Have you ever had that moment where a movie, or book, or any other piece of entertainment which you once hated has become the epitome of your life? Well for me, that piece of entertainment is Zach Braff’s opus Garden state.
Many moons ago, many of my peers in high school were enamored by this movie. Here comes this quirky, comedy-drama about the state we live in, and everyone was on board. Who wouldn’t be, after all the soundtrack was subversive, and great, and how often is there a movie about New freakin’ Jersey? Being the person I was back then, I had deemed the movie as a piece of shit.
Fast forward about ten years, and I can’t help but relate to the opening dream sequence. All of New Jersey’s unique quirks, and aesthetics are completely present in the film. (Adults being completely unable to afford housing. Check.) And now, in a strange way, it’s become an entirely relatable experience. These kinds of creations usually make me think the most.
Garden State reminds me of The Catcher In The Rye. Both stories follow characters who are having mental breakdowns. What’s interesting about Catcher In The Rye though, is that if someone relates to Holden, they’re probably in need of a therapist. Unfortunately, what’s even more intriguing is that plenty of people feel that Holden is being whiney, which is a great representation of how most people respond to someone going through a mental breakdown.
With Garden State, the problem is similar, yet the reactions are completely different. Zach Braff’s character, Andrew, is completely misdiagnosed, and thusly overmedicated. Instead of having a mental breakdown, he’s having an odd mental awakening. However, this isn’t any different than a mental breakdown, because his whole life dissolves anyway, and he is stuck being unable to react. Both creations have identical conflicts, except they go in reverse. Interesting ways to look at a mental collapse, no?