July 31, 2004

Garden State

Huh. Dan Drezner is right. This trailer for Zach Braff's film Garden State is addictive and hypnotic. It's as much a music video as it is a movie trailer.

Dan watched it over and over again. I didn't think I would even after I watched it myself. But I do find I'm drawn back to it. The actual movie had better deserve that trailer...

PS - For those who don't think Dan and I are whacked, here's another trailer for the same movie. This one is less cool and hip and hypnotic, but it's also more of a normal trailer and has some actual dialogue in it.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at July 31, 2004 10:35 PM

I totally know where you are coming from on this one, Michael. I saw a preview for it when I went to go see Napoleon Dynamite a while back (a really funny movie, by the way) and I've been dying to see it ever since. I don't know what it is even, I just know I need to see it. I can't quite put my thumb on it. I don't even know what the movie is about. There's simply just something amazing to be said about scenes in which arrows are shot aimlessly into air and gas pump nozzles are sticking out of cars. I wish I understood what it is exactly that compels me so much about this movie. If you have any ideas, let me know.

When does it come out, by the way?

Posted by: Grant McEntire at July 31, 2004 10:59 PM


It has what some people call an "X factor," which by definition is a thing you can't put your finger on. I love X factors.

The Chronicles of Riddick (which is the sequel to Pitch Black) has an X factor for me. It should be a stupid movie for lots of reasons, but to me it is v-e-r-y addictive. I cannot explain why, but I'm definitely buying that DVD.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at July 31, 2004 11:32 PM

Garden State played at the Maui Film festival about a month or so ago. Pretty good. Funny. A bit sad in places. If you are familiar with New Jersey, or at least New Jersey lore you'll get more out of it.

Posted by: spc67 at July 31, 2004 11:41 PM

Thank you for the warning, Mr. Totten. I am glad to avoid anything addicitve and hypnotic at my advanced age.

I heard the call "'ludes, man!" quite often in my youth. I passed by then and shall pass now. But, thank you for going and returning with the warning.

Posted by: Virgil K. Saari at August 1, 2004 02:43 PM


It's not that kind of hypnotic. If you're a brave man, you shall see...

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 1, 2004 03:52 PM

the music that opens the longer trailer is from last year's album by Postal Service out of Seattle. The whole rekkid bulges with the technological gloss versus analog emotions conflict that life throws up.

album is called "Give Up", and was my favourite indicator of 2003, and maybe a signpost of sorts as to where music & people are headed.

Posted by: chico o'farrill at August 1, 2004 05:30 PM

chico, can you explain in more detail what you mean?

Posted by: lindenen at August 1, 2004 08:34 PM


vague expression, vague concept on my part!

the first part of 21st century has turned up a fascinating sub-genre whereby artists familiar with a guitar-based song structure are taking up electronic instrumentation/digital tools.

some of the results (fourtet and manitoba in the UK, Postal Service in USA are three that i particularly enjoy) provide a unique interface. emotional connections in traditionally unemotional soundscapes.

Posted by: chico o'farrill at August 1, 2004 10:42 PM

The teaser trailer music is "Let Go" performed by Frou Frou, from the album Details.

Posted by: Todd at August 2, 2004 10:56 AM


Man, you'd better take a chance on living now... you may not get many more if you're at an advanced age ;-)

Posted by: Ratatosk at August 2, 2004 02:16 PM


I've wanted to go see Chronicles of Riddick for a while now. Haven't done it, though. Pitch Black was just such an effing awesome movie, I'd rather not be disappointed by its big-budget sequel. I'm not going to see it for the very same reason it took me so long to buy Coldplay's second album: Fear of a devestating letdown. This has to be some kind of psychological disorder or something. It's weird, I know.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at August 2, 2004 03:51 PM

Is indulging in the addictive and hypnotic that great a portion of being "alive"?

Do my Arvo Pärt CD's count if I would only listen to them on a more frequent basis and in a more needful way?

Posted by: Virgil K. Saari at August 2, 2004 04:01 PM

Grant... go see Chronicles. It is not the same kind of movie as Pitch... to me Pitch was more of an... can I say it? an Art Film. It was almost entirely a "man against nature" plotline. That movie was kept pure as a result of dumping the characters on a deserted planet. Riddick stood out more for the lack of human foils and antagonists.

Chronicles is a different type of movie... this one is "man against society". Beacause this movie is set on populated planets Riddick doesnt stand out as much. But the acting wasnt any worse than Pitch. Riddick is typicaly bad ass. Although some of the filming was a bit rough... I know they intended the fight scenes to look that way, but my wife got a headache from it.

For me, the "x factor" was difinitely in the sets. As an architecture student I really loved the costumes, buildings, and ships. I believe that it will be worth it to you to see it as there is one more film comming up (maybe two) and Chronicles is key to setting up the next conflict ("man against himself"?). Really, be brave and go see it.

Garden State looks awesome. Zach Braff, in case you didnt know, is the star of TV's Scrubs. My wife and I have been Scrubs fans for a long time now. Braf is a comic genius in the smart way. BTW... you can google an interview with ZB and American Queen here. It should be noted that although Braff stars in Garden State he ends the interview urging people to go see Nat, its her best performance (IHO).

Cheers, Sean

Posted by: sblafremn at August 2, 2004 04:47 PM

Garden State seems to not be getting wide distribution. Yesterday, it was only showing on 9 screens. Total gross was $283,069, as of then.
I tend to look at "Box Office Mojo" every day, now. I've been hooked!


Posted by: Jim Bender at August 2, 2004 06:40 PM


I think it's only in certain select cities right now. Maybe New York and Los Angeles. I heard that that was the way they intended to open it up. I'm still trying to figure out when it'll be everywhere else, though.


Okay, you've about got me sold. When I think of the performance Vin Diesel put in on Pitch Black though, I get a little worried. I put Vin Diesel's performance in that movie and the way he single-handedly made it what it is up there with Arnold Schwarzenneger in Terminator 2. I don't think it's as good a movie, overall, but I can't think of any other examples in which the character/actor literally stole the show like that. Everyone knows who the Terminator is. If there were any justice in the world, after Pitch Black, everyone should have known about Riddick. Let me get to my "big-budget" hangup, though. I loved Men in Black when it came out. Then Men in Black 2 was created and was horrible in every "big-budget-generic" way imaginable, so much so that it kind of even ruined the first movie for me. I don't want that happening, again.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at August 2, 2004 07:30 PM


And I don't really care if Garden State gets wide distribution or not. It's an artsy film, so I wasn't really expecting that anyway. Just so long as it ends up playing at one of two artsy-type theaters in my city, preferably a place I love by the name of "Castleton Arts", I'll be a happy guy.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at August 2, 2004 07:36 PM

Yes, Grant, go see Riddick. I've seen it twice, and intend to see it again in the theater. It is one of my guilty pleasures.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at August 2, 2004 07:55 PM


Experiencing new things are what 'living' is all about. I bet the trailer won't put you through the DT's if you see it just once ;-).

Hell, I'll pay for you bandwidth so the first one is free ;-)


Posted by: Ratatosk at August 3, 2004 08:16 AM
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