feelings in such banal terms that you almost cannot believe it and yet it is really happening. Zach Braff is about to leave to go back to Hollywood and he even gets on the airplane, and Natalie Portman goes to cry in a phone booth (remember phone booths?) but then Zach Braff decides not…to…return to Hollywood and his acting career? But to stay in New Jersey with an annoying epileptic girl who still lives with her mother?

THIS. IS. GARDEN STATE!

Where to even begin? How about with the cinematography! Yuck. YUCK. Every single shot of the movie is so over-composed. You know they thought “this looks cool and interesting” but it doesn’t. On top of that, the cinematography is clearly supposed to be neat to make up for how dull and unimaginative everything else about the movie is, so it’s actually failing on two different levels! It is like putting a comedian in a “funny” shirt that isn’t actually funny at all and then having him tell terrible jokes.

Speaking of emotional substitutions, there is the issue of the soundtrack. It’s a perfectly good soundtrack! But that’s the thing: it is JUST a soundtrack. If the overall aesthetic of the movie is a lazy Wes Anderson rip-off (see also Napoleon Dynamite, released the same year) then the soundtrack is pure Cameron Crowe. Here’s the thing: just because you use carefully selected songs to evince a particular mood, if everything else going on is absolute garbage then you are being a lazy fucking liar and I hate you. Which is exactly what this movie does, and worst of all it doesn’t even have the decency to be subtle about it. That whole “Listen to this Shins song, it will change your life” bullshit is exactly that: bullshit. If your girlfriend in real life gives you a mixtape, that is nice. If you find a mixtape on a make believe trash heap, who cares?!

Because Garden State‘s characters are all so stock and thin (this one is “sad,” this one is “lazy”) not to mention poorly acted (although I do like Peter Sarsgaard in general, and also hi, Jim Parsons, you looked much healthier before you were famous, I am sorry you got so sick) and because of the movie’s complete lack of emotional depth (see the many faces of Zach Braff, above), and just in case people see through the total scam of its visual choices, the movie attempts to pack itself with “quirky characters and events” because that is…I don’t know. Comedy? Indie? Swag? So, a man in knight’s armor gets cereal from the fridge (no he doesn’t). Too much medicine in the cabinet. Motorcycle with sidecar (sure). Diploma on the ceiling (NOPE). Natalie Portman’s foreign exchange student “brother” (eek). Flaming arrows for no fucking reason whatsoever. The screaming thing. That goddamn shirt.

When they go to the quarry (right before the screaming nonsense happens) this GROWN MAN spouts some open mic night philosophy about staring into an abyss or some shit (barf) but before he does that he says “You guys probably think it’s pretty weird that my wife and I live in this converted houseboat at the edge of a quarry.” Uh, if that houseboat was real it would be on the cover of fucking architecture magazines. If your movie is going to be quirky, shouldn’t it at least know what quirky even IS?! The thing about iconic movie images is that they stick with you because they have EMOTIONAL RESONANCE and help to TELL A STORY. This is just scribbling on a pair of high school jeans. The whole thing is so high school a/v club senior project it makes me sick. SICK! Also making me sick:

But the real heart of this movie’s awfulness is its blatant, rampant, all-pervasive dishonesty. It is in everything that we have already talked about (cinematography, melodramatic soundtrack, fake quirk) but it’s also deeply embedded in the characters and their behavior and the story itself. Like, the first night that Zach Braff is back in town he goes to a party at a mansion owned by a kid he knew in high school who got rich by inventing “silent velcro” (there is a nonsense dishonest detail right there because WHAT?) and is socially incapacitated and so nervous and shy and confused, right? No. He’s a HOLLYWOOD ACTOR! He can’t handle a stupid house party in his hometown? Give me a break. That isn’t that great of an example, I guess, but here’s the thing: none of them are good examples because everything in the movie is dumb and boring and cliched and lame and A LIE. The only thing less interesting than a 20-something-year-old who doesn’t know what to do with his life (because apparently BEING IN MOVIES ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH?) is a make-believe 20-something-year-old who make-believe doesn’t know what to make-believe do with his make-believe life. Meanwhile, everything that comes out of everyone’s mouth is just utter shit (with the exception of the part when Peter Sarsgaard tells Zach Braff “don’t make fun of me for my hobbies, I don’t make fun of you for being an asshole,” which is the best part of the whole movie). Let’s put it this way: Prozac is NOT what makes Zach Braff’s character dull and unbearable to be around. Everyone is so two-dimensional (he can’t swim! Powerful stuff*) that their interactions are like two shapes passing each other in Edwin Abbott Abbott’s Flatland. And as someone who actually has experience of a strained relationship with his father what the FUCK is going on here?

I know that lots of people like this movie, and for the most part I have a very live-and-let-watch philosophy towards life. We all like what we like, no big deal! But this movie is kind of a dealbreaker. Sorry! If you like this movie, I’m sure you’re probably still a good person (maybe) and not a TOTAL idiot, but I don’t think we can be best friends. At the very least, you will be removed from my MySpace Top 8. 4 sure. This movie is so bad. Here is how bad this movie is: Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown maintains its stranglehold as the front-runner for the Worst Movie of All Time, but Garden State jumps into the #2 spot. CONGRATULATIONS, GARDEN STATE! YOU ARE ALMOST THE MOST AWFUL!

Next week: This is the end of the recent round of additions. Let’s regroup after the Videogum Anniversary Show. RSVP here!

*Even here, his inability to swim has nothing to do with storytelling. Clearly, for whatever (very) stupid reason, Zach Braff got it into his head that it would be funny or clever or SOMETHING to have a bunch of people jump into a pool and only have Zach Braff not jump into the pool. So he doesn’t. Because he can’t swim. It’s completely uninteresting and a waste of time. Just like this movie.
Comments (275)
  1. the ending of this movie is the worst. the whole story is so fucked up and sad and dark, i wanted to leave depressed but it was just like every other romantic comedy.

    • The story is neither fucked up, nor sad, nor dark.

      • I don’t know. Watching it made me pretty sad.

      • The story is not a story.

      • let me clarify. yes it is. at least the idea for the story is fucked up, sad, and dark.

        it’s a story about a guy who is addicted to prescription pills because he paralyzed his mom when he was a little kid and she eventually dies because of what he did only to find out that his old high school buddy stole shit from her grave and then the only person he can relate to (ever?) is a compulsive liar and has some other problems that i don’t remember? that’s fucking dark.

        i guess it’s not just the ending, but it’s the whole thing. like to me how do you make a quirky rom-com with that background?

