Putting It All in Perspective

Everyone's a critic. But then, some people deserve to be—especially when their own life becomes the subject of a movie, as happened to comic-book artist and writer Harvey Pekar with American Splendor. He describes the somewhat surreal experience in American Splendor: Our Movie Year (Ballantine, $16.95) in the most realistic of terms. Jetted with his family from Sundance to Cannes to promote the movie, he frets about how to do his laundry in hotels. He meets big stars but seems more impressed when Roger Ebert talks to his stepdaughter like an equal. In some ways, the experience and new fame are a validation of his years of underground toil. In others, he's made even more skeptical about how media hype tries to make us value things that aren't very important. To paraphrase one of his famous lines, ordinary moviegoing is pretty complex stuff. We'd all do well to watch films as attentively and as personally as Pekar does. No matter what you've read or been told to think about a flick, your opinion still matters most. Spring Books: Blockbusters • Three smart new books analyze movie giganticism. By Brian Miller MORE • Backbiting and betrayal never go out of style in Hollywood—thank God. By Tim Appelo MORE • A revisionist new Marilyn Monroe book refuses to reduce her to one simple role. By Steve Wiecking MORE • In The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood, David Thomson casts a piercing light on the dynamics of colliding studios, moguls, and stars. By Tim Appelo MORE • A Hollywood aristocrat remains as elusive in death as he was in life. By Sheila Benson MORE • Even when writing about Hollywood's stars, Peter Bogdanovich is always writing about himself. By N.P. Thompson MORE • Comic-book artist and writer Harvey Pekar describes his surreal experience with Hollywood in American Splendor: Our Movie Year. By Brian Miller MORE

comments powered by Disqus

Friends to Follow