Actors: Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, James Urbaniak, Harvey Pekar
|Review Summary and Plot Commentary about American Splendor|
|American Splendor open with a short scene in 1950 where Batman, Robin and Superman surround Harvey. However the rest of the movie is in 1970s and 1980s depicting Harvey life and how his comic book started. The movie also shows his battle with cancer.
Harvey Parker is a Cleveland native, VA hospital clerk, who is grumpy about life. He is a comic book writer and writes about life but an obsessive-compulsive collector and a lousy housekeeper. He is an average Joe who pursues self-expression without self-censorship. During the course of movie he behaves like a prickly poet who knows all about world, yet cant save a guy from choosing a wrong super market checkout line.
--Tanvir Orakzai, Resident Scholar
|Harvey Pekar is an intelligent and well read but largely uneducated guy who works as a file clerk at a VA Hospital in Cleveland. Early in the 1960s, he hangs out with aspiring comics artist R. Crumb. Through two failed marriages, Harvey collects old jazz records and comic books, and wonders what to do with his life. Finally, in 1975, inspired by American naturalist writers like Dreiser, he considers writing down the details of his mundane, working-class life with no frills or sentiment. Mildly intrigued, Crumb -- now a famed underground comics artist -- agrees to illustrate Pekar's story. Then other artists try it, and Pekar becomes an underground cult favorite (though never making enough money to give up his dreary day job peopled by various eccentrics). Joyce Brabner, the co-owner of a comics store in Delaware, writes to Harvey, and an oddball soul-mate romance develops between the two quirky, often depressed individuals. Pekar becomes a favorite on the David Letterman show until he rebels and has an on-air meltdown. Then cancer strikes. This utterly true story is refreshingly told with the help of comic art (drawings melt into live action and vice versa), comic dialogue balloons inside live action scenes, footage from Pekar's actual appearances on Letterman, the real Pekar and Brabner and other folks in their lives talking to the filmmakers on a false set, and many other creative and imaginative techniques. Giamatti and Davis are utterly terrific as the dorky and neurotic but nevertheless endearing couple. Surely one of the most innovative and just plain best films of 2003, "American Splendor" is an odd, funny, and touching revelation.
--David Loftus, Resident Scholar
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|Analysis of American Splendor|
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Ratings are on a 1-10 scale (Low to High)
Time/era of movie:
Inner struggle or disability
- (General) search for meaning/identity
If a cartoon...
- part real, part animated
- blue collar
Is this an ordinary person caught up in events?
- brunette (Brown)
- brunette (Black)
- (man) bald
- (man) short/standard curly
- (man) average
- (man) fat
- Slightly see-through clothes
Events of movie makes character more...
- White (American)
How sensitive is this character?
- sensitive to others' feelings
- middling sensitive to others' feelings
Sense of humor?
- Strong but gentle sense of humor
- Mostly serious with occasional humor
- Smarter than most other characters
- average physique
- healthy but a geeky weakling
Secondary Main Character
- brunette (Black)
- (woman) medium/shoulderlgn straight
- (woman) very skinny
How much in movie?
- White (American)
- general circumstances
- dirty, grimy (like New York)
Accounts of torture and death?
- no torture/death
Movie makes you feel...
Sex/nudity in movie?
What kind of sex:
- vague references only
- Occasional swearing
If soundtrack VERY NOTICEABLE...
Is this movie based on a
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).