        • I see what you mean, sort of. If someone took that one-paragraph description and wrote a good book about it, or made a good movie, it could be extremely dark and messed up.
          But instead, they took it and made a self-consciously “quirky,” completely implausible, transparent, and heavy-handed grey mess. And then added the Shins.

          • yes. and what i meant with my first comment was that if the movie had ended one of the two following ways

            1. they fell down the abyss
            2. he didn’t go back to the airport (she didn’t? i don’t remember exactly)

            then you would have left and been like “well that was a shitty movie but i’m fucking depressed a shit now” so at least there would be some sort of response that happened

        • I think your summary proves Gabe’s point. That is a hilarious summary. Like, I would see that movie. The problem is that GS tries to sell those plot points as Real Life. (Also, can we talk about how many indie movie protagonists cannot swim? DEEEEEP!) It’s not real life. It’s not even remotely relatable. It reads like a Kevin Smith treatment gone wrong. It’s not dark. It’s kitchen sink screenwriting 101 nonsense. “How many more complications can we throw in? What if the dog had cancer?” Ugh.

    • ya i was pretty excited when i saw him sitting down on the plane. i thought, oh look its reference to the first scene. the planes gonna crash. hes gonna cry because he has emotions now. and it will be devastating, and beautiful. then it cuts to her crying in the phone booth and im like did they do it. then he appears and im like fucking bitch.

  2. Gabe,
    Why didn’t you tell me sooner that I’m not supposed to wear my Pajama Jeans to work?

  3. Fun fact this movie is now perpetually in the $5 bin at Best Buy, and everytime I see it I think to myself “haha based on my music and movie tastes I’m supposed to love this movie”

    • I liked this movie when i was a shiftless, drifting 22 year old asshat.. I mean, the Soundtrack? Forget about it! I wore that bitch OUT!

      And Natalie Portman is so cute! like a child! You know she won an Oscar, right? Not for this of course. no. not for this.

  4. Garden State is the white self-important recent college grad with bad taste’s Gone With The Wind.

  5. Gabe’s original review was a lot shorter, and even snarkier

  6. My favorite part of the review:
    “That goddamn shirt.” – Gabe Delahaye

    • I could never figure out how you’d even be able to make a shirt out of “the leftover material from the bathroom” let alone why you’d think that was a good idea.

      Is that a shirt made out of wallpaper? Or a bathroom walled with cotton?

      Because either way, WHAT?

  7. Zach Braff? More like Zach Barf.

  8. “Natalie Portman is almost painfully annoying”

  9. I do not doubt that a blogger who asks every other viral video star to be his dad has father issues.

  10. This is the end of the recent round of additions? Well, allow me to get a head start on the next round of nominees…

    It’s got two A-list stars, and A-list director, and it’s 2 hours and 45 minutes of the most offensively stupid crap I’ve ever seen.

  11. This movie just felt like a total ripoff of “Detroit and the Kid”.

  12. I refuse to watch this movie because it just looks like something my ex-husband would like.

  13. This may be my absolute favorite WMOAT of them all, Gabe. You really outdid yourself on this one. But seriously, don’t you just love Scrubs?!?!

  14. The mysterious person who could be attracted to Natalie Portman in this movie has left us a clue! Let’s see… it says here that he has two thumbs…

  15. It’s very this, before this was well-known.

  16. Garden State is a #2. Sounds about right.

  17. I just really hate this movie. I am not sure if I have ever hated a movie as much as this movie.

  18. Looks like Gabe and Family Guy finally have something in common. They both hate this movie. The enemy of my enemy is my frenemy.

  19. Although, I can’t claim to be the sole proponent of this movie as the WMOAT, this is the one I have campaigned the hardest for since I found out that it hadn’t been done yet, so it gives me great pride to know that it currently stands at #2. Anyways, GOOD GOD THIS MOVIE IS TERRIBLE. But I’m really bad about describing precisely why something is terrible, so my SINCERE thanks to Gabe for finally giving me a coherent argument for the terribleness of this movie, especially the points about over-composition and dishonesty. This lived up to all my expectations.

    “THIS MOVIE SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKS”––what these douches are screaming

  20. When this movie came out, I fit Gabe’s demographic to a T and I loved this movie. Then I grew up.

    Now I look back at my fondness for this movie with only shame and regret. Lovers of (500) Days of Summer will feel the same way when they re-watch it in 5 or 10 years.

    • Well, while I certainly agree that (500) Days suffers from many of the same annoying twee elements, I have seen both of these movies in the past 6 months, a period in which I still consider myself “in the key demo,” and I can honestly say that it is a far better, far more enjoyable movie to watch (which is not to say that it is anything more than a mediocre one). I think a big reason for that is that (500) Days doesn’t take itself as seriously and isn’t high on its own sense of existential importance in the same way as Garden State is.

      • Principal, while I admire your commitment to the scientific method, “not taking itself as seriously” and “not being high on its own sense of existential importance” is the exact way that Garden State would express itself if it was made in 2009 instead of 2004. This is merely a more recent (and thus hipper) expression of the twee sensibility, and in ten years both the earnest shallows of Garden State and the ironic time-bended shallows of (500) days will look dated and terrible.

        • The first time I saw Garden State I thought 3 things: 1. Holy CRAP this guy has never actually been depressed as he can neither write about it nor portray it accurately. And the meds don’t make you depressed dipwad and if you went off them suddenly you’d be shaking and sweating and thinking your brain was moving out of your body. (Analyze This was better at portraying anxiety and depression.) 2. Holy CRAP Natalie Portman is going to grow up to be the worst. And 3. Great, now that band I like will get annoying.

          7 years later every one of those thoughts has been compounded.

          Meanwhile, 500 Days of Summer still has some highly entertaining parts. The dance sequence is awesome. And as much as I hate a manic pixie girl with no personality getting fawned over like puppy, Zoey is a bazillion times less awful than Natalie. Though 500 Days will get dated quickly, it’ll end up more like Singles than Reality Bites — very much part of the time in which it was created, but a much less irksome story.

    • I really liked Garden State when I was 14.

    • That’s kind of why I might never watch either again. Loved both when they came out, but sometimes you see certain other people loving a movie and it’s just “oh boy, I must have been bamboozled somehow, maybe by the pretty lady, because if that dude thinks this movie is Important Art That Speaks Volumes About Life,” it must really blow.

