American Splendor Reviews

  • Oct 18, 2019

    The soundtrack is better than taxi driver but has PG and PSH

    The soundtrack is better than taxi driver but has PG and PSH

  • Nov 29, 2018

    Perhaps one of the most criminally overlooked films of the 2000's, American Splendor surrounds the real-life story of file clerk by day and underground comic book creator by night: Harvey Pekar. Fictionally portrayed by Paul Giamatti (with real narration and interviews by Pekar himself cut between), the film captures the essence of a working class artist (Pekar) who wants comic books to illustrate the real life he experiences in Cleveland day-to-day, brushing elbows with heavy hitters in the underground comic industry like Robert Crumb along the way. What sets American Splendor apart from typical Hollywood biopics is the absence of gaudiness and grandiose set pieces often breathing within films of more well-known celebrities. There is a noticeable absence of Oscar-baiting, and it suits the story of Harvey Pekar quite brilliantly since he's an artist, yet always an unapologetic, normal guy at heart. The film's adherence to blunt realism in its storytelling-even having the film itself tiptoeing into the meta with real-life Pekar criticizing the film within itself-grounds the narrative and creates an authentic tone. This authenticity serves as a wonderful companion piece to Pekar's autobiographical comics that focus on neo-realism rather than spandex-wearing supermen. The leap to make comics about ordinary life not only established Pekar as a visionary for the medium, but also attracted new voices and respect for comics as a non-fiction art form. Harvey is a man who doesn't need nor want fame, strongly resisting the entertainment industry machine that sees him as the butt of a joke, and instead sticks to his roots despite offers to sell out. The film is in sync with his principles.

    Perhaps one of the most criminally overlooked films of the 2000's, American Splendor surrounds the real-life story of file clerk by day and underground comic book creator by night: Harvey Pekar. Fictionally portrayed by Paul Giamatti (with real narration and interviews by Pekar himself cut between), the film captures the essence of a working class artist (Pekar) who wants comic books to illustrate the real life he experiences in Cleveland day-to-day, brushing elbows with heavy hitters in the underground comic industry like Robert Crumb along the way. What sets American Splendor apart from typical Hollywood biopics is the absence of gaudiness and grandiose set pieces often breathing within films of more well-known celebrities. There is a noticeable absence of Oscar-baiting, and it suits the story of Harvey Pekar quite brilliantly since he's an artist, yet always an unapologetic, normal guy at heart. The film's adherence to blunt realism in its storytelling-even having the film itself tiptoeing into the meta with real-life Pekar criticizing the film within itself-grounds the narrative and creates an authentic tone. This authenticity serves as a wonderful companion piece to Pekar's autobiographical comics that focus on neo-realism rather than spandex-wearing supermen. The leap to make comics about ordinary life not only established Pekar as a visionary for the medium, but also attracted new voices and respect for comics as a non-fiction art form. Harvey is a man who doesn't need nor want fame, strongly resisting the entertainment industry machine that sees him as the butt of a joke, and instead sticks to his roots despite offers to sell out. The film is in sync with his principles.

  • Nov 06, 2018

    This film was amazing!

    This film was amazing!

  • Jul 24, 2018

    Once again, the paid critics and the couch critics have their digits jammed into their sphincters. This is not the wry, darkly comic masterpiece many viewers here seem to think it is, in their total lack of critical assessment. It's an ugly, tedious, self-indulgent and depressing film about a man who is an unappealing slob with no redeeming virtues. Paul Giamatti is a very good actor who may fit the physical type and caricature the filmmakers had in mind, but that doesn't make it anymore palatable. If you think grotesque, depressive freaks are entertaining, I guess this is your comic book turned into celluloid waste matter. Ugh.

    Once again, the paid critics and the couch critics have their digits jammed into their sphincters. This is not the wry, darkly comic masterpiece many viewers here seem to think it is, in their total lack of critical assessment. It's an ugly, tedious, self-indulgent and depressing film about a man who is an unappealing slob with no redeeming virtues. Paul Giamatti is a very good actor who may fit the physical type and caricature the filmmakers had in mind, but that doesn't make it anymore palatable. If you think grotesque, depressive freaks are entertaining, I guess this is your comic book turned into celluloid waste matter. Ugh.

  • Mar 19, 2018

    Interesting storytelling mixing documentary with drama film. Paul Giamatti....wow

    Interesting storytelling mixing documentary with drama film. Paul Giamatti....wow

  • Jan 23, 2018

    That's why I like biographies! I would never have herd about this very average man doing average things within an average social class.... still the story is so well told that now I am glad I know.

    That's why I like biographies! I would never have herd about this very average man doing average things within an average social class.... still the story is so well told that now I am glad I know.

  • Dec 28, 2017

    Great movie. Blending a unique style of biographical fiction with documentary storytelling, even having the real people appear on screen alongside the actors as themselves, it’s a truly brilliant bit of filmmaking that features solid humor and a fantastic performance from Giamatti as well as great supporting performances from Davis and Friedlander.

    Great movie. Blending a unique style of biographical fiction with documentary storytelling, even having the real people appear on screen alongside the actors as themselves, it’s a truly brilliant bit of filmmaking that features solid humor and a fantastic performance from Giamatti as well as great supporting performances from Davis and Friedlander.

  • Nov 16, 2016

    Interesting true story.

    Interesting true story.

  • Jun 17, 2016

    In the right hands with the right touch of deft observation the ordinary can always be transfigured into the extraordinary & the dour sweetened into pithy humor.

    In the right hands with the right touch of deft observation the ordinary can always be transfigured into the extraordinary & the dour sweetened into pithy humor.

  • Mar 31, 2016

    Funny movie about Harvey Pekar who created a comic book based on his "every man" life, even in its dreariness and and repetitiveness.

    Funny movie about Harvey Pekar who created a comic book based on his "every man" life, even in its dreariness and and repetitiveness.