Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Thoughts from "Garden State"

So we also watched the movie "Garden State" this past weekend. I swear, I must've had like 6 people tell me that I, of all people, HAD to watch this movie. Some of them repeatedly. One coworker mentioned it every time I saw him.

I finally watched it, and yes, it was a good movie and I liked it. But my question is, what must people think of me if this movie reminds them so much of me? For instance, take the first scene. It's a dream sequence of a crashing plane. As the passengers scream and panic, the main character calmly reaches up and adjusts his air vent.

But I guess I can kind of see it. It's a sort of meloncholy movie with sparks of random humorous oddness. Which is a bit like me. Or so I've been told. A college friend once told me, "You're like Tim Burton, with a happy childhood." I see humor in the darkness of life... but then some things aren't to be laughed at. Like this one scene in "Garden State," where they go to bury Natalie Portman's gerbil. Zach Braff begins to make a funny eulogy, but Natalie stops him. "That's not funny," she says, and quietly apologizes to the gerbil for leaving his wheel in his cage, when it was widely known that the said gerbil was not good with the wheel.

The only thing that I didn't like about the movie was that Zach Braff (you know, I never remember character's names, just the actor's) decides to go off his anti-depressants so he can "feel" again, and this is viewed as a liberating good thing. My therapist husband and I both raised our eyebrows and looked at each other. Alarm bells immediately went off in our heads. Ding ding ding! First of all, I hope this movie doesn't inspire bipolars to suddenly stop taking their much-needed lithium. Jason has admitted way too many patients to the psych hospital for this very reason. Second of all, if he was so numb, perhaps he's just on the wrong medication. Although, I will admit that the circumstances of his original medicating were suspect from the onset, AND I have no idea why a psychiatrist would prescribe Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac and Lithium all at the same time. (BUT it's the first time in a movie that I've ever seen referance to the "electric dizzies"-- those weird shock-like sensations-- that you get when stopping anti-depressants.)

Finally, one thing that Zach Braff's character says, that I really liked, was when he finally confronts his father about their estrangement. He says, "You want things to be back to 'happy' again...but I don't remember our family ever being happy. We aren't going to be perfect. Let's just be what we are and imperfect. I think that's better anyway." AMEN to that. Maybe as a survivor/recoverer of codependency this just hit me particularly hard, but I've found it to be so true. Life is so much better when you aren't trying to be something you aren't. When you aren't desperately trying to hold on to a false dream and ideal picture-perfect life. Sometimes it's better to just start over and be where you are and WHAT you are. Then good things can start to happen. God can't use us when we are pretending and clutching to emptiness. We've got to get back down to the dirty ole' us, and then He can start sculpting our lives.

Quite a lot of thoughts from one movie.


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