With only the plan of moving in together after high school, two unusually devious friends seek direction in life. As a mere gag, they respond to a man's newspaper ad for a date, only to find it will greatly complicate their lives.
Starting from childhood attempts at illustration, the protagonist pursues his true obsession to art school. But as he learns how the art world really works, he finds that he must adapt his vision to the reality that confronts him.
Harvey Pekar is file clerk at the local VA hospital. His interactions with his co-workers offer some relief from the monotony, and their discussions encompass everything from music to the decline of American culture to new flavors of jellybeans and life itself. At home, Harvey fills his days with reading, writing and listening to jazz. His apartment is filled with thousands of books and LPs, and he regularly scours Cleveland's thrift stores and garage sales for more, savoring the rare joy of a 25-cent find. It is at one of these junk sales that Harvey meets Robert Crumb, a greeting card artist and music enthusiast. When, years later, Crumb finds international success for his underground comics, the idea that comic books can be a valid art form for adults inspires Harvey to write his own brand of comic book. An admirer of naturalist writers like Theodore Dreiser, Harvey makes his American Splendor a truthful, unsentimental record of his working-class life, a warts-and-all self portrait...Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The circumstances of the Pekars adopting Danielle were fabricated for the film. Among other things, Frank Stack (the artist who helped Joyce put together "Our Cancer Year") is not Danielle's biological father. See more »
[looking at himself in the mirror]
Well, there's a reliable disappointment.
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Biography of the first "Reality Comic Book" author.
There is not a movie with better acting that was made in 2003. This is what kept my wife and I glued to the television until well past midnight, when we should have been asleep.
This film is a biography of the real-life comic book writer (not illustrator) Harvey Pekar. Harvey is from Cleveland and early on befriends a man who eventually "strikes it big" in the comic book illustration business. After more than 10 years in a go-nowhere career as a hospital file clerk, Harvey decides that he will do the same, and finds that while he cannot draw, he can at least write stories about his life and observations that his friend can Illustrate quite amazingly and which together are published as the comic, "American Splendor."
Harvey is really a manic depressive person with a sardonic wit and a really banal life. On the other hand, his comics must be pretty great because he is a guest on the David Letterman show at least 3 times and actual footage from these appearances is included in the movie.
In many ways this is like a classic movie from Mainland China (e.g. "Xiu-Xiu, the sent-down girl", "raise the red lantern", etc.), although this movie is true. My wife, from Hong Kong, says that most Chinese movies follow a very elementary plot line :
Do you think your life Sucks? It could SUCK THIS MUCH !!!
And people watching a standard Chinese Movie are supposed to leave the theater uplifted because their lives do not suck as much as the lives they have just seen on the moviescreen.
I can say that this is probably the same type of movie, and this is the redeeming part of the Comic Cook, although I've never seen it. However, the movie was written with a great deal of creativity and there are also several humorous moments, and there are also several animations from Harvey's comics that take up acting space in the movie, which makes the movie absolutely positively something you've never seen before, and its worth seeing because although the overall story is rather depressing, the writing and acting and visual graphics are rather brilliant in this fine film. Furthermore, the courtship between Harvey and his wife is pretty interesting, and the way in which they are able to resolve their differences over having children is truly surprising.
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