Monday, April 27, 2009

Cleveland rocks some more

I'd just like to take a few moments and devote them to my trusty and patient blog here. And to recommend the movie American Splendor. It came out in 2003, but I had never gotten around to seeing it until this past weekend. It's an odd mix that works: partly a biopic about autobiographical comics writer Harvey Pekar, and partly a documentary based on interviews with Pekar and his wife Joyce Brabner. Pekar narrates his life as acted out by Paul Giamatti, and provides answers in on-set interviews. His voice is so high-pitched and scratchy that listening to him made me want a lozenge, but he is necessary to the story, provides the soul for it.

Performances are outstanding throughout. Giamatti as well as Hope Davis--an actress whom I don't know that well--as comics dealer turned wife and collaborator Brabner. (It's a good thing these two found each other, and that's all I'm gonna say.) In the supporting role of coworker Toby Radloff, Judah Friedlander has the mannerisms of a high-functioning autistic down. And James Urbaniak--who I mostly knew as the voice of Thaddeus Venture--is one sexy Robert Crumb. Weird as that may sound, especially with his reluctance to make eye contact, but there it is.

Doubly recommended if you like fifties jazz.


Matthew Frederick said...

i love this movie so much. pitch-perfect in almost every way.

susan said...

We never got around to seeing it but I think you've convinced me.

Ben said...

I think you and Jerry would both like it. His curmudgeon-ness acquires a certain charm.

And Matthew, further evidence of your good taste.