American Splendor (2003)
Real Harvey: I felt more alone that week than any. Sometimes I'd feel a body lying next to me like an amputee feels a phantom limb. All I did was think about Jennie Gerhardt and Alice Quinn and all the decades of people I had known. The more I thought, the more I felt like crying. Life seemed so sweet and so sad, and so hard to let go of in the end. But hey, man, every day is a brand new deal, right? Just keep on working and something's bound to turn up.
Joyce Brabner: Harvey, may I have a glass of water and an aspirin?
Harvey Pekar: Why, do you have a headache?
Joyce Brabner: No, but I want to avoid getting one.
Robert Crumb: You turned yourself into a comic hero?
Harvey Pekar: Sorta, yeah. But no idealized shit. No phony bullshit. The real thing, y'know? Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.
Harvey Pekar: My name is Harvey Pekar - that's an unusual name - Harvey Pekar. 1960 was the year I got my first apartment and my first phone book. Now imagine my surprise when I looked up my name and saw that in addition to me, another Harvey Pekar was listed. Now I was listed as "Harvey L. Pekar", my middle name is Lawrence, and he was listed as "Harvey Pekar" therefore his was a - was a pure listing. Then in the '70s, I noticed that a third Harvey Pekar was listed in the phone book, now this filled me with curiousity. How can there be three people with such an unusual name in the world, let alone in one city? Then one day, a person I work with, expressed her sympathy with me, concerning what she thought, was the death of my father, and she pointed out an obituary notice in the newspaper for a man named Harvey Pekar. And one of his sons was named Harvey. And these were the other Harvey Pekar's. And six months later, Harvey Pekar Jr. died. And although I've met neither man, I was filled with sadness, 'what were they like?', I thought, it seemed that our lives had been linked in some indefineable way. But the story does not end there, for two years later, another 'Harvey Pekar' appeared in the phone book. Who are these people? Where do they come from? What do they do? What's in a name? Who is "Harvey Pekar"?
Real Harvey: [introducing on-screen character] Here's our man. Yeah, all right. Here's me. Well, the guy playin' me anyway. Even though he don't look nothin' like me. But, whatever.
Joyce Brabner: Why does everything in my life have to be such a complicated disaster?
[When meeting Joyce for the first time]
Harvey Pekar: You might as well know right off the bat, I had a vasectomy.
[During Harvey & Joyce's first date]
Joyce Brabner: I think we should skip the whole courtship thing and just get married.
Toby Radloff: You might want to try believing in something bigger than yourself. It might cheer you up.
Harvey Pekar: What movie could be worth driving 260 miles round trip for?
Toby Radloff: It's a new film called Revenge of the Nerds. It's about a group of nerd college students who are being picked on all the time by the jocks. So they decide to take revenge.
Harvey Pekar: So what you're saying is, you identify with those nerds.
Toby Radloff: Yes. I consider myself a nerd. And this movie has uplifted me. There's this one scene, where a nerd grabs the microphone during a pep rally and announces that he is a nerd and that he is proud of it and stands up for the rights of other nerds.
Harvey Pekar: Right on.
Toby Radloff: Then he asks all the kids at the pep rally who think they are nerds to come forward, so nearly everybody in the place does. That's the way the movie ends.
Harvey Pekar: Uhhmmm, so the nerds won, huh?
Toby Radloff: Yes.
Harvey Pekar: All right. Wow, well you know, you got this movie and I'm getting hitched. We both had a good month, huh?
Toby Radloff: Right.
Harvey Pekar: You don't have any problems with moving to Cleveland?
Joyce Brabner: Not really. I find most American cities to be depressing in the same way.
Harvey Pekar: And you're OK with the vasectomy thing?
Real Harvey: [the real Harvey Pekar introduces his on-screen character] OK. This guy here, he's our man, all grown up and going nowhere. Although he's a pretty scholarly cat, he never got much of a formal education. For the most part, he's lived in shit neighborhoods, held shit jobs, and he's now knee-deep into a disastrous second marriage. So, if you're the kind of person looking for romance or escapism or some fantasy figure to save the day... guess what? You've got the wrong movie.
Real Harvey: If you think reading comics about your life seems strange, try watching a play about it. God only knows how I'll feel when I see this movie.
Danielle: I think I'm going to write my own comic.
Harvey Pekar: Oh yeah? What about?
Danielle: I'm not sure yet, but not about you. I think you have enough already.
Real Toby: [looking at jellybeans on a tray] I think one might be lime. One might be like mint.
