American Splendor

{5/5} “Man, she’s got good lookin’ handwritin’.”

Harvey Pekar is a file clerk who likes jazz and comics. After his friend Bob Crumb becomes a comic book writer and illustrator, Harvey decides to try it himself. He can’t draw, but Bob and others illustrate his stories for him. Harvey’s comics have no superheroes — they’re based on real life. He isn’t able to quit his day job but he does make a name for himself in the world of underground comics. After he exchanges letters with a fan, Joyce, he invites her to come visit him.

American Splendor was released in 2003. It’s based on a comic book, which is based on a true story. The story of the movie is occasionally interrupted with the real Harvey Pekar on screen.

This movie is absolutely fascinating. It’s about Harvey’s life as a gloomy person, his friends, and his breaking into the comic business. As Harvey observes, “Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.”

I looked Harvey up, and he has died since the movie was made.

The music is catchy jazz.

Paul Giamatti (Win Win) plays Harvey and is, of course, perfect for the role. Hope Davis (Arlington Road) plays Joyce — she’s always great, but here she gets to play a delightfully quirky character.

The movie was directed by writing and directing partners Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (The Nanny Diaries).

This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 at 9:01 pm and is filed under Reviews of movies. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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