Crumb (1994)(Biography)

Perhaps the reason this documentary so superbly captures the genuine character and charisma of its main subject is because it was made and directed by his very close, very long-term friend, Terry Zwigoff. Robert Crumb--the influential 60s comic-book artist whose work ranges from the playfully absurd to the disturbingly awful--allows Zwigoff unprecedented access to his past work, his past lovers, his psyche, his motivations, and his family. Think your own clan can be categorized under "dysfunctional"? Crumb appears to be the only member of his immediate family who achieved personal and professional success by delving nose-first into a complete fantasy world and utilizing his extraordinary talent to weave its components into reality.

It's a waste of space and minutes to write much about this movie, as it would overlap into your priceless viewing time (though, true to form, you know we have a few more things to say). Zwigoff captures Crumb for who, and what, he truly is: a genius, a visionary, a nerd, a deviant; sometimes a cocky, arrogant oaf, sometimes an uncertain, frail outsider. You will be haunted by his elder brother Charles' descent into misanthropic depression--the brother whose own talent and zeal for comics initially surpassed Robert's until legitimate mental illness seized control of his passion. Also, perhaps just for sport, Zwigoff couldn't allow this film to be made without the inclusion of a rambling British blowhard (a Time magazine columnist, we think) to occasionally underscore a scene with his articulate balderdash.

Whatever you may think of Crumb, this film is solid proof that being a misfit can actually work to your advantage if you believe in yourself enough; his intrinsic inability to comprehend and adapt to mainstream society--and his absolute indifference towards wanting to do so--is a breakthrough concept for those of us who have also felt convinced that we have been delivered from a different planet. Crumb vowed revenge on his high school torturers and achieved it through that great American indicator of success, fame. Therefore, I dedicate this film to every single person who has never fit in, who has tried to fit in, who has failed to fit in, and who has eventually said "fuck this" and chosen to spend their days turning their social curse into magic. I dedicate this documentary to every single one of us.

NB #1: The French subtitles will be forgotten within moments of viewing...unless you're interested in brushing up on your Gallic.

NB #2: It's a 6-parter that appears to be missing the last two parts. Anyone who can locate a better link gets a free Altdoc mug. Or a pair of Altdoc socks.

added by: nadya