Acclaimed actor, director, screenwriter and producer Zach Braff has an unquenchable thirst for cinema. While he is arguably best known for his role as J.D. on the comedy television series Scrubs, Braff has long been a student of finer arts of arthouse cinema.
Braff, while scooping in the acclaim for his performance on the commercially successful comedy series, has always been a major champion of those filmmakers ploughing away within indie cinema. “They put all this money into these huge films and then no one goes to see them,” Braff once said. “That sort of shows they’re out of touch. Then everyone in town passes on my little movie and it does really well,” he added.
Keeping this ethos close to his heart, Braff famously made his directorial debut in 2004 with his film Garden State, collecting a high profile cast which included the likes of Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Ian Holm and himself. With positive reviews, the film turned its modest $2.5million budget into a commercial success, earning a cult following in the process.
Remembering some of the past films that have had an impact on his vision, Braff sat own with the good people of the Criterion Collection to pick his top 10 pictures. As with many of the top 10 lists created in conjunction with the Criterion, Braff has opted to include the great Stanley Kubrick. In a slight left-field move, however, the actor chose Dr. Strangelove, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, the 1964 film which satirises the years of a nuclear conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States. “Well, I mean, come on,” Braff explained in his choice. “This is a masterpiece.”
He continued: “I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said by many people way smarter than me, but it set a very high bar for brilliant satire, acting, cinematography, production design, everything.”
When speaking about Todd Haynes’ 1995 picture Safe, Braff said: “I’ve never seen anything like this movie. It’s so sad and lonesome. The way it brilliantly captures despair and loneliness was an inspiration for Garden State.“
He added: “Julianne Moore is incomparably good in this.”
Braff, opting to blend the classics with a more contemporary sprinkling, included the likes of Wes Anderson, Mick Nochols, Ang Lee and more in his top 10 films on the Criterion Collection.
See the full list, below.
Zach Braff’s Top 10 films on the Criterion Collection:
- Harold and Maude – Hal Ashby, 1971.
- Rushmore – Wes Anderson, 1998.
- Dr. Strangelove – Stanley Kubrick, 1964.
- Badlands – Terrence Malick, 1973.
- Being John Malkovich – Spike Jonze, 1999.
- Brazil – Terry Gilliam, 1985.
- Safe – Todd Haynes, 1995.
- The Last Picture Show – Peter Bogdanovich, 1971.
- The Graduate – Mike Nichols, 1967.
- The Ice Storm – Ang Lee, 1997.
Source: Criterion Collection