When she said she didn't like Garden State I was crushed. I wanted so badly to be Zach Braff but much more viscerally I wanted her to be Natalie Portman. We awkwardly sat, making sure our knees didn't graze, in what the entire city decided to call "the cheap theater" - I had very high hopes. This would be the perfect way to win her back. I had to win her back. However, by the time Method Man showed up I could see from the corner of my eye - I lost her. The movie lost her. Zach Braff ruins relationships.
I have always liked romatic movies and I'm not ashamed of that. If films are escapism and a break from reality, why wouldn't I go to place where the guy gets the girl? I want to go to there. And what about a place where the "weird" guy gets the girl? Thank you Zach Braff. That afternoon during Garden State I wanted to go to there so hard.
High school relationships are, well - hilarious. Our relationship was also hilarious. We dated for a couple years, then had our "mutually agreed upon break". During which I saw the trailer for Garden State. Seemed like something I could cry about. I was really into doing that those days. So I went alone.
Going to movies alone is one of the greatest things I ever discovered in high school, sex is second but honestly it does not even come close. As much as I like sitting in a dark theater with someone there is something so freeing about being on your own schedule, deciding what YOU want to see and simply saying “One please”. It’s the best. I did just that. "One Please" four times.
I went on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, Tuesday after school and the next Friday. After the fourth viewing I invited a friend along. It's like when you hear a really great song. You can't keep it to yourself, you need to force someone to listen to it and watch their reaction. Poor Joe Beck during his first viewing of the movie had to deal with me watching him watch the movie. This was my fifth time. Why? It gave me hope I guess. Maybe love is real and maybe I can have that. Maybe Natalie Portman will like me. Maybe I can have Ian Holm as my Dad. Maybe I can have a hairline that isn't retreating to the back of my skull. MAYBE!
What I didn't account for was what this movie looks like from the girl's perspective. I had seen a love story. My ex-girlfriend saw something else. She saw Zach Braff taking advantage of a girl who was stunted in her growth into adulthood. For her the movie wasn't about Zach Braff and Natalie Portman falling in love or about Zach Braff "figuring it out". It was about Zach Braff using this girl as an excuse to be okay. An object. Oh, she was wrong but we get what we want out of movies. We can't change that. I wanted everything to be okay, she wanted me to stop using her as a validation of being okay.
The movie ended and we went away to our separate cars. I listened to the Garden State Soundtrack on the way home and probably cried. I bought the movie on DVD a couple months later and probably cried. I tried again to get back together later that year with The Notebook. She didn't like that movie either.