One of the things I would like to do over the summer is highlight films that can help you become better filmmakers and storytellers. Periodically, I will be sitting down to watch some films and take some notes and share some thoughts with you. I will try my best to do so spoiler free (you know how I feel about spoilers) but I encourage you all to try and track down and watch as many of these films as you can. Hopefully you will find them inspiring from a production/storytelling standpoint, but if not, at the very least maybe they will expand your horizons on what is possible in film. Plus as aspiring filmmakers there is never a thing as watching too many movies. Keep in mind that one, these will not be in depth reviews of the films; I would obviously try not to talk about a poor film. The goal is to showcase a film that has learning potential, or encourages motivation to study existing work in an effort to motivate you to think differently about your own work. Secondly, I may be discussing films that are rated R or feature mature content. Naturally, I don't condone a majority of the content deemed worthy of a "R" rating. Since many of you have discussed with me in some level the recent film "The Wolf of Wall Street," I'm using that as my barometer. Now, onward!
For my first entry, I have chosen the film Garden State.
Garden State: Written and Directed by Zach Braff
Starring: Zach Braff, Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Ian Holm
Released: August 20th, 2004
First, let me tell you why I've selected it.
I was driving today, and heard a song on the radio that typically does not get radio play. I knew I recognized it but it took a few seconds to realize where. It was from the movie Garden State. Instantly I was reminded how much I enjoyed that film. Then, as that instant passed, I remembered a lot of film students (in college) talk about how overrated it was, and how it was this dressed up pretentious film. So I decided to re-watch it. Interesting fact, they were wrong.
If you do watch, or have seen it in the past, get a discussion going in the comments. I'd love to hear your thoughts or answer your questions on story elements or shooting techniques. Side note, this movie has one of the best soundtracks to come along. Coldplay, The Shins, Nick Drake, Iron & Wine and more, every song here fits the tone of the films so well. Give it a listen.
It's Mr. Leonard. Teacher, Videomaker, Professional Goofball