American Splendor

Rated 5.0 Paul Giamatti gives an Oscar-caliber performance as Harvey Pekar, the grouchy real-life protagonist of his American Splendor comic books. The movie brilliantly breaks format to include the actual Pekar as a narrator and occasional physical presence in a film that seamlessly drifts between standard feature and documentary. It chronicles Pekar’s rise to pseudo fame, with Giamatti capturing all the facial contortions and vocal characterizations of cult hero Pekar. The comic book hero’s story is an absorbing one, from his original collaborations with R. Crumb, through his infamous David Letterman days, onto his battle with cancer. Hope Davis continues her brilliant streak as Pekar’s wife. Not to be missed. It’s the year’s first truly great American film.