You guys, we did it! Zach Braff gets to make Wish I Was Here, his follow-up to Garden State, without those Hollywood suits telling him to compromise his vision! His vision is going to be so great, probably! Or not good at all. The million dollar pitch Braff made to his fans, is like, the worst thing. Super smug and condescending in walking us rubes through the filmmaking process, using the word “tone” 1200 times while itself conveying the tone of a time-share sales pitch with sitcom actor cameos. We knew something like this was coming after Veronica Mars, but we didn’t know how terrible it was going to be. You guys, what if he couldn’t cast that guy from The Big Bang Theory? What if they made him cut the pivotal San Diego Comic Con scene, because they were unaware it’s the biggest fucking mainstream trade show in the American film industry at this point and still considered it “too nerdy” to appear on film? What if he had to dip into his Scrubs syndication residuals???? Don’t say “paradigm,” Zach Braff.
The flaws of his first movie have been detailed at length and a lot, because that’s what the Internet is for. This Videogum takedown from 2011 feels pretty definitive. Salient sentence: “Here’s the thing: just because you use carefully selected songs to evince a particular mood, if everything else going on is absolute garbage then you are being a lazy fucking liar and I hate you.” But even that devastating little splash of acid goes out of its way to give credit to the soundtrack for being effective. Braff definitely gets its huge part in making the movie a success, and one of the main Kickstarter premiums he offers is a sneak peak of the new one. So, what’s gonna be on it??? Let’s speculate wildly!
My first instinct is to say probably not The Shins. That band was so entwined with Garden State as to be included in the movie’s groan-worthy catch phrase, and using them again would be opening him up to extra snark. But, you know, Braff seems like just the sort of corny doof to go right back to the exact same well, so let’s throw in a Shins song. But he’ll need a new Shins, also. Some already big band that still sorta seems underground to Braff, in the same way that dude from The Big Bang Theory is a brave, struggling actor, Comic Con is a counter culture, and he himself is a true auteur. Vampire Weekend? That seems right inititially, but I feel like they are almost too specifically smart, where ZB’s gonna be more of a sucker for vague gravitas? The National? Bingo, give ‘em two songs.
Then we need the pretty well-curated, not-too-obscure old songs for legitimacy and depth. Songs you can’t even get that mad about because they are legitimately good, but are also really on the nose for the whole, emotionally numb actor “finds himself” with the help of precocious kids theme he’s laid out for the movie’s terrible sounding plot. (Struggling actor has to home school his kids, learns how to feel, basically.) This is his “adult” movie, so why do I think a few 80s synth might creep in, weirdly? To signify coke emptiness? Maybe a solo song available on a good licensing deal, that also deals with mental illness in some super overt way? We’re going to need some bland electronic music for moments of deep, motionless face acting (who’s the 2013 equivalent of Zero 7? Is it the xx?). Gonna need some non-elitist new “alt” bands. Some minorly world-music influenced nonsense, probably? Maybe a sensitive folkie duet of a non-folkie song from the biggest in-budget indie-rock people available? An unknown troubadour who will play third-stage Bonnaroo off of this for a few years, and for our purposes I’m just going to make up?
OK, I’m honing in on this….
Wish I Was Here OST, Final Prediction:
01. The National – “Mistaken for Strangers”
02. Van Morrison – “Beside You”
03. Placebo – “Pure Morning”
04. The Shins – “For a Fool”
05. Frightened Rabbit – “My Backwards Walk”
06. Wild Nothing – “Paradise”
07. Jamie Tweezo – “Your Sweater”
08. Lindsay Buckingham – “Go Insane”
09. Poliça – “Dark Star”
10. the xx – “Angels”
11. Major Lazer ft. Ezra Koenig – “Jessica”
12. Paul Simon – “The Mother and Child Reunion”
13. The National – “Terrible Love”
14. Ed Droste & Haim – “Dancing on My Own” (Robyn cover)
Now that we’ve gotten the important part settled, those still curious about how it’s going to look are encouraged to check out Tim Heidecker’s sneak peak.