To many, this documentary may be depressing, offensive to women, or just too damn ugly to sit through, but it made me as happy as anything I've ever seen on screen. Art's ability to reveal truth and promote survival is evident in every frame. I admire R. Crumb's courage to speak unpopular truths, to draw what gets him off, and to ferret out the art he loves at considerable expense and trouble (he's a blues maven; one of my favorite scenes, where's he's sitting on his floor absorbed by aching music, is echoed in Ghost World, when Enid takes home Seymour's record and gets lost in her favorite song). And like Ghost World, ratty, real American culture is railed at hilariously: another favorite scene involves R. on a park bench, disgustedly commenting on the ugliness of everything around him: logo-emblazoned clothes, graceless music, ugly plastic everything.
By the end of it all, I respected and liked him Crumb enormously. I'd take his scary-woman worship over the banal musings of a dime-store philosopher any day. And Terry Zwigoff deserves much praise for being able to pull it off (especially as a first-time filmmaker who had very little idea what he was doing). From high art and family pathos to a lovely animal appreciation of big round female asses, this is far more a "roller-coaster, I laughed/I cried" film than most others so touted.