Paul Giamatti, Harvey Pekar, Hope Davis, James Urbaniak, Judah Freilander and
Written by: Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
Directed by: Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini
& Robert Tell Us About "Getting it Made"Order
speaking? American Splendor is brilliantly unique, superbly acted and deliciously
deceptive in its simplicity. It manages to smoothly be part documentary, part
pop culture expose, part dark comedy and part drama all while maintaining its
integrity as a film. It's a creative masterpiece quite frankly. I hope all aspiring
film makers watch and take notes.
Regular Joe and Clevlandite Harvey Pekar was immortalized in a comic book called
'American Splendor'. Actually the 'America Splendor' comic was more of an anti-comic
book since it prided itself on a grand lack of super heroes, pompanstance or inhuman
powers. It was simply (yet sublimely geniusly) just about scribbled observations
a lower middle-class schmoe living his life sent off to illustrators.
what made it so special was Pekar's intelligence and his ability to keep his interpretations
blunt, often self-deprecating, and always honestly realistic in portraying the
beauty within the mundane (and sometimes it was just stupid too). With his unique
beatnikish style combined with friend cartoonists like Robert Crumb ('Fritz The
Cat' & 'Mr. Natural') illustrating the man and his words, Pekar became something
of a reluctant cantankerous cult hero.
film, like the comic book, is also unique. There are three versions of Pekar in
the film; we get the real life Harvey Pekar helping narrate sections ala documentary
and showing beneath the snarls lies a decent - dare I say - nice guy. Then we
get a few cartooned interpretations of the man in pop-out animation sequences
that bleed in and out of the script. And finally, intertwined into all this there's
fantabulous talent extravaganza Paul Giamatti with an uncanny portrayal of Harvey
for the screenplay version.
Harvey's deadpan sense of humor and the inner
volitile angst that often bubbles over in abrupt awkward proclamations
on life is positively personified in Giamatti's stellar subtly comedic performance.
And the chemistry between Giamatti and the screen version of Pekar wife and business
partner Joyce Brabner, played by always-a-thespian-treat Hope Davis is so
wonderful you'd swear there's ancient Egyptian soul swapping serums involved...
whole cast is incredible. James Urbaniak shows up as Crumb and oozes creepy, looking
like a love child of Conan O'Brien and say...Crispin Glover? And Judah Freilander
nails the "film" version of Pekar's quirky friend Toby Radloff. Radloff
himself also shows up to chat in the docmentary segments. Real talents playing
real people. Marvelous.
It's the medium of film working for its manipulators in the finest sense.
recommendation: A kosher turkey frank and a shasta coke.
a delightful collection of Mr. Pekar's observations...
Splendor: The Life and Times of Harvey Pekar
Commentary with Directors and Cast
Format: Color, Closed-captioned, Widescreen,
Not for sale to persons under age 18.
Sundance Channe's "Anatomy of a Scene"
Only Track : American Splendor Song
"My Movie Year" 6 page Comic Insert That Appeared in "Entertainment
ROM Features including Screen Saver