5. Garden State Soundtrack
“This will Change Your Life” is the phrase that Natalie Portman’s character Sam says to Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff) in Braff’s directorial debut Garden State. She then gives him a pair of headphones playing New Slang by The Shins. The soundtrack has become the source of insult amongst most people. They call it a hipster album or a Pitchfork Mix Tape. Despite the fact the soundtrack is now a punchline to most people or a go to reference when mocking pretentious people everyone owned this soundtrack at some point.
Say what you will about this soundtrack the fact is that Zach Braff crafted a perfect collection of songs all which define the tone and themes of the movie perfectly. What’s most impressive to me is that the songs works so well that you almost can’t imagine the songs existing independently from each other any longer. Much like the Clerks Soundtrack earlier on this list, the songs compliment it’s corresponding moment in the film so well that you can visualize the scenes as you listen.
It seems funny to break down the individual songs so this will be pretty sure write up. I will talk about when this soundtrack became crucial for me. Garden State instantly became one of my favorite movies the second I saw it, but I didn’t get into the soundtrack until the DVD came out.
I started college in the Fall of 2004. That summer I saw Garden state and Napoleon Dynamite back to back in the theaters. I fell in love with both films and immediately pre-ordered the DVDs. The DVD for Garden State came out the week before my winter break. I had never had a college break before, I had become so accustomed to winter break being one week long that a whole month was insane to me.
I won’t get into it the details but immediately before my winter break occurred I had my first major heartbreak. Based on the fact this girl was friends with all of my college friends and my high school friends only had a week of winter break, I spent most of that month alone at home. For some reason I ended up watching Garden State over and over again. It was at this time the songs started to become part of my every day life. I listened to the soundtrack day in and day out, I learned every song on guitar and played it for anyone who’d listen.
The soundtrack was constructed by Zach Braff who hand picked the songs while writing the script. Based on how awesome and varied this soundtrack more films should be scored like this.