Hailed as a literary laureate of the Everyman, curmudgeonly comic book scribe Harvey Pekar essayed the banal moments of daily life with clarity and honesty in his series of graphic novels, <i>Am...
All together now! Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can... against two bad guys?
He'll have to, because Sony confirms that Paul Giamatti is in talks to play the thick-skinned nemesis Rhino for 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, expected to go into production in February. It had already been announced in November that Andrew Garfield's Spidey would be tangling with Jamie Foxx as classic villain Electro, with Dane DeHaan on board as Harry Osborne, a.k.a. The Future Hobgoblin. Shailene Woodley has also been announced to play Mary Jane Watson, previously portrayed as a Broadway hopeful by Kirsten Dunst in Sam Raimi's trilogy. That now leaves Felicity Jones as the only cast member who's role hasn't yet been specified.
Marvel introduced Rhino to their Spider-Man comics in 1966. Unlike Spidey, the Lizard, or the Sandman, Rhino is not a mutant. He was originally the product of an Eastern Bloc engineering project to graft an impenetrable artificial hide to a Soviet soldier''s skin. When wearing the hide, the subject would be all but invincible, capable of deflecting bullets, withstanding extreme temperatures, and able to crash through walls like a juggernaut. To aid in his quest to smash things and look as goofy as possible, he'd wear a horn atop his head. No surprise that comic writer Mike Conroy called him "one of Spider-Man's dimmest villains."
In his battles with Spidey and Hulk, he was decidedly a Cold War Era villain. He was even known to team up with Hulk's nemesis, The Abomination, who was the antagonist of 2008's Ed Norton yawner The Incredible Hulk. You know what that means: crossover! Okay probably not. Actually, in recent years, with the Cold War having receded into the history books, Rhino has been portrayed in a more sympathetic light, and has even teamed up with Spider-Man on a few occasions.
Paul Giamatti has made no secret about his desire to play Rhino in the past. In a May 2011 appearance on Conan, he all but pitched Sony to play the role. "He looks like a rhino!" Giamatti said. "Why would I not want to do that? He would run into stuff real fast and smash into it...I think I would be the best Rhino possible."
This does raise an age-old question, however: how many villains is too many? In fact, you could argue that there's never been a great comic book movie that features more than one nemesis for its superhero. Tim Burton's Batman franchise, which initially honed in with laser-focus on Jack Nicholson's Joker, unraveled when both Catwoman and the Penguin (and maybe even that creepy Christopher Walken character) battled the Caped Crusader in Batman Returns. (To say nothing of the multiple evildoers in Batman Forever and Batman & Robin.) Raimi's Spider-Man franchise itself melted down when it decided to have three villains for its third installment. Or four, if you count Evil Emo Spider-Man, who literally punches Mary Jane in the face after dancing his way through a cabaret. The reason why these films don't work is pretty simple: with more villains the plot invariably becomes more complicated, the characterizations for each of the baddies are watered down, and the battles become bloated and excessive. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will have a lot of history to overcome if it's to reverse this pattern.
What do you guys think? Excited about the prospect of Giamatti playing the Rhino? Or would you rather, if Giamatti were to take on any future comic book project, for him to get his Harvey Pekar on again with a sequel to American Splendor?
Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt
[Photo Credit: WENN]
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In the real world, copying somebody else's written material for your own personal gain is called plagiarism. In the movie biz, it's called adaptation.
Since 1940, the Academy Awards have distinguished the adapted screenplay in its own category, honoring films whose scripts were derived primarily from books, plays, and short stories. But the occasional Best Adapted Screenplay nominee can credit its source to other media — such is the case for this year's nod, the true story thriller Argo.
Ben Affleck's directorial feature, written by Chris Terrio, was actually born from a WIRED magazine article by journalist and film producer Joshuah Bearman in 2007. The piece, titled "How the CIA Used a Fake Sci-Fi Flick to Rescue Americans from Tehran," was a chronicling of CIA operative Tony Mendez's unorthodox plan to retrieve a group of American diplomats from a hostage crisis in Iran in the late 1970s. Bearman penned the article following the declassification of the CIA documents describing the events.
Argo's company in this year's Best Adapted Screenplay category draw from more traditional sources: the scripts for Life of Pi and Silver Linings Playbook each comes from its eponymous novel, written by Yann Martel and Matthew Quick, Respectively; Steven Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner cite the nonfiction book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin as the source for their biopic Lincoln; and the story of Beasts of the Southern Wild writer/director Benh Zeitlin was inspired by his co-writer Lucy Alibar's own play, Juicy and Delicious. Heck, even Argo does accredit some hardcover material with the machination of its script alongside the aforementioned original article (Bearman's book The Great Escape, in which he expands on the topic, and Agent Mendez's own account of the event, his memoirs The Master of Disguise). The category has housed a great majority of projects with roots in the forms of book and play. But there are a handful of interesting outliers, spanning from 1931 all the way to the present...
