Garden State (here there be unboxed spoilers)

(sorry if this’s been done - searched and didn’t see a thread from before).

So, I finally broke down and saw this last night. Some of my friends swear it is by far the best movie ever. I thought it was pretty decent - better than most sappy, unrealistic, meaningless romantic movies I’ve been subjected to, but not excellent.

I did think that they perfectly, perfectly nailed the feeling of a Jewish funeral (though I was just waiting for a cut to a close-shot of a deli platter!)

I also think that they did a decent job of capturing the ‘feeling’ of New Jersey (though it probably works for suburbia everywhere) - with the scenery, the juxtaposition of the one guy’s mother’s shack, the other guy’s mansion, etc.

Some of the cinematography, I think, was excellent, some really nice shots. Does anyone know if the airport scenes were actually filmed at the Newark airport? It looked like it could’ve been.

My problem, though, was with the end. I guess I didn’t quite ‘get’ what made that day so valuable for him: they went to a hardware store, they went to a creepy-as-hell hotel backroom thing, they went to a guy who lived in a boat in a gorge. I was left going, “And…?”

Also, then, at the end, I couldn’t help but think: “Okay, so he’s wasting a few hundred on his plane ticket? And he’s just going to leave all his stuff in LA, and…move back in with his father, or something?” I didn’t think the stereotypical Hollywod romantic ending really worked in such a more-realistic movie.

The odd thing is, everyone I know who’s seen this movie either thinks it was the best movie ever, or absolutely hideous. Anyone else in-between?

I liked it a lot, but found it had a couple of moments that went clank rather than ringing true, like the guy-in-the-boat scene. So I suppose I’m in the middle.

I think the airport scenes were shot at JFK (maybe LaGuardia), not Newark but definitely in the neighborhood.

Abandoning LA didn’t ring wrong to me, FWIW. You saw his apartment there in the beginning - it didn’t look someone lived there, just like he was staying there for a day or two. He had a sucky waiting job and no obvious acting prospects, so it didn’t look like he’d be leaving much behind.

And I love the soundtrack. The first album in years I actually bought new, so I wouldn’t have to wait six months for it to be available used for cheaper.

I was “meh” about this movie. I hated the plot–it was too trite IMO, especially the end. Some of the jokes were too cheesy, like the Aldous Huxtable one; I could tell they were going for funny, but it just fell flat.

Natalie Portman’s tears at the end always make me cry like a baby.

I really liked the composition of a lot of scenes; it made for a very beautiful movie. I did think the whole tap-dancing-in-front-of-the-fire thing was really cheesy.

For me, this movie was straddling the line between good and cheesy, and I still don’t know exactly how I feel about it.

There was a thread on it just a few days ago. I killed that one; hope I don’t do the same here.

I seem to remember that the airport scene was shot at JFK International from listening to the commentary track.

And the journey at the end was so that Mark could return the necklace he stole from Large’s mother’s corpse. If you rememeber, during the Aldous Huxtable scene, they showed him graverobbing and Large saw him doing it. If he did it becuase he had been found out or if he really did want Large to get his mother’s necklace back because “it will do more for [him] than for her” is debatable but that’s the reasoning behind it, as well as the journey itself, since he finally found himself and embraced the spontaneity that he was always afraid of before.

It’s my favorite movie.

I saw it a couple weeks back. I knew nothing about it going in and really didn’t have any expectations.

I could see what it was about, and found it sort of interesting, but not particulary moving. Many of the “moving” moments fell flat.

Though I will admit that for some reason, Portman’s character bugged the hell out of me, so I kept thinking how I would have walked away after about 5 minutes of her wierdness.

I agree with this - the waiting room of a doctors office is not the place to hit on anyone. Creepy.

My primary response to this movie is that I worship Natalie Portman almost beyond belief. It’s hard to actually objectively view the movie past that, but I thought it was quite good. I think.

Hated it – too quirky-for-its-own-sake, overly mannered, with clunky dialogue and acting (esp. Portman’s). Worst of all, it just was not compelling, with long stretches that were really boring.

For a better offbeat character ensemble melodrama in which a struggling young man returns home (and feels conflicted about doing so), and which is also grounded in an off-the-beaten-path locale, and features a good performance by Natalie Portman, try Beautiful Girls. A superior movie, though hardly perfect (“Sweet Caroline”? No, no, no!).