Tuesday, May 2, 2006

AMERICAN SPLENDOR
Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, Harvey Pekar

"Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff"

HBO

Who is Harvey Pekar

An autobiographical film on the life of Harvey Pekar, the brains behind the popular cult comics, American Splendor. Brilliantly portrayed by Paul Giamatti, the film is interspersed with narratives/voice overs of the real Harvey Pekar. It traces his life from childhood, his bachelor years, his married life up till his retirement from his job. We see Harvey striving in his 9 to 5 job as a clerk in a Veterans hospital. His obsessive hobby of collecting LPs living in a little crummy apartment just like any ordinary man. His luck changes when one day he decides to 'write' stories based on his everyday experiences such as waiting in line in a convenience store. Not being able to draw well, he enlists the help of a friend thus voila "American Splendor", the comic book was born. It became a huge hit among the readers of this genre of publication and he achieved a relative amount of fame enough to merit guestings on the Dave Letterman show. Despite his success, he still worked at his regular job, had the usual angst of everyday living taking its toll on him and his wife, still the sarcastic and bitter man who seems to complain about every little thing on earth. I guess that's where he got his appeal because he drew on his personal experiences in every day situations of an ordinary person living in America. The film was true to form in portraying the different time frame, the story was pretty good after all it was based on real events in the life of a real person. I like how certain scenes were done in comic style with those little bubbles which appear next to the characters whenever they spoke. Good innovative way to present a film about a comic book.
Paul Giamatti was likeable enough as Harvey Pekar. Because if you watch the footage of the real Harvey Pekar, you will see just how insufferable he was as a person. Always bitter and totally annoying in a depressing sort of way. Hope Davis did well too as Joyce, Harvey's eccentric wife. I kept saying to myself wow she's very patient and tolerable to put up with such a depressing guy. But I guess that's love huh?
Overall it is a rather simple film about an ordinary guy who achieved some fame in the comic book industry, Harvey Pekar who come up with this statement - "Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff."
I totally agree!

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