Thursday, August 26, 2004

Without A Garden State Paddle

I took in a double feature today. Actually I just saw two movies in a row but I'm calling it a double feature because. Fyi, and not 'cause you care, the most movies I ever saw in a 24-hour period is 5. I was in Edinburgh at the time. Don't ask. There really isn't a story to accompany that punchline. Onwards!!!

Garden State Smells Better Than The Garden State

Although that's not a very difficult feat. Garden State is written by, directed by and stars Zach Braff. You may recognize him as the main character of NBC's comedy Scrubs. (I love that show.) His main co-star is Natalie Portman although Peter Sarsgaard and Ian Holm are there too.

IMDB Plot Summary:
Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) is a struggling Los Angeles actor living in a zombified state due to anti-depressants and his icy family (Ian Holm), who reside back in New Jersey. When news comes to Largeman that his disabled mother has drowned, he returns to his home state for the funeral, reconnecting with his mostly deadbeat friends (including Peter Sarsgaard) along the way. Experiencing his first weekend of a chemical-free life since he was a child, Largeman stumbles into the world of Sam (Natalie Portman), a young epileptic, who helps Largeman confront his feelings toward his family and himself.
I really enoyed this movie. It's difficult to "classify" but I would call (am calling) it a dark romantic comedy. It's probably funnier than it should be since it deals with some fairly dark, weighty topics but that only serves to lighten the mood from the otherwise suicide-inducing sense. Well, most of the movie isn't dark, really, but the story twists into that jet-black region with unfamiliar abruptness. Can you tell it's hard to describe?

Anyways, I really liked it. The mix of off-beat moments, comedy and romance intrigued me. After seeing Garden State, I'm anxious to see the next movie Zach Braff writes. By the way, the comedic elements reminded me of the humor in Scrubs. Not that off-the-cuff style but certainly the same off-beat, odd inclinations.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: DVD-Worthy if you like the darkness (which I do).

ADDENDUM: I forgot to include my favorite phrase for describing this movie - existential angst. That's probably the best two-word summary there is.


Without a Paddle is Without a Clue

Without a Paddle stars Seth Green, Matthew Lillard and Dex Shephard as 3 friends trekking through the wilderness. Burt Reynolds makes a cameo appearance along with a bear named Bart.

The IMDB Plot Summary:
The plot is simple. A Goonies-esque trip to find the "lost treasure" reportedly left behind by the infamous D.B. Cooper while overcoming a number of obstacles along the way.
Yeah, you can tell this is a complex movie rife with numerous intriguing plot twists. Right. All in all, this isn't a bad movie if you go in knowing it won't be a good one. Five years from now, this is not going to stand out as one of the great comedies a la Mike Myers' Austin Powers or Old School. I saw this movie because I'm a fan of Seth Green (Buffy's Oz, Austin Powers' Scott Evil) and Matthew Lillard (Hackers, Scream, Summer Catch, Thir13en Ghosts, Scooby-Doo). To be honest, it was a nice, light, fluffy comedy with absolutely no redeeming value as a movie.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Cable-Worthy or Matinee/Rental-Worthy if you're willing to shell out the dough.