Kickstarter is ostensibly a funding service for underexposed entrepreneurs who need a larger platform to convince the world of their idea’s brilliance, so that the market can take its natural process. What it’s becoming, or what it’s already become, is a publicity stage for already established names to capitalize on their fame in order to suck away money from other, smaller projects, and subconsciously set themselves on some dual track alongside “authenticity,” because what says DIY and “doing things the right way” more than letting the people fund your career?
The Veronica Mars movie Kickstarter, in which a long-deceased cult TV show drew millions of dollars from fans desperate to see one last adventure, was the apex of this phenomena. The Garden State sequel might be the nadir. Today, Zach Braff launched a Kickstarter for Wish I Was Here, a movie he describes in the introduction trailer as a spiritual sequel to the movie that rocketed him toward twee infamy. The idea’s been kicking around in his head for years, but he’s been having a hard time finding a financier who didn’t demand final cut so that much needed cameos from Chris Hardwick and scenes at Comic Con involving a cosplay-furry (the people who dress up like comic book characters, the people who dress up like anthropomorphic animals) romance could exist without some snobby studio executive saying, “Eh, maybe not?” He’s asking for $2,000,000 and was up to $280,000 last I saw; the money keeps going up. “I want to bring you, my fans, the truest representation of what ends up in my brain,” he pleads us with winsome sincerity. “Please help me make another movie for you like Garden State with no compromises. I promise I’ll put everything I have into it and won’t let you down.”
What sets this apart from Garden State? This one is about your 30s, not your 20s; the moment when being white and cute turns into being just white. That type of racial reduction is one I don’t like to make, but there’s something numbing about how readily Braff generalizes his experience—this is about your 30s, not his 30s; your 20s, not his 20s. (A similar thing happened with Judd Apatow’s This is 40, which is about how miserable it is to live in a Los Angeles mansion with a beautiful family that loves you.) Obviously, it goes without saying that people of all races, countries, and socioeconomic classes have different experiences in their 30s—this is simply the one most identifiable with the people who have disposable income to burn on another Shins soundtrack. For $10,000, you can be a cast member! For $8,000, you can watch an early cut and advise Zach on what you think did and didn’t work! (More Shins? Less Shins)
And so forth and so forth. Obviously, it’s Braff’s right to make this movie, and it’s a testament to how much Garden State is cherished that he’ll probably eclipse the minimum donation request by the end of the week. But maybe it’s alright to let dead things stay dead; for perfect endings to stay unwritten, for attention to turn toward new endeavors rather than endlessly reflect on where we used to be and what might’ve been. $2 million is a lot of money to go back in time.