Not a 'bad' movie, but having lived in Pittsburgh, the images reminded me of
that and were quite depressing. The poverty, bleakness, deranged people all
around, were all too real. If you have any doubts about how realistic that
was portrayed, please don't.
Kind of an oddball film both in cinemagraphic style and content. It showed
an under-told story of part of Americana, the underground comic scene. Or
in this case, what motivates those comicbook writers. They say artistic
expression is sometimes borne from misery and that seemed to be true in
Harvey's life. (Or as Letterman put it, "If misery loves company, then this
man must have a house full of people!"). The trouble is, his life never got
much better! It will appeal to some, although it was depressing to the end
junwellbundang watch And When Did You Last See Your Father? movie
good movie and fun.
junwellbundang watch Sugarhouse movie
fantastic and good.
An offbeat movie about an offbeat kind of man
This is really a great film about Harvey Pekar, the underground comic
book writer who created the comic book series "American Splendor". I'm
surprised this movie hasn't garnered more critical attention than it
has. The movie basically takes you from the end of Harvey's second
marriage up to the point of his retirement as a file clerk. Pekar is
living a life of quiet desperation - everything in his life is generic.
The film lends a dingy quality to Pekar's surroundings that really
gives it that "garage sale" look right down to the light fixtures in
his apartment. Even the supermarkets and restaurants Harvey frequent
make K-mart look classy. Unlike his friends and coworkers though, he is
painfully aware of the reality of his life. He has a moment of clarity
one day while waiting in line at the grocery store behind a woman who
is arguing over why she should pay 1.50 for six glasses that are marked
two dollars, when he thinks of a way to strike out at all of this - he
decides to document his feelings in a comic. Unfortunately, Harvey
can't draw. He comes up with the narrative, but is only able to show
stick figures as the actual characters in the drawings. Harvey's big
break is that he has become friends with underground comic Robert Crumb
before Crumb was famous and the two were just a couple of "ordinary"
guys looking for bargains at Cleveland rummage sales. Crumb is
impressed with the statement Harvey is trying to make and agrees to do
the illustrations, thus the comic "American Splendor" is born.
To me, the best part of this movie is the love story between Harvey and
his third wife Joyce. These two people are just weird enough to make it
work. What makes it work is that they have staked out their own
individual claims to different enough territories in the land of weird
that their respective neuroses don't bump into one another too badly,
as had happened in Harvey's past marriages. Harvey is a man who has
very un-mundane statements to make about his mundane world, but doesn't
have any real illusions about changing it. Joyce is a self-diagnosed
depressed anemic who has memorized the DSM 3 and is therefore happy to
diagnose people with personality disorders and then pretty much takes
them as she finds them, in spite of her claims of being a reformer.
Because neither one wants to change the other, the relationship works.
The film is really cleverly done, with comic book illustrations showing
what Pekar is thinking in various situations along with narration and a
couple of interviews with the actual Pekar and his wife interspersed
throughout the film giving it a real feeling of authenticity. Paul
Giamatti is simply marvelous as the caustic "warts and more" Harvey
Pekar. How often do you see an actor share the screen with the person
he is playing, as happens in this film, and not even notice a blip in
continuity? His performance is that good. Giamatti certainly deserves
better than playing supporting roles in films like "Big Fat Liar".
Kudos also to James Urbaniak for his small role as artist and
illustrator Robert Crumb. For the small amount of time he is on the
screen he really captures the essence of the guy..