Real Harvey: Well, what's the difference between this and this?
Real Toby: One's cherry, one's cinnamon.
Real Harvey: You can tell that by just looking at them?
Real Toby: Not me. I have to put it in my mouth first.
Real Toby: So, how do you cope with loneliness, Harvey?
Real Harvey: Uh, did I say I watch television?
Real Toby: Yeah. You mentioned you watch TV, you listen to your jazz records, you read, you write. You do your stick figures so you could plan for your next comic book.
Real Harvey: Yeah.
Real Toby: 'Cause I've seen many of your stick figures and that seems to be pretty interesting.
Real Harvey: Yeah.
Real Toby: [looks at a jellybean tray] Mmm, chocolate jelly beans. I'm going to have to try one.
Mattress Guy #1: So is the girl smart?
Mattress Guy #2: Well, I guess she's about average.
Mattress Guy #1: Average! Man, average is dumb!
Harvey Pekar: So... what are you worried about then?
Joyce Brabner: Well, it's the way... it's the way all the different artists draw you.
Harvey Pekar: What?
Joyce Brabner: You know, I don't really know what to expect. Sometimes you look like a younger Brando... but then the way Crumb draws you, you look... like a hairy ape, with all these wavy, stinky lines undulating off your body. I don't really know what to expect.
Harvey Pekar: No, those are motion lines. I'm an active guy!
Toby Radloff: How long are you going to be in Delaware? Because I'd really like to see this movie with you.
Harvey Pekar: I don't know. I'll be gone about a week. But I'm getting married, so I'll have to bring her along too. Is it a girl flick?
Toby Radloff: Depends on the girl. Is your new bride a nerd?
Harvey Pekar: I don't know. Kinda. Yeah. She's in to herbal tea.
Harvey Pekar: [looking at himself in the mirror] Well, there's a reliable disappointment.
Toby Radloff: I'm not going to be eating dinner until very late and this has got to hold me over.
Harvey Pekar: Yeah? Whaddya got? A church function?
Toby Radloff: No. I'm driving to Toledo to see a movie. Wouldya like to come?
Harvey Pekar: No. Nah. I'm goin to Delaware tonight. I'm getting married.
Toby Radloff: Oh. Why Delaware?
Harvey Pekar: Well, you know, chick I'm marryin' is from Wilmington. Plus I gotta help her move her stuff back here. Why are you driving to Toledo to see a movie, Tob'?
Toby Radloff: It's not playing at the Mapletown. I didn't know you had a girlfriend Harvey.
Harvey Pekar: Yeah, yeah. We met last week.
Real Joyce: See, I thought I was marrying somebody with a sense of humor.
Real Harvey: I guess I fooled you.
Joyce Brabner: We are going to get through this. I understand illness. I know how to handle these things.
Real Harvey: I started record collecting when I was 15 or 16 years old. I started getting interested in jazz. Prior to that I had collected comic books. I was always a collector. I admit to having an obsessive compulsive quality in me. It's like "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" or something. You know, you go to thrift shops and you go to garage sales because you think you're going to find something that's, you know, real rare. And most of the time, it's a total waste of time. But, once in awhile, you'll, you'll come up with something and it will wet your appetite.
Harvey Pekar: Right now, I'd be glad to trade some growth for happiness.
Harvey Pekar: Man, listen, I'll tell you something, people are starting to know the name Crumb. And when you croak, man, you're gonna leave something behind.
Robert Crumb: Yeah, I guess. Ha-ha. It's not like I'm Blind Lemon Jefferson or Big Mama Thornton.
Harvey Pekar: Oh, come on, man. I'll tell you something, it sure beats working a gig like mine, being a nobody flunky and selling records on the side for a buck.
Robert Crumb: Well, that's true.
Harvey Pekar: Ever since I read your stuff, man, I been thinkin', I could write comic book stories that are different from anything that's being done. I figure, you know, that the guys that are doing animal comics and, eh, super hero stuff, they're really limited. 'Cause they got to try to appeal to kids. And underground stuff, like yours, have been really subversive and its opened things up politically. But, there's still plenty more to be done with them too, you know.
Robert Crumb: Pass the ketchup.
Harvey Pekar: The words and pictures, they could be more of an art form. You know, like those French movies or, or, eh, or De Sica over in Italy. So, anyway, I just, I tried to, I tried to write you some stuff about - real life - you know, stuff that the everyman's got to deal with.
Robert Crumb: These are all about you?
Harvey Pekar: Yeah.
Robert Crumb: You've turned yourself into a comic hero.