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Show Me, Don't Tell Me

I had a kind of blah reaction to Garden State which a number of my friends loved. But I haven't quite been able to articulate why until I saw Gene Healy nail it:

But worst of all was the filmmaker's insistence on spelling everything out for you. Every moment of character growth had to be accompanied by an articulated play-by-play. "I just had an epiphany. Let me ruin it by describing it to you in Deepak Chopra style detail." Dustin Hoffman didn't lumber around the set of the Graduate declaiming "you know what, I'm not interested in plastics! And, what's more, I think your offer of a job in plastics underscores that what conventional bourgeois life offers these days is utterly alienating!"
That plays into the less well-articulated complaint I share with Kriston -- the film's reliance on the soundtrack not as an integrated element of the whole but as a crutch. Instead of making a movie that was actually unconventional or challenging in some way, a lot of indie rock was pasted on as if to say "how cool! how unconventional!" In fact what you had was an above-average job of photographing a fairly banal film. The music signalled cred instead of being part of a film that actually provided it. Igby Goes Down was, I think, a far superior product that dealt with much of the same thematic raw material.

September 18, 2004 | Permalink

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» garden state sucks? from the leftorium.com
Show Me, Don't Tell Me | Matthew Iglesias I'm sure I could cite many different people on the actual quality of this movie. Read an interesting take on Garden State above. I really don't know why I haven't seen it... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 19, 2004 10:35:58 AM

» The Search For Cred from Pandagon
There are two types of people in this world: Those who liked Garden State, and those who didn't. Matthew Yglesias, unfortunately, did not, and is upset that such a banal piece of work smeared indie rock by association: the film's... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 19, 2004 11:45:11 AM

» Garbage State from The Columbia-Union
Garden State is an utterly overrated, market-driven movie that compares unfavorably to the films it copies--er, pays tribute to--such as Harold [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 19, 2004 2:16:37 PM

» Garbage State from The Columbia-Union
Garden State is an utterly overrated, market-driven movie that compares unfavorably to the films it copies--er, pays tribute to--such as Harold [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 19, 2004 2:20:40 PM

» Garbage State from The Columbia-Union
Garden State is an utterly overrated, market-driven movie that compares unfavorably to the films it copies--er, pays tribute to--such as Harold [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 19, 2004 2:38:42 PM

» Garden State of mind from Mostly Muppet Dot Com
Jenn and I saw Garden State last night and loved it so much that we immediately went to Borders and bought the soundtrack album. I was predisposed to loving this film, given the facts that I love Zach Braff on... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 20, 2004 10:06:11 AM

» Garden State of mind from Mostly Muppet Dot Com
Jenn and I saw Garden State last night and loved it so much that we immediately went to Borders and bought the soundtrack album. I was predisposed to loving this film, given the facts that I love Zach Braff on... [Read More]

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