This movie chronicles the life and times of R. Crumb. Robert Crumb is the cartoonist/artist who drew Keep On Truckin', Fritz the Cat, and played a major pioneering role in the genesis of underground comix. Through interviews with his mother, two brothers, wife, and ex-girlfriends, as well as selections from his vast quantity of graphic art, we are treated to a darkly comic ride through one man's subconscious mind. As stream-of-consciousness images incessantly flow forth from the tip of his pen, biting social satire is revealed, often along with a disturbing and haunting vision of Crumb's own betes noires and inadequacies. As his acid-trip induced images flicker across our own retinas, we gain a little insight into this complex and highly creative individual.Written by
Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>
This film is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #533. See more »
"San Francisco" is misspelled in the closing titles. The caption reads: "Max Crumb still lives in San Francicsco". See more »
[giving his son drawing tips]
It would be good actually if you could take life drawing... I think that would be really...
But you didn't go to art school and you're rich and famous.
We're not talking about rich and famous, we're talking about learning how to draw.
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Crumb has a magic pen, but don't ask for his autograph.
Legendary underground comic artist Robert Crumb of "Keep on Truckin" fame is transported back home--courtesy of his equally eccentric friend and cult director, Terry Zwigoff--to pay a visit to his wacky and disturbed family. Crumb, reluctantly, encounters his two bothers and mother in varying degrees of emotional collapse. The mother is a piece of work. She is in total denial about her boys. Crumb's two sisters, however, remain absent from the family's tragic downward spiral--and they don't participate (wisely) in Zwigoff's pet project (The story goes that the director threatened suicide to gain Crumb's full cooperation. Who knows the truth?) Back at the ranch--Crumb does live in the country--the artist's father is dead. His older brother lives in a single room on San Francisco's Skid Row, where he bathes sometimes and sleeps on a bed of nails. He also has dark thoughts about Asian women. Once in a while, he acts on them. His other bother lives with their crazy mother, never works, and reads and collects mountains of old, yellowed and tattered paperbacks. He refuses to read anything new. Everyone is manic depressive. On drugs. And bananas. But somehow Crumb has struck a balance between his art and personal life. He survives nicely with his wife and their daughter in a comfortable ranch house. The dwelling serves dual purposes: protection for his massive and priceless blues record collection, and personal solitude from an encroaching outside world. His next step is a permanent move to France! In the end, Crumb, the movie, is a worthwhile odyssey for anyone who wishes to feel better about their own family. You might find this movie on the bottom shelf of the video store or at a psych ward near you.
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