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Hi, everyone! Here is a special article for ‘Wish I Was Here’ movie by Spencer. You might remember his first article for ‘CBGB’ back in October 2013. So, be sure to check it out, it’s worth the read!

A little over a year ago, actor/director Zach Braff did something that was (then) revolutionary for Hollywood: he used crowdfunding site Kickstarter to try to fund an upcoming project of his. Braff said he was inspired by the success of Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell’s campaign to raise funds for the Veronica Mars movie. Of course, this move wasn’t without controversy, with many pointing out that an actor who is paid tens of thousands of dollars per episode of a show, or millions for a film, should have the means and/or connections to find funding through traditional channels. However, Braff rebutted by pointing out that outside investors use that money as leverage to make changes to the casting, script, and general direction of the film, compromising the artist’s work and overall intention of the movie.

It was a project that Braff had written, and also planned to star in, direct, and produce – thus making it a very personal cause for him. His passion for the project paid off when he raised the $2 million needed for the project in only three days ($3.1 million in total), and the filming began in August. Aside from Braff, other members of the cast include Kate Hudson, Ashley Greene, Jim Parsons, and Donald Faison.

The film (preview here) tells the story of Aidan Bloom (Braff) who is a 35 year old struggling actor and father of two. His wife Sarah (Hudson) is gradually losing patience with him, his slacker brother’s (Josh Gad) only ambition is to impress a cosplaying hottie (Greene), and his father (Mandy Patinkin) has to stop paying for his children’s private Hebrew school education due to a cancer diagnosis.

Aiden decides to make use of his unemployment and home school his kids rather than put them in public school. Between this new responsibility, his increasingly strained relationship with his wife, and his already strained relationship with his now terminally ill father, Aiden is seemingly headed straight into a midlife crisis, or a breakthrough, depending on how you view it.

Of course, this film has drawn numerous, inevitable comparisons to Braff’s directorial debut Garden State. In 2004, when Garden State was released we lived in an almost entirely different world. There was no social media, Bush was still in office, we were a good four years from the recession, and reality TV was limited to Survivor. Then Braff’s quirky and whimsical style was appreciated and praised. However, among the chief complaints about Wish I Was Here was that it reads as a sequel to Garden State and tries to tread in the same waters, despite being released in a completely different era.

The general reception of the film has been mixed from both critics and fans. While it won’t hit theaters until July 25th, advance screenings at festivals have drawn both praise and criticism. For a film with such lofty ambitions and such a unique point of view, it’s to be expected that everyone won’t be a fan. However, for fans of Braff’s signature sense of humor and whimsy, the film will likely make for an enjoyable experience.

Spencer Blohm is a freelance entertainment, lifestyle, and pop culture blogger for When he’s not busy working on a new article he can be found in his second home, a movie theater. He lives and works in Chicago with his passive aggressive cat.

Posted By Maria    May 23rd, 2014    Comments Off on Wish I Was Here: Mixed Reviews for a Uniquely Different Film

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