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Art School Confidential (2006)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 12 May 2006 (USA)
Starting from childhood attempts at illustration, the protagonist pursues his true obsession to art school. But as he learns how the art world really works, he finds that he must adapt his vision to the reality that confronts him.



(screenplay), (comic story) (as Dan Clowes)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marvin Bushmiller
Jack Ong ...
Professor Okamura
Monika Ramnath ...
Isaac Laskin ...


Jerome, a kid from the suburbs who loves to draw, goes to New York City's Strathmore College for his freshman year as a drawing major. Competition and petty jealousy consume faculty and students, with an end-of-first-semester best-student award held out as a grand plum. Worse, a strangler is on the loose, killing people on or next to campus. The idealistic Jerome falls in love with Audrey, a student who models for life-drawing classes and who responds to his sweetness. But he has a rival: the clean-cut, manly Jonah, also a first-year drawing student, whose primitive work draws raves and Audrey's attention. As cynicism seems to corrode everything, Jerome is desperate to win. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Who said anything about talent?


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language including sexual references, nudity and a scene of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 May 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Akademia tajemniczych sztuk pieknych  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$135,733 (USA) (5 May 2006)


$3,296,916 (USA) (11 August 2006)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The fictional art school portrayed in the film is based off of the real Pratt Institute. Coincidentally, all three of director Terry Zwigoff's fiction films were written by Pratt Institute alumni. (Daniel Clowes, writer of this film as well as Ghost World (2001), and Glen Ficarra and John Requa, writers of Bad Santa(2003)) See more »


When Jerome visits Professor Sandiford, Sandiford is smoking a cigarette that disappears and reappears between shots. See more »


Professor Sandiford: Now Eno, why haven't you been doing the assignments?
Eno: Frankly, I find them constricting and largely irrelevant. My work has nothing to with form or light or color, but with questioning the nature of aesthetic experience.
Professor Sandiford: I'll buy that.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The "Facts of Life" theme song plays during the final part of the end credits. See more »


References High School Confidential! (1958) See more »


3rd Movement 'Alla Turca' from Piano Sonata No.11 A Major, K.331
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(Professor Sandiford's cellphone call signal)
See more »

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User Reviews

Another misfire
6 May 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Much of the problem with Art School Confidential lies with the character of Jerome. Clowes writes graphic novels, and the main character he's written here is simply a cartoon figure with no depth to speak of. He falls much too fast from his ambition of becoming the world's greatest artist to someone willing to compromise his talent for the sake of coming in first in a college competition. Granted, he is pliable, aping whoever he happens to be with at the moment—it's Bardo one moment, star alumnus Marvin Bushmiller (Adam Scott) the next— and adopting the bitter, nihilistic rantings of failed artist Jimmy (Jim Broadbent) as if those beliefs were his own. This might all be interesting if Jerome was, say, the type of troubled, seeking boy that Minghella played in Bee Season. Sadly he is not, and though Minghella is a fine actor, there's not a lot he can do with what is essentially a stick figure.

That's not to say that Art School Confidential is completely worthless. Malkovich (who also produced) is very funny, and so is Broadbent, but mostly this feels like the type of comedy Jerome's roommate Vince might someday make: overly broad, obvious, and very self- conscious. It wants to be cool, it wants to be hip, but like Jerome in his quest to be the next Picasso, it's merely clueless.

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