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.
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
Exactly what you would expect from Zwigoff - which is also its weakness
Terry Zwigoff made one of my favorite movies - Ghost World. This one can be considered a sequel of sorts. Except, it's backwards: instead of commiserating with the young adult "misfits" in the world of "normal" people, it now laughs and satirizes them in a setting where their greatest concentration can be found - an art school in New York. In a farce-like setup it goes from student to student and ridicules them for all the "non-conformity" clichés that they are, while staying fully aware of being one big cliché itself - and landing the mandatory slaps on the "suburbia" and the "normal world" as well.
But this is where it fails: it lacks any subtlety. What was great about Ghost World, what was its main superiority over Art School Confidential, is that it had enough subtlety to stay an engaging, deep movie, while this comes off more like a flick-for-fun. It's as if Zwigoff decided to do exactly what's expected of him and serve it in a transparent glass box for people like me - who would enjoy the movie tremendously nonetheless, but regret everything it's so obviously missing. Oh - and unfortunately for me, I felt like much of the "art-school" topic has already been depicted very well very recently, in the HBO's Six Feet Under.
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