      C’mon. You know that dude. And he loves these movies.

    • You just described me perfectly. However, I feel like I was duped by a very nicely done teaser trailer. The Frou Frou song was just moody yet upbeat enough that it fit my sophomore college personality very well, and it made the cinematography, while pointless in the context of the actual movie, seem worthwhile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=la53nY41c9M

  21. This is just a very very happy coincidence. Garbage babies? Garbage babies.

  22. Question: When a make-believe 20-something-year-old goes to his make-believe hometown for his make-believe mother’s make-believe funeral and winds up make-believe falling in love with a make-believe manic pixie dream girl only to make-believe go to the make-believe airport to go back to his make-believe life as a make-believe actor in Los Angeles, does he need to buy make-believe tickets?

  23. This movie makes me SO MAD. Everyone in it is so awful. I was in high school when this movie came out and everyone thought it was so deep and really SPOKE to them and listened to the soundtrack non-stop. Because of this movie, I can’t deal with The Shins. Being really really into this movie is a 100% friendship dealbreaker for me. It’s the worst of all the movies that do the “quirky indie” thing by taking a bunch of stuff hipsters would like and vomiting it back out with no plot. Ughhhhhh this movie!

  24. So is this a sequel?

  25. As an epileptic who has struggled with depression in the past, this movie made me really angry.
    I hope that no impressionable teenager struggling with mental health issues decided to stop taking their medication based on how much this movie “spoke” to them.

  26. This movie: I am going to have a funeral for my hamster.

    Me: I am going to move out of New Jersey.

  27. Never has a review of a movie so awful filled me with such joy.

  28. “You know what I do when I feel completely unoriginal? I do a dance or make a noise that no one has ever done before and then I feel original again.”

  29. Ha, ha! Stupid Garden State. Couldn’t even be the best at being the worst.

  30. I just can’t wait for Garden State 2: A Shore Thing. Starring these lovely folks:

  31. There comes a point in every young adult’s life when you start searching for your personal meaning, your soundtrack, your aesthetic, your whatever. I thought I could find it in this movie when it came out. So I went to the theatre and watched this movie all by myself. I thought it was going to move me. Or something. All it really did was made me want to go get the soundtrack, which I did. I think if it wasn’t for that soundtrack, I would have been stuck listening to terrible emo music that has screams in the middle of the songs and bad techno.

    I bought the DVD a few months later, thinking I’d missed something. By that time the hype was still around this movie and it hadn’t been deemed totally “terrible” by the masses yet. So I watched it again, searching for a new meaning and I found nothing. It made me think, what would have happened if I just dropped it all and lived my life? No hopes, no real “rules.” Just kicking back and living. Like Matthew McConaughey. I never really got the answer to that question, and maybe I never will. But searching for some deeper meaning within yourself thru a movie is dumb, and I’m glad that I grew up. I realized you have to experience things not just watch them on screen or listen to an album. That’s not living that’s observing other people live.

    Thanks Garden State for making me just a little bit less of an asshole.

  32. So, this preposterous piece of zeitgeist-y nonsense, but not Reality Bites??

    It’s the same problem! Wake up, sheeple!

    • yeargh, Reality Bites does win this contest. I had forgotten I’d seen it. Except Jeanine Garafalo rocks.

    • AGREED! Reality Bites was before my time (being 5 is HARD!) so watching it later on as an adult gave me a clear understanding of just how bad that movie is. I think my biggest problem with that movie is that Winona’s character makes THE WORST CHOICES, which I guess 20 somethings do often? But both Reality Bites and Garden State end at a too convenient time, like we know these characters are wrong together and will probably start arguing on the ride home or something.

    • Thank you for saying that! Three things I hated about Reality Bites:
      1) someone is asked to define “ironic” in a job interview. That is a very normal interview question that gets asked all the time.
      2) That one guy brings a girl home and everyone is super mean to her? Because that is cool or something?
      3) Winona steals (art imitating life imitating art!) money from her folks by running some gas card scam because she feels so entitled. Get a freaking job. ugh!

  33. “All I know is that his face looks like this

    a lot.” -Gabe

  34. The beginning was the best part of any review you have ever done.

  35. I’ve had, as far as I can remember, two DVD cases stolen from me: Garden State and the Die Hard trilogy. Anybody want to guess which I am way, way, pissed about?

    • A friend gave me (gave, not loaned) his DVD of Garden State after I expressed mild interest in it. Around this time, my sister’s mother-in-law was having health problems and was considering trying marijuana to battle some of the symptoms. My sister asked for some at my parents’ house during a family gathering.

      Looking for a discreet way to give it to her, I went to my old room where I had left behind my DVDs that I no longer watch. Without thinking, I went straight for Garden State but the baggie didn’t fit inside with the disc. I took the DVD out, threw it in the trash, put the weed in and gave it to my sister.

  36. I think I found this movie profound when I watched it the summer in-between my freshman and sophomore years of college, at 19.

    I used to think Now Me and 19-Year-Old Me would get along, but now I’m starting to realize that anybody who is between the ages of 18 and 22 is absolutely insufferable and I would just end up murdering myself and creating some kind of time warp black hole shit. I dunno, Faraday would know what I’m trying to say.

    Anyway, yeah. Yeeeeeeeeeeeah.

    • I’m only 20 and I hate this movie! I would much rather watch this:

    • Briadru4, you and I are the same age, then, because Freshman-year me, who worshiped Conor Oberst and watched Scrubs because it wasn’t Friends, LOVED this movie. A lot.

      I guess what I’m saying is, Zach Braff knew his audience.

    • I also saw Garden State at 19 and loved it. Now I’m 26 and I love this blog post.

      Also killing it for me? I saw GS twice in theatres, the second time as a double feature (KIDS!). The movie we started with was “Maria Full of Grace” …. whoops! The side by side comparison was, at best, eye opening.

    • I watched it when I was 19 and hated it just as much as I hate it now. Maybe I was an early bloomer?

      19 year old me (and current me) hate 14 year old me, though. 14 year old me thought Marilyn Manson was just the best thing ever.

