To the best of my knowledge, I was introduced to “Garden State” while browsing L8wrtr’s list of edits and stumbling across the page for this one, though it was a few years until I actually watched first it and then the recut. Didn’t leave a review then, but suddenly felt in the mood now to revisit and so here we are about two years later. My memories of the differences are therefore a little vague, with the only precise distinctions between it and this re-edit I can clearly remember being the yelling into the abyss and the altered ending, but I can recall enough to appreciate the difference in tone.
I think this edit is a definite enhancement in that respect, L8wrtr certainly achieves the stated aims of greater maturity, and while a few aspects are no doubt dated it feels personal in ways that so many other films try to emulate. For me the sign of a well-told story is having it stick in your mind for a few days after watching and I think this will be the case here. The integration of the new songs sounds seamless and the reinstated footage not standing out too badly, though I think there are a few instances of audio cuts within the first deleted scene that might be done a little more smoothly.
Thanks L8wrtr for not only producing the edit but for introducing me to the source film in the first place, hope that the long-mentioned HD remaster of the edit comes to fruition someday!
The original is very personal to me and is a part of a different me from another time.
When L8wrtr and I started discussing the fact that he was revising this edit and upgrading it and allowed me the honor of creating the art, it didn't even register.
I had completely forgotten that I even watched this movie when it came out. His sentiments about how personal the edit was to him didn't help me remember. Spence's comment that it was his favorite L8wrtr fanedit didn't jog my memory.
It mirrored my life in many ways at that time. I really connected with it. I loved it for a while, jumped up and down waving my arms, screaming about how great it was to anybody who would tolerate me...for quite a while. It had its not great moments but was overall brilliant. However, life happened, as it does, and it just kind of drifted out of my awareness.
One day, several years ago, I was at a thrift store looking at movies while I waited for my friend to finish working out next door. I bought like 12 or more for a few dollars each. Garden State was one of them. I got it because it had Natalie Portman in it. I've been into her since Beautiful Girls which is another character study like this one. Anyway, I didn't remember the movie from before. I never got around to watching it. It ended up in a box that remained unpacked when I moved.
When L8wrtr and I started talking about this edit, I remembered that I had it so I unpacked that box. Found it and a few others that I forgot about. I didn't watch it because I wanted to go into his edit cold. My memory wasn't sparked when I read the back liner or the art that I accumulated to do his cover.
The moment I started watching his edit, I was transported back in time. I have lots of ideas about the edit but I'm going to limit them because he is revising and upgrading. The music choices that L8wrtr made changed the vibe to become an even more intimate (to me) revelation.
I only have one small complaint. I love that he used The Airborne Toxic Event's Sometime Around Midnight in the beginning. I wish that it hadn't died just when it was getting to the build. I think the song could have faded into the background of the party as if it were on a radio. The other music choices were genius and truly added to the ambience that L8wrtr was after.
I love the way the added scenes and excised scenes change the vibe. Especially those in the beginning. It is deeper and more intimate and is a perfect example of how editing can completely change a movie.
I watched the edit twice before watching the original bluray, and I still love the original, however. L8wrtr has definitely created a much more beautiful and soulful tapestry on which Large and Sam and their interpersonal dynamic with all of its character defects, and sad nuances play out. We even shed a tear at the end.
It was as if he reintroduced me to a long lost friend. Watching it took me back to another me and another life. It felt odd because so much has changed in my life. It is amazing that this movie struck a chord with him. So many people wouldn't quite get it. But all of us did.
Anyone not moved by this edit needs to check themselves for a pulse.
This is the first fanedit that feels entirely like an alternate version of a movie to me. I am a huge music fan and one thing I love to hear are alternate takes of songs. They never replace the original, but the best ones stand right alongside the originals on equal footing. That is how I feel about this version of Garden State. If this had been the theatrical release, and the soundtrack release, I believe it would have gotten the same acclaim and the soundtrack would have won a Grammy, as the actual Garden State soundtrack did. The scenes that were added back into the movie worked perfectly for this edit. I can see why they were cut from the other version, and either works. I feel like this is quite a wishy-washy review so far.... Let me say some things about the excellent music choices throughout: I loved every song. It helps that I've owned all these songs for years and I could have compiled the soundtrack myself from my pre-existing record collection, but it was great to hear Saint Agnes and the Burning Train kicking things off and then Aimee Mann and a slew of other great tracks. One of my favorite songs ever has been cut in this version--Only Living Boy In New York by Simon and Garfunkel---and I have to say, I couldn't agree more with you decision L8wrtr. It is an excellent song and I see why Zach Braff chose it, what with the themes of isolation, etc, but it always bothered me that the movie is called Garden State, and New Jersey is the setting and is referred to many many times, and Large flew in from Los Angeles and is headed back to LA, yet here is this song with New York featured so prominently in the lyrics and title. Cutting it was a smart move that I wholeheartedly agree with, but your music choices were smart moves throughout.
As for everything else, I don't know what else to say. It was an excellent alternate viewing experience of a movie I always loved anyway. It was like having a favorite song for years and then a special boxed set comes out containing a different take of that song, with a slightly different rhythm, vocal and phrasing. It doesn't replace the original--nor does it need to. But it sure is fantastic to have. Kind of like all the different versions of songs on the Beatles Anthology sets or getting to hear earlier or later takes of Elvis singing Suspicious Minds in the studio. Sometimes the sincerity comes through more on those unreleased versions and they stand, in my opinion, shoulder to shoulder with the classic released version and I would not want to have to chose only one or the other. I really enjoyed this :-)
This was a great edit. I didn’t care too much for Garden State and haven’t watched it in years. The emotional journey of the story feels more complete now, thanks to the restored scenes and trimming some bits of fat. The editing itself was flawless. And it’s not a SW prequel edit!
Audio/Video Quality – 9
Visual Editing – 10
Audio Editing – 10
Degree of Editing – 7.5 (rounded up to 8)
(NOTE: “Degree of Editing” is a 100% arbitrary rating that I keep in mind when reviewing edits. This is not meant to insinuate that a faneditor is lazy or not. Some fanedits require a lot more work than others and I take this into account.)
Narrative – 9 (original is 8)
Enjoyment – 8 (original is 7)
It has been a while since I watched this, so it is hard for me to compare specifically to the original. I am an indy music nut however, so I do remember the original music well. I wasn’t sure how I would feel with you changing the music, but fortunately l8wrtr you have very good taste in music! At first it threw me off a little, only because I knew all the songs you picked and knew that most of them didn’t come out until a good while after the movie did. The first of these song changups pulled me out of the story for a sec as I reflected on that fact, but it actually really worked well as an alternative soundtrack to the movie. The songs certainly lended a great deal of emotional poignancy to the movie.
I have mixed feels about the opening airplane scene. It didn’t feel quite right to me or connect enough to the rest of the movie or to the end to justify keeping it.
I don’t recall any major technical problems.
So, good job! And thanks for an updated version of a movie that was fun to revisit! 9/10 overall.