10 Years of “Beauty In The Breakdown”

I read a lot of articles about Garden State this week, which is fitting because it’s the 10th Anniversary of Garden State’s release and also the release of Wish I Was Here, Zach Braff’s new movie.

Garden State

I haven’t watched Garden State in a while, and I haven’t listened to it’s soundtrack in slightly less time than that, but I just think it’s worth commenting on that it’s been 10 years since that movie came out and that it’s become this sort of weird butt of the joke, at least according to all these internet writers I’ve been reading.

Which is strange to me, because I really loved Garden State.

Like, loved it, loved it.

You have to understand how omnipresent it was in my life that summer, the summer that I was 16. Everyone was going to see it, everyone was listening to the soundtrack. (Although the soundtrack of that summer, to me, will always be Give Up by The Postal Service, but there’s a thematic similarity there…) We were all blown away that Natalie Portman was actually, like, good in this, and not, you know, Padme. It was the guy from Scrubs but he was being sad, not silly. It was a summer of away messages that looked something like this:

*~*Let go, there’s beauty in the breakdown*~*

I’m not saying any of this is like, defensible, but it’s the same thing that attracts people to books like Perks of Being A Wallflower. When you’re 16, you desperately, desperately, want people to think that you’re deep, and you might be. But you also desperately, desperately want people to think that you’re interesting, and there’s a very good chance that you simply aren’t. So, the idea of standing on the edge of a gorge in the rain and screaming into the abyss will resonate with you, because that’s what your entire life feels like, sometimes, you know?

So you sit in a Fridays parking lot with your best friends and listen to The Shins and talk about that movie and how it just gets you, man. And your feelings, and you dance in the rain and think that you’re outsiders, when in fact, you are wealthy white kids from the Northern New Jersey suburbs who so musicals and have way too many feelings.

Way too many. I’m embarrassed by how many feelings I had back then.

But like I said, I haven’t watched the movie in a while. Certainly not since college, and definitely I don’t want to watch it now that I’m of an age with most of the main characters. No thank you. I have a feeling that the listless dissatisfaction of Andrew and Co. would hit a little too close to home these days and not in the hazy romantic way it did when I was 16, more in the “What the hell am I doing with my life? Am I this annoying? AHHHHH!” kind of way.

I try to avoid that feeling as much as possible, but of course I do watch Girls, so I put myself through that for about 10 weeks a year…do there’s that.

No I like to remember Garden State as the 16 year old girl who loved it so much.

I love to listen to a song and let it change my life.


One thought on “10 Years of “Beauty In The Breakdown”

  1. Excellent piece! I kind of hate Garden State but I was 21 when it was released so I was already too jaded to not let it piss me off! I completely understand everything you like about it though and how its nostalgic for you 🙂


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