American Splendor (2003)

DVD Cover (HBO Studios)
Genres / Traits: Biopic (Feature), Comedy Drama, Marriage Drama, Dark Horse Comics
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Shari Springer Berman Shari Springer Berman
Robert Pulcini Robert Pulcini
Chris Ambrose Chris Ambrose
Joey Krajcar Joey Krajcar
Josh Hutcherson Josh Hutcherson
Cameron Carter Cameron Carter
Daniel Tay Daniel Tay

6.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Christopher
Added: June 29, 2004
It's another comic-to-film flick, there's definitely been no shortage of these for the last five years. Thankfully this wasn't a beefed-up super hero movie with nothing but CGI monsters running around everywhere. American Splendor is Harvey Pekar, an average guy writing comics about the things he (among most of the world) has to deal with on a daily basis. Such as waiting behind old jewish ladies in the grocery store checkout lane, working a dead end job, having troubles with women, and just having trouble with life. As if that wasn't bad enough, he had to deal with all this since the 70's.

The begining of the film starts out with him losing his girlfriend because of his voice. His voice is fading away due to him yelling so much. Oddly enough, it comes and goes through out the movie. Once his friend Robert Crumb leaves for town, he starts to make his own comic. Using stick figures as the drawings and focusing only on the writing. Once he shows Crumb the book, he illustrates it and publishes it. As his life continues to go down hill, he's accompanied by Toby Radloff, a friend from work. By far the funniest characters in the film just because of the way he speaks. It'd be easier just to go watch it than have be try to explain.

After American Splendor begins to be published nationally, a loyal fan (Joyce) writes him from Delaware, requesting an issue that she wasn't able to get. They wrote and talked on the phone until Harvey convinces Joyce to come visit him in Cleveland. She does so and they end up getting married. Things seem to be going alright for Harvey, until Joyce goes overseas for some odd weeks. When she comes back, they both find out that Harvey has a sort of cancer. The two of them put together a comic documenting the steps through cancer until he overcomes it.

Through out the movie, the real life people of Harvey, Toby, and Joyce, make appearances talking about themselves. The three actors that played them did a most excellent job. I can't say the same for the other cast members because their real versions never showed up, or they did and had small rolls with no lines. The movie has an odd pace to it. It's not fast or slow, nor does it pick up and then drop, it's not that interesting either. Yet, it's still a good movie. If you enjoy the comic American Splendor, this movie is for you.

Final Conclusion: 7/10
bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 04/27/2006, 04:11 AM
Brilliant. That is the only word I can use to describe this one. Okay -- maybe three -- absolutely bloody brilliant. This is one of the best stories to come around in a long time and Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis are flawless here. Amazing filmmaking. 9/10.
Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #2: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 10/24/2008, 09:52 AM
Boring. Absolutely bloody boring. And highly overrated too. It was certainly made with some creativity and good intentions, but the content was just too uninteresting. I truly can't see this providing much of any entertainment for anyone who isn't familiar with the person and the comics of Harvey Pekar (like myself), and even for those who are familiar, I still can't see how this movie offers a whole lot. I mean, the film doesn't really seem to do the man too much justice, and from watching some of his appearances on "Late Night with David Letterman," I've come to gather that the personality and overall character of Pekar could have actually been better fleshed out in the film through Paul Giamatti's portrayal. I will say that his comics sound pretty interesting, though, like they have that Larry David style of finding humor in the mundane, which I love.

Now, if there was a biopic on his friend Toby Radloff, then that would certainly be something.

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