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Zach Braff Is Bullying His Fans with Sentimentality

The millionaire has a new film and he wants you to pay for it.
May 2, 2013, 7:00am

Zach Braff trying to look sincere as he begs for your money in his Kickstarter video

Let's face it, New Jersey has taken a bit of a battering from TV and cinema. If the The Sopranos and Jersey Shore are anything to go by, it's basically a state full of mob bosses having existential crises and squawking slabs of orange flesh who now spend their time DJing at parties for the worst people in the world. But as bad as it was to see a bunch of guidos pound Jäger, pound their fists and pound Snooki in the face, it was nothing compared to Garden State, a film about some dude who was bummed after killing his mum with a dishwasher or something. The film served as a love letter to loneliness, self-realisation and The Shins. And it also had Method Man in it for a bit. But more importantly, it was a self-written love letter to Braff himself, a man intent on defining himself as the voice of sensitive, thought-provoking cinema. As successful as Garden State was, anyone who managed to live past the age of 15 could no longer believe the tale of the man who somehow managed to ditch Prozac for Portman, and soon the phrase "come at me, bro" was resonating from the Garden State far louder than "New Slang". It may be for this reason that Braff has decided to put himself back on the map by announcing his new project Wish I Was Here (see what he did there?), a film that will be funded by Kickstarter (a move which he has already been forced to publicly defend). Before I discuss the potential problems of Braff electing to use this method of investment, I’ll break down his pitch: What Is Wish I Was Here?
Hollywood moneymen kindly offered Zach a shit-heap of cash to make Wish I Was Here. This obvious asshole move was rejected by Braff, who was all like, "No way, I’ve got too much integrity, you fat cats." But don’t worry, the man whose career is built upon playing the guy the kid from The Wonder Years grew up to be decided to take money from fans instead – hence Kickstarter. Although only a handful of Zach’s fans have an internationally syndicated TV show like him, and there can't be more than a dozen Scrubs-obsessed sheikhs out there, he’s confident the rest will cough up whatever money their shitty job pays them once they know the plot.

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What Is the Plot of Wish I Was Here?
In an ambitious move away from Garden State, Zach plays Aidan, a struggling actor like the one he played in Garden State. But hold on – this time he’s older, with a family. Unable to find work, Aidan can no longer afford to send his kids to private school, and he doesn’t want to subject them to the local comp because it is full of poor people and minorities. He therefore elects to home-school them using his own curriculum. Zany, Rudolph Steiner-style hijinks presumably ensue, and "Aidan gradually discovers some of the parts of himself he couldn’t find". Sounds like a winner. What Will Kickstarter Investors Be Paying for?
Naturally, you’ll pay for Aidan discovering the parts of himself he couldn't find. But then you’ll also pay for a soundtrack full of American indie bands you saw in a small tent at Reading 2006. If that doesn’t almost certainly change your life, or if you won’t pay to have your life changed, then fuck you. You don't deserve to fund this movie.

Oh, you’ll also pay to prolong the career of a guy called Colin, who holds the semantics-rejecting title "Pre-Visualization Artist". I have no idea what that position might entail, but I guess if you’ve ever wanted to "pre-visualise" something, then simply try not to think at all.

The entry for the soundtrack section of the Wish I Was Here Kickstarter page. It's just a screengrab though, so if you wanna hear Zach Braff doing a "fairly decent beat-box", you'll have to click here. What Will I Get Apart from a Film About Zach Braff Discovering Parts of Himself He Couldn't Find and a Pre-Visualization Artist Called Colin?
The rewards for donating range from a PDF of the screenplay being emailed to you for $10 – this task will probably get some kid in LA a quality week interning for Zach’s company, so don’t hate – right up to a line in the film. This would have cost you $10,000 but they have all already been taken. Sorry. In season 7 of Scrubs, Zach was paid $350,000 an episode. But that doesn't mean he's going to pay for anyone who's bought a line in his shitty film's accommodation or travel. Oh, and you won't be an "investor" in the film, merely a "donator" – so if it goes on to make a shit-ton of money, you won't see any kind of a return.

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However, if you want to donate $40, you will get a limited edition Wish I Was Here tee that’s as "soft as a kitten’s taint". For only $40, your clothes can feel like the small patch of skin between a cat’s arse and its genitals.

None of This Sounds Very Appealing to Me. What's Really Going On Here?
Do you remember Natalie Portman’s life-affirming character in Garden State? Of course you do, how could you forget, she was perhaps the quirkiest square in Zach’s patchwork quilt of comedy quirks. She was so life-affirming that it's unlikely you've ever felt as alive as you did when you first watched that film, and so adorable she made Zooey Deschanel look like Countess Bathory, or Zach’s accountant, and he’s got to be a pretty serious guy considering he manages a fortune exceeding $20 million. And this is the crux: No matter how zany Zach is or how many references he makes to kittens' perineums, it doesn’t disguise the fact that he’s exploiting the kind of person mawkish enough to actually relate to the twee shit that’s made him a multi-millionaire. And that’s just fucking mean.

Oh, and it also worked really, really well. At the time of writing, he's already raised $2.275m with another 22 funding days remaining. Well done, world, you just let Zach Braff bully your money out of you using only the power of sentimentality. Follow Jack on Twitter: @JackBlocker

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