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USA 1994
Directed by
Terry Zwigoff
119 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars


Crumb is an eminently watchable documentary on Robert Crumb who pioneered a cartooning phenomenon coming out of the Bay area of San Fransisco during the late 1960s and best known internationally for the  Zap Comics series that included "Fat Freddy's Cat" as well as the cover of Big Brother and the Holding Company's "Cheap Thrills album.

Crumb effectively used the comic format as a personal confessional for his anti-social and dysfunctional (i.e. “normal”) personality. Zwigoff, who was fortunate enough to get free access to his subject and friend, does a tremendous job of depicting the Crumbian world in interviews with the gifted and quite candid cartoonist, his colleagues, wife and former lovers, and most revealingly, his mother and two even odder brothers, Charles, a manic depressive, and Max, a sex offender, both psychologically and emotionally crippled by their tyrannical father.Genius comes at a price, it seems, paid either before or after the fact.

As documentary character portraits go, it doesn’t get any better than this.




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