Jun 23 2007

American Splendor

Published by at 8:39 am under Entertainment

So perusing through HBO’s ondemand has me running across American Splendor. I’ve been wanting to watch this movie for a looong time. The movie is based on real life comic book author,  Harvey Pekar. It’s a story about his struggles in life and his imprint on pop culture.

The movie is interestingly done and isn’t typical cinematic style. It was done trying to carry the comic book theme through out the movie with comic book style taglines to help the story along. The strangest thing about the movie, though, was the 3 personas of Pekar that are represented. There is the onscreen, acted character of him, a cartoon alter ego version that pops in on occasion and Harvey himself narrates the movie himself as well as having cut scenes where he describes things.

One would think that all that would cause a choppy feel to the movie, but I didn’t get that. It actually gave the movie more of a documentary feel to the movie. For me that was a selling point since I like documentaries. I found out about American Splendor from a documentary about Robert Crumb. That movie is genius in it’s own right, but I won’t get into that here.

One of the greatest things about the film is the characters portrayed in the film. The characters are over the top and seem cartoonish in nature. You think, man, they must have done that to emphasize the comic book aspect with the movie, but then they show the real life versions of the characters and you get hit with “wow, the real live people are even more cartoonish than the onscreen representations of them!!” The actors did do a tremendous job of capturing the personalities of all the characters in the movie and I was impressed with the representation of Crumb in the movie. All around a good job with the characters.

You don’t even have to like or enjoy comic books to enjoy this movie, but it certainly adds an extra element if you do. The movie allows for the same appeal that the American Splendor comic book had. You find amusement in the trials and tribulations of Pekar’s every day life all the while being entertaining with the likable and eccentric characters in the movie. If you have a chance to see this not well circulated film, I recommend it. It isn’t a movie for the main stream, but if you are reading this site, then you would likely enjoy it.

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3 responses so far

3 Responses to “American Splendor”

  1. Short-Stacked Shamuson 23 Jun 2007 at 10:34 pm

    Thanks for that review, MacAnthony. I read and enjoyed Pekar/Crumb back in the 80s, and remember seeing Pekar on David Letterman a couple of times. Always appreciated that peculiar-yet-familiar POV on life of Pekar’s. Have also been meaning to check this one out.

    (I also agree that Crumb is a prize, too.)

  2. Gadzooks64on 24 Jun 2007 at 9:50 pm

    tl;dr

    But, I did think enough of you to post this comment.

    Now, back to my vacation as soon as I clean out my reader. :)

  3. Anthonyon 25 Jun 2007 at 3:25 pm

    Saw you had some vacation pictures posted. I was gonna check them out, but tm;dl (too many; didn’t look)…

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