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.