  37. I’m so glad you called attention to that fucking suit of armor scene. It was so transparently an effort to randomly shoehorn in a pseudo-surreal quirky image that it was insulting. I’m okay with pseudo quirky imagery if it makes sense (the shirt / wallpaper thing was heavy handed but at least it made sense). But the armor thing really pissed me off. The explanation was that the kid works at Medieval Times, but if your work at Medieval Times involved wearing a full suit of armor, you’d put that shit on in the Medieval Locker Room! (See also basically everything in Little Miss Sunshine.)

    • Expand on that Little Miss Sunshine comment.

      • It’s been a while since I saw that movie, but basically every single detail in that movie was engineered for maximum quirk value:
        -Old fashioned yellow van
        -Steve Carrell’s beard
        -The random fact that he’s a Proust scholar that’s unconnected to anything in particular about Proust or his work
        -Horny old grandfather
        -Totally incongruous desire of moody older brother to be in the air force (?!)
        -A self help author who, himself, needs … help.
        -Child beauty pageants

        I realize these are kind of different than the suit of armor thing, because they were worked into the plot, sort of. It’s more the totality of the circumstances — the piling on of these random quirky things, like all of the ones that Gabe listed for Garden State (armor, flaming arrows, foreign exchange brother, sidecar motorcycle, etc).

  38. I particularly dislike this movie because it perpetuates the myth that The Shins make good music.

  39. I see The Shins the same way that the writer’s of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy saw Earth.

  40. here’s what I hate about zack braff: he produced this movie for one reason and one reason only and that was to kiss my future bride natalie portman, who can never be un-kissed by this ugly chinless Mr. Alternative Quirk balls.

  41. I still love this movie. I appreciate the characters are poorly written, there’s that dangerous message about antidepressants and Braff (who has subsequently proved himself to be the worst) is a terrible director who needled the cinematographer into filming a depressing mist of grey sombreness. I also hated the ending.

    But I still love it. I think it’s a film with genuine heart (heart of an asshole maybe – but it still has heart). I think he actually cared about his message, rather than ticking off obvious cultural references that would tickle hipsters a la 500 Days (it took this film to make The Shins The Shins).

    I guess the same criticism could be made of Cameron Crowe who also creates terrible films about 2 dimensional assholes that he obviously cares about. And i hate his films. Maybe it’s just that these particular assholes appeal to me.

    Anyway, just saying. Downvote away.

    • How did it take this movie to make The Shins The Shins?

      • “UGH I was listening to The Shins two years before this movie came out.” -HipsterCakeOrDeath

        • seriously though, I think maybe the shins were a new thing when they wrote this movie, but I saw it when it came out and remember thinking “dude, my MOM listens to the shins now”.

          It just smacks of Zack Braff going to his music consultant and asking for the most accessible indie band who also could be easily licensed via a major label at the time.

          -hipster tizzdogg

    • This movie has heart like Sean Hannity has brains. Also, the Shins are much better than this movie (except not anymore because James Mercer is the only original member left because of greed and shit like that).

    • This movie did kind of make The Shins the The Shins. They self destructed after Marty decided to become the Chris Brown of indie rock. He’s out of the band now, thank goodness. Now they’re a passing song on Pandora’s MGMT station.

    • Garden State did introduce me to The Shins and Zero 7 (which led to me stumbling into The Decemberists, BSS, etc.) and it played a larger role in my teenage listening habits (and my life thereafter) than I’m usually willing to admit.

      I can’t watch the movie now because I tend to cringe and wince so much that I could be mistaken for a raisin, but I’m grateful for what the soundtrack opened up for me.

    • the shins were on “late world with zach” 2 years before this film was made, and i purchased “oh, inverted world” that summer at a starbucks. this movie did not make the shins anything.

  42. I wonder how many 18 year olds Zack Braff inspired to go off their antidepressant meds and how many adolescent tragedies circa 2004 can be blamed on him. Class action lawsuit anyone?

  43. TRUE STORY: I liked this movie when it came out. Liked. Now this quote most accurately describes my sentiments about Garden State now (despite my adoration for Natalie Portman): “I hope they get married and move into a house together and lock the door to the house and burn that house to the ground.”

    I still nominate Synecdoche, New York Gabe. Why? Because I love it now but one day you never know… it could be my Garden State 2: 2 Bad 2 Whiny.

    • oooh and now a word from oppositeopiniongirl, just a bit further down (think I was typing it at the same time as you though). Old brother love and old brother hate…

    • As with footie pajamas, we all grow out of Garden State. (Note: it is acceptable to not grow out of footie pajamas. Not true with Garden State.)

  44. My favorite/least-favorite moment in this movie is when a character delivers a long monologue about how hard it is to realize that the house you grew up in isn’t your home anymore. I feel like there’s a two-minute period in your life, max, when that seems like a profound insight about an actual problem.

  45. I have had an epiphany from the God of Coincidence (who would be played by Kevin Smith in his movie titled ‘BLARG’)

    GARDEN STATE is to Gabe what SYNEDOCHE, NEW YORK is to me. So much to hate, so much ‘quirk’, with an underlying sense perhaps, at some point, something good might have come out of this hideous fakery that destroys the magic of cinema by its very being (that’s why Gabe hates that movie, right? No one can have so much hatred without the bolstering power of enraged disappointment) .

    And so I vote for the stupid images (mini paintings! House on fire perpetually!), the solipsistic dreariness, and the all-round waste of talent that is SYNEDOCHE, NEW YORK.

    Thank you.

  46. I first saw the trailer for this movie when I went to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and being another ‘indie’ romantic comedy-drama from 2004 with a large focus on quirky aesthetics starring a typically comedic male lead paired with an actress I love and have tons of respect for playing a mildly insufferable spastic head case, I was sold from the start.

    I’m just glad not every movie I adored when I was 17 turned out to be utter garbage.

    • typical Zach Braff

    • Really? Huh! Sorry guys. My heart feels that TLOTM is at least as worsty as Garden State. And I’d be willing to bet Netflix’s robots that those who love the former tend to love the latter. But oh well…

      • why do you think it is as bad as Garden State? It has great performances, badass action sequences, and epic scenery. The entire seen on the mountain culminating in the fight between Chingachgook and Magua is incredible. Plus it has Pete Postlethwaite in it.

        • dammit, scene not seen.

        • I don’t think it’s as bad as Garden State, but the first time I watched it I kept thinking “so when is this movie going to get moving?” and then the credits started rolling. So there’s that.

          • I went to see this with a large group of friends. Half loved it, the rest of us HATED it. It was like a slow-motion 2-hour commercial for Clairol for Men. Since then, we have referred to it as “Laugh at the Mohicans.”