Skippy (1931): Predating the separate Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay categories, the family-friendly Jackie Cooper starrer was adapted from the syndicated comic strip of the same name.
Mrs. Miniver (1942): The romantic drama about the dawn of World War II drew from a series of columns in Great Britain's The Times newspaper, wherein the titular character Kay Miniver was created.
Boomerang! (1947): The true story of this film noir was first chronicled in a Reader's Digest article by journalist Fulton Oursler (under the pen name Anthony Abbot).
Marty (1955):The classic romantic drama was the first of several films to be adapted from a teleplay — Paddy Chayefsky wrote both the big and small screen versions of the story.
I Want to Live! (1958): Another film noir drawn from true events, this film extrapolated its story about a woman on death row from letters penned by the basis and namesake for its main character, Barbara Graham. A second source for the movie came from a collection of newspaper articles from journalist Ed Montgoomery.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962): The life of British Army officer T.E. Lawrence was chronicled in this classic epic, thanks to the adaptation of the collective writings from the hero himself.
Pennies from Heaven (1981): Ever since Marty, a handful of films has earned nominations for adapting television movies to film; this was the first, however, to earn a nod for adapting a television miniseries (the 1978 BBC drama of the same name).
The Insider (1999): Another film drawn from a magazine article, this time from Marie Brenner's Vanity Fair piece "The Man Who Knew Too Much," about tobacco industry whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand, played in the film by Russell Crowe.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000): Classing up the list a bit is this Coen Brothers comedy, which adapted its script from Homer's epic poem The Odyssey.
Ghost World (2001): The first film to earn a nomination for a script adapted from a graphic novel came from Daniel Clowes, who turned his own comic book Ghost World into this comedy-drama.
Shrek (2001): In the same year, this blockbuster animated film pioneered the category's nomination of a script with another type of source: picture book (William Steig's Shrek!).
American Splendor (2002): The brilliant comedic biopic drew its material from the works of subject Harvey Pekar and his wife and fellow comic book author Joyce Brabner (American Splendor and Our Cancer Years, respectively).
Before Sunset (2004): Richard Linklater's screenplay was considered an adaptation, due to its use of characters from the preceding film Before Sunrise, which was written by Linklater and Kim Krizan.
A History of Violence (2005): Another graphic novel adaptation — screenwriter John Olson brought John Wagner and Vincent Locke's A History of Violence to screen with this picture.
Borat (2006): It might surprise you to recall that the Academy recognized this bawdy film with a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination; the film was considered an adaptation of the character developed by Sacha Baron Cohen for his small screen venture, Da Ali G Show.
In the Loop (2009): In the same vein, Armando Iannucci transported his The Thick of It hero Malcolm Tucker to the big screen in this satirical film.
District 9 (2009): Cutting it a little close to home, this sci-fi drama/parable for human intolerance and oppression was actually adapted from another movie — a short film titled Alive in Joburg.
Toy Story 3 (2010): Borrowing the characters from the original Toy Story, a new assortment of screenwriters vied for the Oscar in this magnificent threequel.
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In the spirit of the Fourth of July, Hollywood.com has put together a list of fifty movies with the word "America" in the title. Movies that have truly exemplified what our country is about. Movies that have made us appreciate our history and freedom. Movies about love, passion, overcoming obstacles... and a talking can of vegetable soup
AIR AMERICA Mel Gibson and Robert Downey Jr. debate the morality of flying drugs to Laos during the Vietnam War
AMERICA, AMERICA A Greek kid loses a lot of money and wants to come to the U.S.
