Braff a miracle worker

I’m not sure how he did it, but Zach Braff has parlayed a few television appearances in the late nineties into a starring role on “Scrubs” and his own feature film, “Garden State,” which he wrote and directed. Braff is pretty good on “Scrubs” but I think the writers (along with John C. McGinley) are the real stars of that series.

The thing that gets me is that someone is convinced that Braff’s characters are worthy of leading ladies like Heather Graham, Mandy Moore and, in “Garden State,” Natalie Portman. Braff is not a handsome man. Watching him woo these lovely ladies is testing the limits of my ability to suspend disbelief.

I recently watched “Garden State” for the second time and, while Braff did a reasonably good job with the story and directing, his acting was quite flat. I realize that his character is supposedly off his meds for the first time in years, but even that would make his character a little livlier.

Despite this, I would say that I moderately enjoyed the movie until the final scenes, where Braff and Portman declare their love for one another in the airport. I can’t believe this schmuck would even consider leaving a beauty like Portman to “sort things out” back in L.A.. The ending, especially the acting, is so incredulous that it basically ruins the movie for me.

But kudos to Braff for fulfilling his dream. I am impressed by his accomplishment (writing and directing your own feature is no small feat) but I am befuddled by its existence.


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DVD shuffle: 02/28/06

New on DVD this week:

1) Walk the Line – BUY: The Johnny Cash biopic isn’t the greatest film of the year, but it’s certainly worth owning. The award-winning performances by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon are more than enough reason to watch the movie more than once, but Fox has also slapped together a nice collection of special features. A word to the wise: save yourself the trouble and pick up the two-disc version.

2) The Ice Harvest – RENT: Director Harold Ramis is probably best known for his wacky comedies (like “Caddyshack,” “Stripes” and “Groundhog Day”), but his latest feature – a mix between that very style of humor and film noir – is a little different. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check it out, but it’s certainly his darkest material to date.

3) Pride & Prejudice – RENT: Don’t get me wrong; I hate everything Jane Austen just as much as the next guy, but the latest film adaptation of the classic novel is just good enough to squeeze it’s way into the “rent” category. Your female friends will love it, and you’ll looking at Keira Knightley. Enjoy.

Also out this week is “Yours, Mine and Ours,” the Disney film “Lady & the Tramp,” and special edition releases of “Network” and “Dog Day Afternoon.”


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Michael Douglas: Greed not so good, after all

Turns out greed is only good when you’re chewing up scenery in an Oscar-winning performance. When you’re a company that misleads famous cradle-robbing actors into thinking they are promoting educational videos when in actuality you plan to use the footage to shill for infomercials, however… greed is very, very bad.


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If you strip for her, she won’t strip for you

There was a time when I enjoyed looking at Tyra Banks like any other dude. Notice I said looking at. Ever since her leap to TV stardom on “America’s Next Top Model” and “The Tyra Banks Show,” I can’t enjoy this woman anymore. Every time she opens her mouth, it’s just a reason to quickly change the channel. Fans of her talk show, though, will be thrilled to know that Tyra recently became a stripper for one of the show’s upcoming episodes. Of course, she’s not giving it all up as she has to keep her modicum of dignity that she always bandies about. Sez Tyra,

“When I found out the majority of business is from males from married homes, I wanted to go inside the minds of the men who frequent these clubs. I wanted to see and hear why they went. And the only way to do that was to go undercover and see for myself.”

I can tell you why they go. A)They love naked women. B)They love boobies. C)They’re dudes!

Honestly, I’ve never been to a strip club myself, probably because at the time my pals were going to them, I was still living down in TN and the clubs down there…oh my. I like my gals to have all their teeth.


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24 Hour 10: I just tried to kill President Yuri, I’m going to Disneyland!

Okay, Dada fans, I know it’s “Dizz Knee Land,” no need to harass me.