  47. guys, hold the presses. I nominate Hereafter, with fat damon and some pretty french woman who can’t act. garden state is fucking king lear huckleberry finn citizen kane compared to this fucking mess.

    • OH MY GOD YES

      I future nominated this piece of garbage immediately after I saw it. So long, so boring, so overwrought, and in the end it DOESN’T EVEN SAY ANYTHING ABOUT ANYTHING. So unbelievably bad in every way possible.

  48. Gabe’s “I’m not entirely sure how anyone could be attracted to either of them as Natalie Portman is almost painfully annoying and Zach Braff is insufferable, but actually as a couple they both kind of make sense. I hope they get married and move into a house together and lock the door to the house and burn that house to the ground.” is my new “Please God make a bird so I can fly far far away.” I will say it every night when I am in a field escaping from my family with a child-like Tom Hanks.

  49. This movie is one of those movies I like at the level of admitting that I enjoyed it but also understood why it is bad (did Gabe mention how I bet lots of people think they can get away with movies like this because of this movie? As in, if you hate happythanksmorewhitepeopleplease, then it is this movie’s fault. Definitely.) And I would NEVER defend this movie. To the person who does not like this movie I would say: “Okay.”

    But the soundtrack IS a soundtrack and the DVD I received as a stocking stuffer is open (unlike the Crash DVD I received).

    PS. Mom stop giving me DVDs for Christmas.

  50. Am I too late to comment that Natalie Portman’s character is the worst pet owner and should not be taking care of animals?

  51. This is certainly the worst movie of all time. You hinted at it, but you really need to see this movie to know just how pack full of MEANING it is. Every line of dialogue, every gesture and camera angle–SO MUCH MEANING!

    This movie is trying so so so so so so hard. It is insufferable.

  52. I can no longer look at this post, the more I read the more of the movie I remember, the more I remember, the more I cringe, the more I cringe, the more I need more wine. I’m out of wine. Goodnight Garden State, I hope I never think of you again.

  53. I’m going to get downvoted for this but I would like to make two counter arguments….not in defense of the movie….but just in general of movies.

    - It is kind of unfair to any movie to use the words “make believe” in a negative context….they are movies. Movies are make believe. Even movies that say they aren’t make believe are make believe. Its just how it is.

    -Saying a movie tries too hard is also kind of unfair. It’s like saying you wished movies would only make a slight effort to achieve their goal. Yes, sometimes movies try and fail but to try TOO hard? I don’t support half-assed attempts at anything.

    • A word about trying too hard: I don’t think Gabe or anyone is saying the creators of this or any other movie should not make efforts to fulfill their vision as clearly and completely as possible. But there’s a difference between “trying” in the sense “we pulled out all the stops to articulate and develop our intention” and “trying” in the sense “we shoehorned as much shit-we-think-is-cool into this sucker as possible! Do you love us yet?”

      It’s like, your friend who tries hard by reaching out to you and being there for you when you need her is a good friend. Your friend who tries hard by thinking he’s impressing you with how much cool shit he’s into is a douche.

  54. so late to this party but i just want to say first of all i hate this movie so much, and i have been looking forward to this review for awhile. I am so glad this piece of total awful garbage is so high on the WMOAT leaderboard.

    however, this review did not tackle my major issue with the film which is that at one point a young man in his early 20s tells his father “it’s going to be okay” or whatever he says in that chest-touching scene.

    to recap, this father is a man who has lived his whole life and lost the love of his whole life and also had a real career that he used to support his family and buy a house and pay a mortgage and probably save for zach braff’s stupid face’s college tuition, among other adult whole long life things that people do. Zach Braff is a fucking idiot kid.

    His father should have smacked zach braff’s stupid petulant face right off when he heard that fucking nonsense. i just needed to add that/vent about my least favorite part of probably my least favorite movie of all time.

  55. For the next round I would like to nominate Salt, the Angelina Jolie / Liev Schrieber / Chiwetel Eijofor “thriller”. Mainly because Angelina Jolie (who plays EVELYN SALT, real cool name) is a TOTAL ASSHOLE. And she’s stuck in a room and the first thing she does is cover the camera with her panties because OF COURSE SHE DOES, and everybody turns into TOTAL ASSHOLES and by the end you’re just “ugh get it over with nobody CARES”

    So yeah, Salt.

  56. I wish I had the heart to defend this movie, but I just don’t. It’s not that bad. I enjoy it. But defending it here is futile.

    I will say that the whole white people being sad thing around here gets old. No, middle-class white people probably shouldn’t be sad. Things could be much worse! But guess what, things can always be a lot fucking worse! That’s the attitude we all should have, but that’s not how the HUMAN MIND works, guys. We can get depressed and feel like our lives suck for no good fucking reason. And we have little control over that.

    If you don’t like this movie, that’s fine. Of course. You can think it’s absolute trash. Maybe it is! Maybe I have terrible taste in film. ( I don’t!) But don’t make sweeping generalizations on the kind of people that may like this movie. I have feelings guys!

  57. Like many of the previous commenters I totally loved this movie when it first came out. I was on the cusp of graduation from university and the scene about his childhood home not being his home hit home because my childhood home was no longer my home because of how my parents divorced, etc. etc.

    But a movie that is perceived as great for such a specific period in one’s life cannot be a great movie. Especially when it’s about a period where I was so insanely selfish and fake existential and how will I change the world.

    The only lasting effects, also like everyone else said, was on the music I listened to. And as someone who grew up listening almost exclusively to Christian rock and classical music (I was so awesome!), it could only be seen as a good thing.

    Anywho, great review.

  58. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • How is it pseudo-intellectual?

      • From dictionary.com:
        –adjective
        3. of, pertaining to, or characterized by fraudulent intellectuality

        When you have high school students talking like they’re hard-boiled detectives out of a 1940′s noir, jocks reciting Shakespearan soliloquies, and teenage socialites reciting spoken-word poetry while playing piano (which by the way garnered an ass-beating, not applause, when I was in high school), you clearly aspire to have your movie perceived as intellectual and deep, when none of those things come close to describing the pile of shit you’ve transferred to film. Not trying to be a smarmy asshole here, but I actually put a lot of thought into why I hated this movie and I had to show you why I believe I accurately described it by calling it “pseudo-intellectual.”

