Welcome to the Film Club! I’ll be sharing reviews of some of the films that I love, and hopefully get a discussion going on what makes a film great! To start with – Wish I Was Here, written & directed by Zach Braff.
Wish I Was Here was funded through a Kickstarter campaign run by Zach Braff. Within 48 hours they hit their target, which initially recieved a lot of backlash from the media who questioned why Braff couldn’t get this film funded the “proper way”. Braff said:
“After I saw the incredible way “Veronica Mars” fans rallied around Kristen Bell and her show’s creator Rob Thomas, I couldn’t help but think (like I’m sure so many other independent filmmakers did) maybe there is a new way to finance smaller, personal films that didn’t involve signing away all your artistic control.”
Not only does crowd funding help keep the control in the hands of the creator, but the project helped lift awareness for Kickstarter in general.
“I felt that a lot of the criticism was unfair and uninformed. It was frustrating have the debate with people who didn’t have all the analytics and facts. I knew that we were driving new people to Kickstarter who then invested in other projects, for example.”
All in all, it was an interesting experiment, and it resulted in what I am sure will be a cult classic in the future.
Wish I Was Here
Zach Braff plays a struggling actor, Aiden Bloom, who relies on his dad to financially support his children’s education. He’s a sarcastic and cynical creative who has lost his faith, with a wife and matriarch (Kate Hudson) who supports his dreams at the expense of her own. Despite his passion for acting, Aiden spends his time auditioning for roles he doesn’t get, and daydreams of himself in a space superhero costume. The alpha to his beta you could say.
In classic Zach Braff style, the soundtrack could be as much a sequel to the indie-folk dreaminess of Garden State as the film narrative is. (You can listen to the soundtrack at the bottom of this blog post, remember to follow the playlist to make it easier to access on your own Spotify account!) Which makes you think, is this story Garden State 10 years down the line? Yes, it is. With the same existential view on life, and a perfect balance of laughter and tears, Wish I Was Here has the potential to touch minds and hearts just as much as the cult classic Garden State did.
The modern world has changed how we live life, but it’s also changed our perspective on what is possible. Now, we dream about our creative calling, rather than how we will pay the bills. But failure can have a profound effect on how you approach life, and Wish I Was Here explores the internal battle between what we know is expected of us, and the pursuit of our true calling. It’s a story of a creative, sensitive man, trying to balance the expectations that come with adulthood, with the desire to make his dreams come true, and essentially find happiness.
There’s a lot more at play outside of what we can control, and these moments are the catalysts that push us on the path to change our lives. After Aiden’s father, played by the deep and wise Mandy Patinkin, falls ill, Aiden begins to re-examine his life, career and family.
Life doesn’t always work out the way you think it will, and as Aiden’s dad tells him “We move forward, that’s the only direction God gave us”. No matter how lost you are, time keeps moving forward, everyone around you keeps moving forward, and in time you will find your way.
With laughs, even in the darkest moments, Wish I Was Here is a must-watch if you’re in the mood for some contemplation. It’s a film that gets you thinking, and may be the inspiration you need if you’re struggling to find your ‘purpose’, or are feeling guilty about pursuing your dreams. It also has yet another amazing soundtrack, but what more could you expect from a Zach Braff special? You can listen to it below.
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