This Monday started out with placement tests at my soon-to-be college, which on one hand was PROGRESS!, but on the other hand was math, and the realization that I seem to have forgotten all the math I ever learned in my life beyond elementary school. That said, I’ve had some good music to listen to all day, and, of course, the return of the A-to-Z Cinematic Love Story Series that I look forward to each week.
This week I’ve decided to check in with one of my top 5 favorite movies of all-time for our letter “G“. Garden State is one of those movies I never grow tired of watching, and could repeat view multiple times in an afternoon. The soundtrack is one of my favorites, too.
Is one of your top 5 movies a love story or “romantic comedy“?
Garden State (2004)
Written & Directed by Zach Braff
“That’s life. If nothing else, its life. It’s real, and sometimes it fuckin’ hurts, but it’s sort of all we have.” ~ Sam
Garden State is one of those movies that I never saw in the theater, and actually saw much later than many people I know who are fans of similar movies that I love. It is one of those movies that I’d always meant to have seen, but somehow kept putting it off. When I finally saw it my first words were “where has this movie been all my life?!?!?!” The movie quickly became one of my top 5 favorites, a movie that I would return to especially when I have felt depressed or overly emotional. I vividly remember watching it three times in a row the day after I returned from a trip to the UK. I was jet-legged and sad, and it was the only thing that felt right to do.
Everything about Garden State, the pain of living, the feelings that go on when you are grieving and starting over and waking up, the relationship between Andrew and Sam, the connecting force of music, the never-ending search for meaning, the complicated dynamics of family and home, mental and emotional issues, and love, they all just get to me in that deep and personal kind of way. It is an amazing movie, layered with so much of everything, including some brilliant performances.
The infinite abyss
I love the relationship between Sam and Andrew, how much they grow and change, teach each other, and heal each other, in such a short span of time. I love how real their love feels, flawed and raw and wonderful. This movie gives me hope and that kind of comfort that none of us are alone in this world.
There are moments within the movie that bring me to a mess of ugly tears, the kind that are hard to breathe through, and leave me sobbing. There are also moments that make me laugh loudly and fill me with joy. These are two flawed people who have been struggling with different emotional and mental issues that have kept them from certain things in life, love being one of them. Watching these two people find each other, open each other up, and fall in love is so meaningful to me.
What makes us different, our unique moments (like Sam’s above) are what help us get through the hardest days in life. The scene above always reminds me to be fiercely myself, and to find things to laugh about every day.
“You gotta hear this one song, it will change your life.”
The scene above always reminds me how important music is to me. How bonding and healing, and self-defining music is, and how a song, or a bunch of songs, can change your life. Love, laughter and music, they are what makes life worth living.
“What do we do?”
The ending kills me. It rips me apart and leaves me in a state of messy tears like I mentioned before. It hits on airport goodbyes I’ve dealt with in my life, and times spent wishing someone would come to stop me at the airport, tell me they love me, that they want to try to make it all work. The scene also makes my heart soar, and makes me want to believe that things like love are possible.