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American Splendor (Widescreen)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Paul Giamatti, Shari Springer Berman, Harvey Pekar, Chris Ambrose, Joey Krajcar
  • Directors: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini
  • Writers: Shari Springer Berman, Harvey Pekar, Robert Pulcini, Joyce Brabner
  • Producers: Christine K. Walker, Declan Baldwin
  • Format: AC-3, Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • 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
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Hbo (Warner)
  • Release Date: Dec 7 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: #26,316 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)


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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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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
superman.

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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Although I never read any of Harvey Pekar's comic books, I did see some of his appearances on David Letterman. I was surprised to see a whole movie made about his life. That being said, I was completely captivated by this heart warming story of this quirky, everyday man and the trials and triumphs of his life. Paul Giamatti is one of our times greatest character actors and he is aptly suited to this difficult role. The film brings to life some of the strangest characters in Harvey Pekar's odd little world, including counter-culture cartoonist Robert Crumb. Laughs abound amongst serious topics but are handled beautifully in this well made indie gem. Even if you're not familiar with Harvey Pekar or comic books in general the story is very human and relatable.
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By T. J. Bacon on Jan. 7 2004
Format: DVD
The Plot: Harvey Pekar took his dead-end life as a file clerk in the early Eighties and became a minor celebrity by basing a hit cult comic around himself. From the difficulties of being stuck in line at a supermarket through to battling Cancer, his work is brilliantly portrayed as the film uses a mix of animation, the perfectly cast Giamatti, while blending both archive footage and recent narration by the real life Pekar perfectly.
Standout Scene: As reality is suspended briefly the actors take a backseat to listen to Pekar & the supremely funny Toby Radloff take centre stage.
Any Good? Pekar once called out David Letterman's talk show as manipulative shtick and American Splendor makes no bones about giving one in the eye to the establishment too. This is a genuinely funny film from the ultimate 'anti-American-Dreamer,' and should definitely not be missed.
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