Ten years ago, actor Zach Braff, best known for his role in the TV show Scrubs, made his feature film directorial debut with Garden State. The film premiered at The Sundance Film Festival and confirmed that Braff was indeed a bonafide filmmaker. His film was a voice for the twenty-somethings experiencing their own existential crisis and reminded an older generation of their twenty-something landmark coming-of-age story, The Graduate. But it was his soundtrack that stole the show and made him a Grammy winning Composition Producer, winning Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture. Braff created the ultimate indie playlist.
Sure, you knew Simon & Garfunkel, Coldplay and Nick Drake but you probably didn't know much about Iron & Wine, Frou Frou, or Remy Zero. Even "Blue Eyes" singer Cary Brothers told the folks at Buzzfeed that he was surprised at the instant success of the soundtrack.
It changed things completely for me within two or three months. It was this whirlwind where I went from being excited to see my name on a CD to having international attention and starting my own record label.I was playing open mics and he was waiting tables and he was always talking about this movie that he was gonna write and direct one day. We were both in this crew of people who would hang out at venues and see shows together and I remember going to see Remy Zero at Viper Room and Colin Hay at Largo. Zach was really smart about putting his feelers out to get as much music for the film as he possibly could.
Sophie Barker, a collaborator with electronic duo Zero 7 was just as happy and surprised when their song "In the Waiting Line" became an instant hit.
I was at a stage, before anything had really taken off with Zero 7, where I was really struggling financially and artistically to get my music out there. I couldn't tell you what made him [Braff] choose it for the film, but I'd like to think he picked up on some of that youthful innocence and longing... To this day, I have people write to me all the time saying how much 'Waiting Line' meant to them at a difficult time in their life.
But perhaps the most talked about and bittersweet story to evolve as a result of the film's success was regarding the song "New Slang" from The Shins. Natalie Portman delivered what has become one of the most quoted lines of the film, when she introduced the song that would ironically, change the band's lives too.
The Shins lead singer-songwriter, James Mercer and his bandmates experienced mega-fame and ultimately went their separate ways after years of attempting to release another successful album or single with as much weight and popularity as "New Slang". The song became forever associated with Natalie's Sam handing Zach's Andrew oversized headphones and telling him the song would change his life. Which for Zach Braff, it did.
10 years after Braff's successful debut, his second feature, Wish I Was Here premiered at The 2014 Sundance Film Festival and was accompanied by another 'your new favorite music' soundtrack...including songs from The Shins and a nod to the line - "This pamphlet will save your life".
Celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Garden State by watching it on hulu today and take our poll to tell us your favorite GS song - or the song that 'changed your life'.