        • I still don’t see it, at all. It was finding a new and interesting way to do a genre that can’t be played straight anymore. If it were played straight, it would go nowhere, so sure, you can go ironic on it, or undermine the genre, or you can find a new setting.

          • A bunch of twentysomethings pretending to be high schoolers pretending to deliver moldy noir lines with conviction at each other is about as new and interesting as that kiddie version of Bugsy Malone. Also, the inscrutably evil cane-wielding drug dealer is played by Lukas Haas, who’s about as terrifying as a koala bear.

            <–will co-sign on adding Brick to the WMOAT, but not before Red Planet and Paranormal Activity.

          • Okay, I’ll take those criticisms, though I’d still disagree. I’m not saying anyone has to love the movie, there are flaws and a lot of it comes down to taste, but a charge of pseudo-intellectual just makes no sense.

        • Also, if using genre and/or Shakespeare makes something pseudo-intellectual, that takes about 60, 70% of culture out of your interest.

        • That only would have gotten an assbeating at your school because the US is very anti-intellectual, and finds being intelligent a character flaw. See : The success of the show The Big Bang Theory. It’s just a lampoon on smart people. Absolute tripe but Americans love tripe.

        • I can almost see this pseudo-intellectual argument, but the usage of the word “deep” is what throws me off. It doesn’t seem like this film aimed to convey a deeper meaning, unless you, of course, derive it in some way.

          I just saw it as more of a twist on film noir. Is noir supposed to be intellectual? It’s just all style, isn’t it? I figured that a lot of the peripheral stuff, like the jock reciting Shakespeare, were merely stylistic devices.

          Anyway, whatever. There are more important things to discuss here… like… Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s characters run a lot. Like all the time. What is up with THAT.

    • Throw one at me if you want, hash head. I’ve got all five senses and I slept last night, that puts me six up on the lot of you.

      • So my favorite quote from the movie and a line I aspire to use someday. Though, considering where I continue to choose to live, methhead is the more likely choice.

    • I see nominating Brick has earned me seven downvotes, meaning that movie has seven more fans than I initially thought. Fair enough. After the beating I took for nominating Eyes Wide Shut, I might as well go for a second run as the bottom-feeder of Monster’s Ball!

    • WOAH there. Brick is a freaking powerhouse of a movie starring my boyfriend. You take it back.

      • Joseph Gordon-Levitt is still my boyfriend too, but I occasionally grudge-fuck him as punishment for making this movie. He hasn’t really learned his lesson, as grudge-fucking doesn’t seem like a punishment so much as a reward.

      • I’m assuming you mean Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is also my boyfriend. I occasionally grudge-fuck him to punish him for making Brick. It does not seem to have had any effect, as grudge-fucking is not a punishment so much as a reward.

  59. I only saw this movie once and it was way after it’s popular streak. I really don’t remember it. Sorry I was too busy listening to WEEZER in high school to give a two shits about this film. Weezer ruled.

  60. Can you nominate a movie you haven’t seen all the way through? If so, I nominate “You and Me and Everyone We Know”. I’ve only seen 15 minutes of it, but it is in my top 5 of least favorite movies.

    • AWFUL movie but it deserves WMOAT immortality for giving us ))((

    • this movie is the worst. I have good friends who have seen this movie multiple times, loved it, and made me watch it with them. My good friends are no longer…I murdered them.

      Re: Garden State…the whole Quirks = Deep thing is kinda pervasive in the under 35s today. All the quirkiness, irony, detachment, entitlement, etc makes me want to go on anti-depressants.

    • No, you have to watch the rest of it! I totally own that movie. Garden State was horrible, I remember arguing with my younger brother about how crappy it was, but I guess I am too old for the target demographic and who are the Shins? Maybe you are too young to appreciate You and Me and Everyone We Know.. I see it as a commentary on the quiet desperation of adulthood…and also how we should totally watch our kids and quit worrying about our quiet desperation and grow up already if we can only have an emotional connection with a five year old…

    • I could have sworn this had already been reviewed it’s so bad.

  61. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  62. In other words, Gabe and I are best friends since we both hate this movie. Best Friends Gang 4 lyfe!!

  63. “If you like this movie, I’m sure you’re probably still a good person (maybe) and not a TOTAL idiot, but I don’t think we can be best friends.” – Gabe

    Gabe, I freaking hate this movie, so does that mean we are best friends? If no, as a consolation prize, how about friends with benefits at least? Meow!

  64. If Ray Romano and Dax Shepard had a baby, it would be Zach Braff.

    Think about it.

  65. i am disturbed by the high level of natalie portman love happening here. this is THE manicpixiedreamgirl role, guys. second only to this!!!! and it’s not okay!!!!

  66. also, “garden state” and “elizabethtown” are the same movie, can we talk about that?

    except “elizabethtown” is like the poor man’s version, which i actually think makes it better, cos it’s like cameron crowe was all, “dude, if that can make money, so can i!” whereas zach braff was actually having Feelings, which makes it really depressing.

  67. My first words exiting the theater after seeing this movie at the free campus cinema freshman year:

    “Wait, so why didn’t he die in a plane crash?”

    For a brief moment when Zach Braff gets on the plane at the end, my brain flashed back to the turbulence at the beginning of the movie, where he’s sitting all dead-faced, and was like “oh. framing device. that was actually the end, when he dies. good ending.” not the omgbrillianttwist i figure braff thought it to be (m. zach brafalan!), but a solid and fitting ending.

    and then that didn’t happen. huge letdown.

    then again, for the rest of college, i used “zach braff should have died in the end of it” as my quirky alienating icebreaker whenever the movie came up, so pot kettle black, i suppose.

    which reminds me, i also wrote some achingly bad yankee hotel foxtrot fanfiction around the same time, with about the same level of emotional insight. yikes.

  68. I nominate The Romantics, starring Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin and–I kid you not–Josh Duhamel as a hunk with a PhD in English. My sister came over with this on Friday. We made it through about 30 minutes. It’s the most pretentious thing I’ve ever had to sit through, starting with its precious little title cards and beautiful settings and rich white people problems. Ugh.

  69. You made one mistake here, Gabe. *Postal Service* practically invented music.

  70. I have been taking so many Garden States lately, these magazines are getting old.

  71. He’s Zach, he’s wack, get used to it.

  72. I wish to humbly nominate “Vampire’s Kiss”, written by Joseph Minion and starring the one, the only, the Nicholas Cage.

