American Splendor (2003)

On a number of top 10 lists for 2003 and given an Oscar nomination for it's screenplay. This is the biography of Harvey Pekar, the average guy made into a comic strip called "American Splendor."

Pekar is played by Paul Giamatti, Giamatti is now famous for his angry on film persona. To me this was a warm up for Sideways, the film that actually made him popular the following year. Pekar is an average guy with a short temper. He enjoys collecting records, and while making his rounds at garage sales one weekend he starts to get hooked on comics. Feeling like he has something to say but useless when it comes to actually drawing the comics himself, he partners with an artist friend who animates his life.

Bouncing between his comic version, Giamatti as actor, and the real Pekar the film pulls you in, then pushes you back out in a very unique manner. It is dangerous to show the REAL Pekar and the actor playing Pekar because the audience starts to compare the two. However, with good acting and a clever script it works quite well. I found the film a little dull at times, but overall it was pretty good. It is always hard for me to give a film a "worth watching" in the Dec-Feb time frame while I'm concurrently watching the current years best picture nominees.

In horror month I probably would have given this an 8 or 9, but for when I'm watching it, 7/10. This might be something you would like, if you like character studies with a strong actor and a somewhat slow plot.

Vote: 7/10

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