17 August 2004

A "Splendor" on Celluloid

"Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff."
-Harvey Peckar

The library can be a pretty wonderful place. Full of books, ideas, philosophy, opinions, satire, whatever you're looking for right at your fingertips.

On our last trip to the book depository, Kirsten and I picked up our usual assortment of items. For her, 4 to 5 books, varying in form, usually fiction. For me, CDs to burn and DVDs to absorb.

For some reason, this trip was very different than the countless others. The following is a list of what I stumbled upon on this particular venture:

  • Incubus A Crow Left of The Murder - Heard it wasn't nearly as good as their previous releases. But, for free, what can it hurt?
  • David Bowie Ziggy Stardust 30th Anniversary Edition - For the bonus CD alone, it's worth it.
  • U2 The Joshua Tree - Not sure how this happened, but I've never owned a copy. Yeah, I know.
  • Nick Drake Pink Moon - Never heard it. C'mon, it's Nick f#ckin' Drake.


  • "Waking Life" - Haven't seen it. Kirsten thought it looked good; after reading the back, I can't wait to check it out.
  • "American Splendor" - Tonight's subject. We just finished it tonight. Verdict: Two thumbs way up from the both of us.

What a wonderful movie. To be honest, I knew very little about Harvey Peckar before this movie. Sure, I'd heard of his legendary guest appearances on Letterman, but the rest never seemed to make its way to the small town where I grew up. Harvey and his family have a blog that is an interesting read on how his world has turned upside down since the movie's release.

All I got out of this movie was a wonderful group of characters that created a tapestry of ordinary life that is both painfully dingy and grim and achingly simple and beautiful.

Finding beauty in the things that we take for granted in life is such a powerful message that reaches out to all of us.

If you haven't seen this film, and you happen upon it while perusing for the latest Janet Evanovich at the library, or in a more common video store, pick it up. You won't be dissappointed.

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