    The reason for my nomination is not to simply have Gabe review this film, but to bring about reactions from the Videogum community, as this film (in my humble view) is genius, yet often panned as being “bullshit” by critics.

    When you first view “Vampire’s Kiss” this is often your reaction:

    It’s hilarious because you know it will not, it cannot work. The storyline is preposterous, the characters are poorly drawn, and Nick Cage is a goddamn lunatic. But somehow, by the end credits, you are on the edge of your seat, sweating, scared out of your motherfucking mind because HOLY SHIT THIS IS CRAZY THERE ARE BATS AND VAMPIRES AND WHAT IS REALITY AND WHAT IS NOT GOD ALMIGHTY.

    Please, I implore you all, if you have not watched this film, do so. Decide: Shit? or Brilliant?

    (all credit to wertrew for format, i basically stole it)

  73. This movie and Amelie are my dealbreakers. I watched them both in one day and wanted to stab myself in the face a lot.

    The ending is probably the worst part, but it’s hard to narrow down one specific example of worst in a whole mess of bad.

  74. The lasting impression this movie made on me was to always close the dishwasher door so no one is horribly paralyzed.

  75. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” – Jesus on growing up and not liking Garden State anymore

  76. “Garden State has an 86% “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[16]”

    Also, this movie CAN’T be worse than Scrubs, can it?!

  77. The ending is probably the worst part, but it’s hard to narrow down one specific example of worst in a whole mess of bad.

    But here the case is just the opposite.Greatest movie scenes of all time.

    http://funnyandspicy.com/the-greatest-movie-scenes-of-all-time-starring-you

  78. Okay, i know one of the rules is no Robin Williams movies, but I would still like to nominate Dead Poets Society for WMOAT. I know that a large number of people believe Robin Williams to be “exactly like my dad” and believe the unorthodox teaching methods employed by him in this movie taught them what English really is all about, but i still find this to be terrible. I watched this movie when i was 14, during which time i was a giant dueshbag who listened to classical music while smoking Menthols and reading poetry and speaking in a fake British accent ALL AT ONCE, so i pretty much assumed this movie was made to cater to me from the synopsis, but even I couldn’t get past how terrible it was. I did not find Williams’s teaching to be hilarious or inspiring, and watched in horror when all the boys started reciting ‘Oh Captain! My Captain!’ in class. I wish i could go back in time and un-watch this movie so i can forget Robin William’s face talking about Carpe Diem, thinking about it now i have already barfed twice while writing this post. Anyway, reading this review of Garden State reminded me mostly of how i feel the same way about GS now though once upon a time when i was the very same dueshbag from before i too enjoyed Garden State and listened to the soundtrack on repeat. But this review also reminded me of how much i hate Dead Poets Society and i thought i’d mention it.

  79. You know what would have improved this movie? Turk.

  80. Just re-watched Reality Bites and…it’s just horrible. Like, it’s not simply bad in a “doesn’t hold up” kind of way. It’s just a tragically lousy movie with awful characters, trite writing, stilted performances, etc.

    Please put in into consideration for WMOAT.

  81. I was working at a video store on 8th street and 6th avenue is NY when this movie’s trailer came out. I remember watching it on the computer in the back office and thinking two things. One: “I can’t believe I’m watching a movie trailer on a computer, the future is truly now” and, two: “This movie is going to be the best”.

    The problem was that the trailer had only the good stuff, edited in a manner to make it seem even better. The famous shirt scene, for instance, was a great still. But then in the movie they explained the joke…. before they told it. The whole movie is like that. The whole fucking movie is “Zach Braff, you’re going to walk into the bathroom, and the shirt you are wearing is going to match the wall”. They took no real risks with their story or characters, and assumed the worst about the audiences ability to comprehend films.

    At least HAPPYTHANKYOUMOREPLEASE is coming soon, and will wash away all of the Garden States and 500 Days of Summer in a giant tidal wave of crap.

  82. whoabig.
    but seriously. i feel like maybe i’m the only one that’s seen this? because the only other explanation is that everyone knows that this is The Worst and are ignoring it out of some sort of unspoken pact. in which case i kinda feel like a spoilsport for ending the hunt by nominating this film.

  83. Whenever I leave my Facebook profile open and my friend Ben goes on my computer, he changes my status update to something related to how much I love Garden State. Then I find out some people I went to high school with really like Garden State.

  84. agreed one of the worst movies in the last 20 years next to 500 days of hipsters

  85. Could we do a best bad movies of all time? Because I just saw The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and it was fucking awesome. Nic Cage’s wavy hair should win every award ever. And it stars Jay Baruchel as Jay Baruchel in “Hey, I’m Jay Baruchel In Some Movie!” Plus the villain is the villain from “Not Without My Daughter.” Oh also I was a little drunk. But it was Ghost Rider + National Treasure + Harry Potter with a little “Hey guys, I’m Jay Baruchel” thrown in.

  86. Who can even LIVE or enjoy anything under the shadow of critique-critiqerson GABE!

  87. Once again, I’d like to nominate Juno.

  88. What about Playing By Heart? Has anybody been campaigned for that piece of crap yet? To be honest, I don’t remember it that well, but it was a go-to movie during late nineties slumber parties. IT definitely ends on a super awks conversation between Angelina Jolie and Ryan Phillippe (I don’t want to spoil the actual wording, but it’s hilarious), and also Jon Stewart “acting.” And also, also, Sean Connery slumming it bigtime. Sean Connery and Jon Stewart in the same terrible movie!! There’s potential here.

  89. I think you should do Hacker, the action-packed cyberspace thrill-ride that launched Angelina Jolie out of obscurity and into the hearts of awkward computer nerds nationwide.

    also: Evan Almighty, even the movie flopped terribly, it was still one of the most expensive comedies ever made ($175 million!), it had a well-like lead actor, and for some reason, Morgan Freeman reprising his role as God in this not-really-a-sequel to Bruce Almighty.

    further: The Blind Side. Because of reasons.

  90. I felt compelled to log in and leave my first ever comment to say what an emotional roller coaster reading this was. I was in 10th grade when this came out and boy oh boy, was it my favorite thing ever. I thought it spoke to me, my friends and I watched it pretty often, and I jumped out of my A.F.I. phase and right in to my Shins phase. I think somewhere between then and now I realized it was terrible, but I never wanted to admit it.
    I was holding on to a little bit of hope when I started reading, “No, c’mon, Garden State isn’t THAT bad”
    but by the end, I knew. It was THAT bad. The only thing I benefited from was listen to better music and removing all my black eye-liner.

