March 3rd, 2004

me blue hair

American Splendor

Wow. Shannon and I watched American Splendor on DVD tonight, and it knocked my socks off. Seriously. I am no longer wearing socks. Well, okay, I wasn't wearing socks before watching the movie, either, but that is neither here nor there.

Point is: FABULOUS movie! For those who are unfamiliar with it, it's about a real-life person named Harvey Pekar, Cleveland file clerk and comic book author. He has been writing a comic book (called, unsurprisingly, American Splendor) about his life and experiences for the past 30 years or so (I can't remember exactly when he started), always with a sort of dark humor lurking beneath.

Anyway, the film is amazing, very different from any other film I can ever remember seeing. It repeatedly breaks the fourth wall, mixing the film's mainstream-style portrayal of the man's life and adventures in publishing a comic book with stuff like interviews with the real Harvey Pekar, sporadic narration by the real Harvey Pekar, bits of the actor-portrayed Harvey Pekar speaking directly to the audience in a comic book setting, etc.

But it isn't the (admittedly very interesting) creativity of the format that fully seduced me. It was the truth of it all, the emotional honesty, the blunt reality of life. I found the first 15-20 minutes dull, because it was so much like real life, but the film gradually grew into something more than that: a sort of portrait of a life, from various perspectives.

Ironic, that a film based on a comic book should be the most real film I've seen in recent memory.
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