Harvey Pekar In Real Life

If you've never seen the highly praised HBO film, "American Splendor" starring Paul Giamatti, you should. It's the brilliantly told tale of a comic book writer who made a name for himself writing comics about...himself.

No superheroes, no magic powers...just his life as a file clerk at a VA hospital. Did I mention it's a true story? Well it is, and we get to see not only the actor portraying him, but the real life man behind the story, Harvey Pekar, along with some of his quirkier friends and family members. (My absolute favorite being the "genuine nerd" Toby Radloff, who became something of a real life celebrity after his appearances in Pekar's comic, also named, "American Splendor".)

Genuine Nerd Movie Trailer

The film is in the same spirit of, "Be Kind, Rewind", "High Fidelity" and, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" in the sense that it doesn't want to glamourize humanity or clean anybody up. But even with a straight-forward non-sugar coated look, the film still feels populist and uplifting, even if it wants to pretend that it's not.

Long story short, it's a really endearing flick that will make you want to just...be yourself. I can't believe I have this whole life philosophy built around being a geek and I didn't know Toby Radloff existed before last week. Anyway...

The man the film is based on, the writer, Harvey Pekar visited Ball State last week and I was lucky to hear him speak and be in the same room with him three times. He was just your average Joe, maybe a touch more neurotic, but dang if he wasn't just as lovable and quirky as you think he's going to be when you're watching the movie.

I wrote a little motivational piece on what I learned just being around him for Five Sprockets. Here's the LINK.
I really enjoyed Pekar's take on everything. From writing to life, he's just so no-nonsense. It's so new to hear someone admit what they want out of life, but also not be completely self-obsessed about it. Anyway, it was a really amazing week that left me with a lot to digest. if you've ever felt like a loser, wanted to be a writer, loved comics, or thought you were a nerd, you must watch this movie.

1 comment:

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