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September 09, 2003
american splendor

have you seen crumb? i saw crumb. i didn't like crumb. i should have known better than to go see american splendor. admittedly, it was less disgusting than crumb, but it was still kind of boring.

yes. boring. i was bored by american splendor. there's nothing really bad about it. nor is it a terrible movie. it's just very slow. and boring.

there's a lot of comic strip simulated visuals where the camera pans and there's cuts and various frames. that's all cool. there's been a definite rise in that in films lately what with all the comic-made-movies. but i don't feel it's gotten old quite yet.

in particular there was this scene where harvey pekar (the actor one not the real one) is giving this soliloquy about phone books and the other harvey pekars who come and go in it while he questions his own individuality/self which i thought was both well written and visually impressive.

i also like how much of an integral role the real harvey pekar played in this movie. he did some voiceover narrator work but then they also did kind of interview scenes and behind the scenes work. there was this one funny part where real harvey and the real toby (his co-worker/friend) are discussing jelly bellies and toby (who is a little giovanni) eats a chocolate one. and the actors playing harvey and toby in the background sitting in set chairs are kind of giggling. well paul giametti (who plays harvey) is chortling. guy playing toby was busy taking off his sweater vest i think.

i'm curious if people who are really into american splendor the comics enjoyed this movie. since i've never read one i have no basis for judgment. i think they would like it, but am not sure and cannot make the broad generalization. ah well, onwards and upwards.

Posted by michele at September 09, 2003 11:31 PM

I liked Crumb but I didn't really like Splendor mainly because, as you said, it's boring. Actually, the parts with the real Harvey Pekar are pretty good, and the archival footage of him on Letterman are pretty entertaining, too. So I wondered, why not just make a straight documentary about Harvey Pekar? With the guy who plays Toby, you just assume it's this terrible fake-retard performance, until you see the real Toby, but even then, the real-Toby footage is way better, especially the MTV segment.

It makes you aware you're watching actors, I guess, which for me just made me care less when Paul Giamatti was pretending to be lonely, or have cancer.

But mostly, it's bad because nothing happens, and the director just assumes the audience will be so charmed by the real people and his cleverness at depitcing Pekar in multiple ways that there need be no plot.

Posted by: sean on September 10, 2003 01:32 PM

ha ha! i forgot about the MTV part with toby. shit that was good. your point about the third wall thing is good. cause yeah, why should we watch actors when the originals are right there being better.

Posted by: michele on September 10, 2003 02:48 PM

and that is my argument against the magdalene sisters too. because if i want to watch women being horribly and implausibly abused, i will just go abuse some.

Posted by: didofoot on September 10, 2003 02:59 PM

it wasn't implausible.

but hey, that's the spirit. let's get some flechettes. maybe we should read those again.

Posted by: michele on September 10, 2003 03:06 PM

"the girls are all naked and two nuns are playing a game to pick out who has the biggest/smallest breasts/ass and hairiest pubic area"


Posted by: didofoot on September 10, 2003 03:42 PM