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American Splendor (Widescreen)

75 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Hope Davis, Paul Giamatti
  • Directors: Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer-berman
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Canadian Home Video Rating : Ages 14 and over
  • Studio: HBO
  • Release Date: Feb. 3 2004
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000U0X20
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,104 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

American Splendor (DVD)

. Formant une équipe de documentaristes solide (leur premier film, Off The Menu, fut considéré par USA Today comme un des 10 meilleurs films de 1998), Shari Springer Berman et Robert Pulcini, font exploser les limites traditionnelles du documentaire avec leur 4ème film, American Splendor : la vie privée, évocation audacieuse de la vie et de l’oeuvre d’Harvey Pekar, un auteur américain de comics.

Sur le papier, Harvey Pekar est un être détestable. Documentaliste dans un hôpital, il relate son histoire et celles de ses proches dans des bandes dessinées underground. Misanthrope, geignard, grincheux, il a tout d’une version cynique d’un Droopy de banlieue de Cleveland. Pourtant Harvey Pekar est aussi un être drôle, incisif et très attachant.

Racontant son histoire en voix-off, Pekar est alors interprété à l’écran par Paul Giamatti (Storytelling, L’homme sur la lune) dans une version fictionnalisée de la vie de l’homme. Si le mélange réalité-fiction est déjà savoureux, les cinéastes lui ajoutent de façon très inventive une illustration des bandes dessinées même de Pekar, et voilà que le dessin intervient dans l’image pour donner au film une texture riche, ambitieuse et originale. Sans jamais être confus, très drôle, le film apporte également une réflexion sur la création tout à fait pertinente et a été récompensé du prix de la critique internationale, du prix de la société nationale des critiques américains, des critiques réunis à Toronto et du grand prix du festival Sundance en 2003. – Helen Faradji.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By David Bonesteel on June 26 2004
Format: DVD
Disgruntled file clerk and social misfit Harvey Pekar (Paul Giamatti) lucks into a degree of fame, if not fortune, when underground comics legend Robert Crumb (James Urbaniak) collaborates with him on a comic about his life. Pekar lives in a state of existential misery, desperately lonely and angry about his outsider status. His comics, though, make him a kind of hero to average suffering folks and even bring him a little family by the end of the film (his wife, Joyce Brabner, is wonderfully played by Hope Davis). We are left with the sense that life never has and never will be smooth sailing for Pekar, but the struggle has its own worth and nobility and, in the end, will bring you more than mere surrender ever will. This may be a rather sweet, conventional message for a film that aims to be so subversive and counter-cultural, but it is reassuring all the same.
Writer/directors Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini employ a mix of animation, documentary and bio-pic conventions to relate their story, with varying degrees of success. Showing excerpts of Harvey's actual appearances on the David Letterman Show instead of recreating them with actors is a stroke of genius and I appreciated the unapologetic, direct way these sequences were handled: we see Paul Giamatti waiting in the wings, followed by a cut to the real Harvey walking out onto the stage. At other times, such as having the real Harvey comment on the actor chosen to play him, it seems somewhat contrived and echoes a complaint that he makes during the film of having been co-opted by the system.
All in all, a very entertaining, interesting film with wonderful performances. PS: I can't end my review without mentioning Judah Friedlander's wonderfully quirky, hilarious, and touching performance as uber-nerd Toby Radloff. Certain key characters also appear as themselves during the film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 22 2004
Format: DVD
Check this out. This is mostly a biopic about underground comic book creator, Harvey Pekar, but there are some documentary elements thrown in as well. The REAL Harvey Pekar narrates this fantastic film even criticizing the filmmakers for picking a guy (Paul Giamatti) that he claims looks nothing like him. There are times throughout the movie where we're treated to the real Harvey, his wife, and friends in an interview format. Harvey Pekar eventually made it all the way to David Letterman in the '80s. Instead of recreating the scene on film, the filmmakers instead used the actual footage from the show.
We all love Harvey. It's kind of hard not to. He's just some guy trying to live his life while wading through all the BS and stupidity that surrounds him. He gets so sick of it that he finally puts it down in the form of a comic book. The rest is history. Absoulutely one of the best films of 2003. Check it out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Philip B. Yochim on June 19 2004
Format: DVD
I never heard of Harvey Pekar or "American Splendor" before this movie, even though I've been a regular at a well-stocked comic book shop for a decade. But, now, I find Pekar to be a fellow traveller.
"American Splendor" tells you right up front, this isn't a happy, feel good, fantasy movie. It's a tale of a really homely, depressing, sloppy, and all-around dysfunctional dude working a dead-end job as a file clerk at a VA hospital. He's as about as faceless as you can get. He makes a timely friendship with budding underground comic artist Robert Crumb (who I HAD heard of), and publishes a comic based on his own life, and it becomes an underground hit.
You watch him develop a relationship and marriage with Joyce, a comic shop owner who writes to him for an issue she missed. The chapters on their first date and marriage were a trip, describing her ability to self-diagnosis all her ailments and political food allergies.
Having not known about the individual before the movie, I can't speak to the accuracy to real life or the comic, but you can believe I'll be looking for "American Splendor" at my next trip to my local graphic novel distributor.
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Format: DVD
The true story of Harvey Pekar, a misanthropic file clerk and comic
book fan, who met Robert Crumb, and had the brilliant idea to turn his
everyday trials and tribulations into a comic book. Sort of everyman as

The film has Paul Giamatti and Hope Davis (both uncanny and terrific)
playing the real life Harvey and his off-beat mate, while occasionally
the real Harvey comments on it all ('this guy you got playin' me...')
either in narration, or on camera in a kind of white room limbo set.

So, like the comic, the film plays with levels of reality, but goes it
one better. There's the real Harvey, his lightly fictionalized
counter-part from the cartoons, and the two actors, who seem to be
playing a combination of both real and comic book creation.

Its all wonderfully playful and funny but still has room to be quite
touching and human on occasion, and raises all sorts of interesting
questions about what is 'truth' in storytelling and in life - what is a
'documentary'?, Are our own accounts of lives 'true?

It's a house of mirrors that leaves you smiling, thoughtful and touched
at the dignity and insight of 'normal' people - which seems to be a big
part of Pekar's seemingly grumpy argument. A lovely film with humor,
heart and art that goes out and creates its own rules.
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