    Today is the day I think I became an adult, guys.

  91. I hated this film, because when I came home and was listening to music on my iPod, my family assumed that I must love this film because I owned a lot of the music that was in it. I resented that, because it made it seem like I needed an effing film to pick my music for me. I also resented its attitude about depression since several members of my family suffer with it.

    Plus, I can’t stand Zach Braff; I hated Scrubs (which many of my friends tried to tell was really great), and when I finally did see the film I never made it through to the end, I was bored. This film is the Reality Bites of it day, and I loved Reality Bites right up until I left the theatre and then hated it. I also thought that the lead characters in were totally wrong for each other and annoying all by themselves. Two films that both had great soundtracks and a horrible script.

    For the love of all holy, please include that effing film Australia in the next round. What a piece of shit film, that seemed like it was never going to end. Thank the gods I saw this at home were I could just wonder off when it got to be too much for me. So many good Australian actors wasted in a relentlessly bizarro combination of Rabbit Proof Fence and Strictly Ballroom (I liked both of these films) I’m amazed that there wasn’t singing in parts of it.

  92. Confession time. I’ve seen this movie twice. Once in theaters, and then again when it came out on DVD. I refuse to watch it again. And there’s a very specific reason for that:

    I can’t hate this movie, or Donnie Darko, or (500) Days of Summer, or any self-important, pseudo-intellectual film aimed at teens and young twenty-somethings. Part of being young is that vain notion that the world revolves around your stupid angst. Everything seems like the biggest problem the world has ever faced. And Garden State, from my memory, was aiming for that. Most of us have outgrown that phase so it’s going to seem underdeveloped, or stupid, or whatever. We’re not the 18-19-20 year olds who think The Shins are profound (they really aren’t…) because we haven’t been exposed to a wider range of material. Garden State was my gateway drug to Mike Nichols and Hal Ashby and other “quirky” comedies.

    So I haven’t seen this movie since like maybe 2005 because I don’t want to ruin my memory of it. I know the movie is going to suck now because I’m coming at it from a different perspective. I had the same thing happen to me with Tim Burton’s Batman where it was a pretty serious part of my youth but watching it again left me wondering how that movie was ever a success in spite of all of its problems.

    • You don’t have to feel weird about it, rskva. As much as we all like to agree with each other, this reviews conclusions are far from self-evident. Garden State has an 86% on Rotten Tomatoes (cue everyone mocking me for referencing a populist aggregator), so this is a far cry from the obvious and cloying awfulness that is The Darjeeling Limited and other nonsense that Gabe somehow compares favorably to this movie.

      Even after weeding through the the review’s obvious personal vendettas against Zach Braff and Natalie Portman, the embarrassing misreading of the main character as a successful Hollywood actor (I suppose the opening scene at the chinese restaurant was blocked from memory for being too fake), and the awkward, ongoing defense of Wes Anderson’s biennial trash heaps, you can see that this is a review more about the audience than the material. Don’t take it personally–or maybe do, but don’t take it seriously.

  93. rskva said it right. And it’s the same reason I will never watch Spaceballs again in my life because Pizza the Hut is FUNNY. Everybody thinks it’s funny Everybody thinks it’s great!

    Also, whoever mentioned “The Romantics” is the worst movie ever made I can’t imagine anybody disagreeing, it was written the night before someone’s creative writing high school class share day. I paid 5 dollars to have someone kick me in the groin for two hours and the Hunt will be retribution

  94. Sucker Punch!

  95. This movie was beige. So incredibly beige. And not the soothing beige found on a pair fluffy slippers, but the awful beige slathered on bathroom walls.

  96. In regards to the pills, I was under the impression that he never really needed them. His dad simply put him on them because of the tragedy and they were doing more harm than good. His decision to stop taking them was his way of getting back control of his life. However, him just completely dropping his meds instead of gradually weaning himself off of them was really dumb.

  97. “Here’s the thing: just because you use carefully selected songs to evince a particular mood, if everything else going on is absolute garbage then you are being a lazy fucking liar and I hate you. Which is exactly what this movie does, and worst of all it doesn’t even have the decency to be subtle about it. That whole “Listen to this Shins song, it will change your life” bullshit is exactly that: bullshit. If your girlfriend in real life gives you a mixtape, that is nice. If you find a mixtape on a make believe trash heap, who cares?!”

    Zach Braff picked those songs because he personally liked them. He has said that New Slang is his favorite song. So he used it as a musical icebreaker, what’s wrong with that? Using HIS personal mixtape on HIS personal movie. Not everything has to be all profound and shit. Soundtrack was used perfectly fine.

    “He’s a HOLLYWOOD ACTOR! He can’t handle a stupid house party in his hometown? Give me a break. ”

    I don’t think he seemed nervous or shy at the party, he seemed apathetic. Also, being an actor doesn’t necessarily make you immune to social anxiety.

    “Also: Zach Braff stops taking his Prozac or something because this movie was made in 2004 and apparently people were still talking about Prozac as some kind of “numbing” problem?”

    Some of the drugs listed by the psychiatrist were mood stabilizers like lithium and depakote. Those are given to people who are bipolar and schizo. Those are known to give people a numb, zombie-like feeling.

    “So, a man in knight’s armor gets cereal from the fridge (no he doesn’t). Too much medicine in the cabinet. Motorcycle with sidecar (sure). Diploma on the ceiling (NOPE). Natalie Portman’s foreign exchange student “brother” (eek). Flaming arrows for no fucking reason whatsoever.”

    I have no idea what is wrong with any of this stuff. It’s not probable in real life? The flaming arrows, he’s a bored millionaire who does dumb shit for fun. Diploma on the ceiling pokes fun at people who have an abundance of plaques. yadayada

    “Even here, his inability to swim has nothing to do with storytelling. Clearly, for whatever (very) stupid reason, Zach Braff got it into his head that it would be funny or clever or SOMETHING to have a bunch of people jump into a pool and only have Zach Braff not jump into the pool. So he doesn’t. Because he can’t swim. It’s completely uninteresting and a waste of time.”

    His inability to swim was an indication that he missed out on a lot of “normal kid stuff”. In that way, it serves as a setup to the dialogue in the pool, at the fireplace, and with his dad. And this “waste of time” is like 30 seconds.

    This criticism is as nitpicky as it gets.

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