It’s a pity I’ve already deleted tonight’s episode from my DVR, because when Novick and the President are discussing the pros and cons of changing the route of the Russian president’s motorcade, I would swear that Logan, in his most manic fit of indecision yet, literally clucks like a chicken. “Should we alert the Secret Service?” Novick asks him. “Yes! No! Wait! Buck Buck Brawwwwwk!” Logan stammers, even though his decision to allow the Warlock to bomb the motorcade means that he’s sending his wife to her grave. I would love to know of one president who has ever dreamt of doing such a thing. Well, besides Clinton, that is.

Even funnier is that he wasn’t even the episode’s biggest wacko. Samwise Gamgee locked up Buchanan last week, and this week he fires Sandra Bullock (IT drone Carrie, who’s a dead ringer for Miss “Speed”) for, well, doing her job. He then yells, loudly and nonstop, at Audrey, Chloe, Curtis and Edgar when they try to alert him to the possibility that, hello, the Russian president’s motorcade is about to get attacked. Curtis finally loses patience with how Samwise is running CTU into the ground, and invokes Section 112 (mental incapacity, blah blah blah). And even that isn’t enough to shut Samwise up, who orders the guards to shoot Curtis, the field agent. The guards, knowing exactly how a gunfight with Curtis is going to go down, say, “What would you like us to do, Mr. Curtis?” Smart men, those guards. Buchanan is back in charge, but Samwise is not done by any means, you can bet on it.

I totally want to play Texas Holdem with Marty Logan. She bluffs in the limo at first when Chicken Little calls her and demands that she tell the Suvarovs that she has to get out of the car to attend to some other matters. But after a while, when they continue to drive, she totally plays her hand, knocking on the glass and asking Agent Aaron Pierce, the human Labrador retriever, if there have been any changes to the schedule. Agent Pierce assures her that everything’s fine, but you can bet your sweet bippy that moment of unguarded terror did not escape her Russian “friends”. Expect the Russian president to declare the treaty null and void before too long, and that is what frustrates me the most. Logan should have known – and if it escaped his grasp, Novick should have at least brought it up – that if the Russian president is killed on American soil, the Russians will declare war on the United States. Try explaining that to the American public. “Sorry, guys, I thought that if I allowed the Ruskie vodka swilling atheist to get whacked, I could save some American lives. My bad.” There is just no way of dressing the truth up in that one.

One very telling moment about who the show’s most important characters really are: when the Suvarov’s car took the hit with the missile, Buffybot and I said, “Oh, no, Aaron!” That’s right, we weren’t at all concerned about the First Lady, who in Hour 1 was our favorite character on the show. But you can’t kill the dog, damn it. The producers of “24” clearly know how well loved Pierce is, because Old Yeller then goes on to waste all of the baddies by himself (curious that they only had one missile to launch at the car). How sad it will be, then, when Old Yeller commits some other heroic act in order to defend the people he loves, only to become rabid and force his “family” to put him down.

All this, and I still haven’t mentioned Robocop’s introduction as Christopher Henderson, a former CTU bigwig and current link to the nerve gas. Uncanny, isn’t it, that his instincts haven’t left him at all when his secretary has to unexpectedly leave her post (he waits behind his door and zaps Jack the second he walks in) and he instantly comes up with a way to kill Jack out of sight. As soon as I heard the word “bunker,” I thought, “Bunker not good. Jack die.” Well, anyone but Jack and Keith Richards, anyway.

For those who don’t watch the scenes for next week, for God’s sake, stop reading now! Okay, are we all here? Good. Kim finally comes back, even though IMDb thinks she’s been in nearly every episode this season, and it appears that Tony wakes up from his brush with death. My question is: where is that canister of gas released? They imply that it’s in CTU, but this is Fox, people. When they would advertise “Melrose Place,” they’d say, “One of these characters will die,” when what they meant was, “One of these characters will dye…their hair another color.” You can never, ever take their sneak previews at face value.


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