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Overall Rating
4.66

Awesome68.97%
Worth A Look: 27.59%
Just Average: 3.45%
Pretty Crappy: 0%
Sucks: 0%

2 reviews, 17 user ratings


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Crumb
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Astonishing documentary. Best film of the '90s."
5 stars

"Girls wouldn't even let me draw them," recalls Robert Crumb of his early cartooning days. "Of course," he can't resist adding, "that all changed when I got famous."

Crumb, the brilliant and biting documentary by Terry Zwigoff, is a masterpiece of neutral ambiguity. Crumb, who for three decades has been the unwilling godhead of underground cartoonists, uses his art to name and release the demons of modern life. He uglifies most of his subjects, especially himself, so those who know him only from his shrill, bug-eyed self-portraits may be surprised to meet him here as a presentable, soft-spoken family man. He embodies Flaubert's advice to be dull and bourgeois in one's life so as to be violent and original in one's art.

But Crumb's life wasn't always dull. Crumb introduces Robert's brothers -- Maxon, who meditates on a bed of nails, and Charles, a recluse who lives with their mother in a fog of medication. All three brothers were artists, but only Robert found popular recognition, an outlet that allowed him to connect, while Maxon and Charles withdrew into themselves. Critics who cluck over Robert's unstable brothers "There but for the grace of God goes Robert" miss the point of Crumb. The fickle finger of fame, which Crumb loathes, may have pointed him away from madness and obscurity. Yet we also see Maxon's and Charles' work, and it's far more striking than Robert's ferocious but relatively rational work; it has the purity of artists isolated from reality.

There's immense irony in this. Robert escaped, and he's still miserable: Success has its own agony. We watch him rebuffing a fan who asks for an autograph, or packing up his wife and daughter to move to France because America has become intolerable, or wearily answering the charges of misogyny levelled against his work, and if we listen carefully we may hear Terry Zwigoff saying, There but for the grace of God go Maxon and Charles.

'Crumb' isn't only about the famous Crumb, and the soul of this odd and mesmerizing film is in its glimpses of the brothers Crumb laughing over shared memories of childhood terrors, seeking solace in gallows humor about their own lives.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=238&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/31/07 23:08:41
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User Comments

4/16/09 Dane Youssef The greatest documentry ever made about one of the greatest artists that ever existed. 5 stars
2/08/07 Raph Branca Very creepy. Very brilliant. 5 stars
2/02/07 David Pollastrini crumbs kind of creepy but this is a good doc 5 stars
8/26/06 Indrid Cold We get a very strong sense of who Crumb is, which is often lacking in biographies. 4 stars
4/21/06 margotkidding Riveting. Unlike Crumb's own puerile creations. 4 stars
9/24/04 Agent Sands This movie makes me really want to read those comics. Crumb's a horny little bastard. 4 stars
5/02/04 The More You Know feast of depravity & font of self-deprecation. a strong flavor not for all tastes. 4 stars
11/14/02 Stevo I'd heard great things and it was disappointing. Moderately interesting. Depressing. 3 stars
6/29/01 master.node I'm a Crumb fan. Wife wouldn't know him from Adam. Even she liked the film. 4 stars
11/11/00 biggun best film of the decade 5 stars
9/06/00 Monday Morning About as dark as it gets because this story is not fiction. Stay in France, Robert! 4 stars
11/30/99 Dr. Acula Dark and sad look into the life of R. Crumb, not without humour though. 5 stars
10/17/99 Weird Andy Skee-Wirt! If you can find it, check out "Louie Bluie", which Zwigoff also directed. 5 stars
3/11/99 little jerry Take away the talent and you're left with a skid row bum.3 bums for the price of 1. 5 stars
2/02/99 Vick Di Brecci What a bunch of losers. Weird but interesting character study of a supposed artist 4 stars
11/23/98 DrEvil Terrific character study. Sad but funny. A portrait of stunted emotional growth. 5 stars
8/29/98 Matt His life is more intersting that most motion pictures 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Apr-1995 (R)
  DVD: 10-Aug-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  15-Sep-1995 (M)


Directed by
  Terry Zwigoff

Written by
  (documentary)

Cast
  Robert Crumb
  Aline Kominsky
  Charles Crumb
  Maxon Crumb
  Robert Hughes
  Martin Muller



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