AMERICA’S SWEETHEARTS Julia Roberts and John Cusack like each other
THE AMERICAN George Clooney is involved with assassinry
AN AMERICAN AFFAIR A young kid works in the Kennedy era for a woman who has great semblance to Marilyn Monroe
AMERICAN ANTHEM Some girl convinces a retired gymnast to do gymnastics again
AMERICAN BEAUTY Kevin Spacey wants to sleep with a teenager; his neighbor films litter
THE AMERICAN CAN Will Smith’s upcoming film on Hurricane Katrina
AN AMERICAN CAROL Michael Moore and Charles Dickens are treated with contempt
AMERICAN COWSLIP They actually misspelled “loser” in the trailer for this movie
AN AMERICAN CRIME Catherine Keener holds Juno hostage for some reason
AN AMERICAN DREAM Police and gangsters pursue a murderous talk show host
AMERICAN DREAMER A writer goes to Paris and becomes delusional
AMERICAN DREAMZ A misguided melding of terrorism and televised singing competitions
AMERICAN FLYERS Kevin Costner and his crazy brother ride bikes in the mountains
AMERICAN FUSION A Chinese immigrant with a crazy family falls for a Mexican doctor
AMERICAN GANGSTER Denzel Washington gets rich doing bad things
AMERICAN GIGOLO Richard Gere paves the way for Rob Schneider’s career
AMERICAN GRAFFITI The 60s were better than other times
AMERICAN HISTORY X Edward Norton is a pretty big racist for a while
AMERICAN IDIOT They’re making the Green Day album into a movie now
AMERICAN OUTLAWS Colin Farrell is a very modernized Jesse James
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS Gene Kelly is involved in a love triangle, for a change
AMERICAN PIE A bunch of kids try to lose their virginities
AMERICAN PIE 2 Those same kids get a house on Lake Michigan
AMERICAN PIE 3 / AMERICAN WEDDING The main kid gets married to the girl who started as a one-off joke
AMERICAN PIE 4 / AMERICAN REUNION One of the kids is probably going to get caught in a compromising position
THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT President Michael Douglas loves Lobbyist Annette Bening
AMERICAN PSYCHO Christian Bale wears suits, likes Huey Lewis, and kills people
AMERICAN SPLENDOR Paul Giamatti as Harvey Pekar in the cartoonist’s biopic… which also stars Harvey Pekar
AMERICAN STRAYS Ten nut jobs drive through the Midwest; there’s a lot of killing
AN AMERICAN SUMMER Modern reimagining of Tom Sawyer, sort of
AMERICAN TABOO A photographer prefers to take pictures than to talk to people
AN AMERICAN TAIL Fievel makes us all believe in hope
AMERICAN VIOLET A black single mom is racially-profiled for dealing drugs in Texas
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON There’s an American werewolf in London
BIRDS OF AMERICA Matthew Perry’s siblings are out of their minds
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER Skinny Brooklynite will become the ultimate soldier and save the world
COMING TO AMERICA Eddie Murphy in whiteface tells a joke about spoons
IN AMERICA Family of Irish immigrants adjust to American life
KIDS IN AMERICA Claire Dumphy is an unreasonable high school principal who incurs the wrath of her students
KIT KITTREDGE: AN AMERICAN GIRL Abigail Breslin proves that all kids are smarter than all adults
KNUTE ROCKNE, ALL AMERICAN Ronald Reagan makes the most parodied movie speech ever
THE LAST AMERICAN HERO Jeff Bridges drives past and makes his own liquor
THE LAST AMERICAN VIRGIN A group of friends fight, do drugs, have sex, and maybe learn a little something
ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA Robert DeNiro plays against type as a conflicted gangster
TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE Puppets fight al Qaeda, Kim Jong Il, and Matt Damon
THE QUIET AMERICAN Michael Caine is a reporter in the adaptation of a book I was supposed to read in college
THE UGLY AMERICAN Marlon Brando goes to Southeast Asia and takes offense to Communism
WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER Christopher Meloni fondles is sweaters
Pekar, who was battling cancer, high blood pressure and depression, was found unconscious by his wife Joyce Brabner on Monday morning (12Jul10).
Local police have confirmed an autopsy will be performed.
Pekar was the brains behind his glum, autobiographical comic book series American Splendor, which was made into an Oscar nominated movie. It starred Paul Giamatti as Pekar.
He began publishing American Splendor in the mid-1970s and recently turned his moody musings on life and love into an Internet series, titled The Pekar Project.
Based on the bestseller by co-writers Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus The Nanny Diaries paints a pretty dim picture of the wealthy Upper East Side folk who are too busy with their professional and/or social lives to raise the children they think they needed to have. As seen through the idealistic Annie Braddock (Scarlett Johansson) a 21-year-old New York University grad who has dreams of being an anthropologist being a nanny to a rich kid isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Annie takes the job of looking after the precocious 6-year-old son of a super-wealthy couple she calls “The X’s” as a way to clear her head before moving on with her life. In fact as she finds herself immersed in this elite and ritualistic culture she considers it a field study much like living in an Amazonian tribe. But Annie quickly learns that life is not very rosy on the other side of the tax bracket as she must cater to the every whim of Mrs. X (Laura Linney) and attempt to avoid the formidable Mr. X (Paul Giamatti)—and try to comfort a lonely little boy who just wants to be loved by his parents. With that Annie breaks the cardinal rule in the science of humans and their works: She goes native. Just as The Devil Wears Prada had Meryl Streep to raise it above its frivolity The Nanny Diaries has Laura Linney. Her Mrs. X is a brilliant case study in duality: On the one hand Mrs. X is carefully manicured an uptight high society dame planning fund raisers attending “Nanny Cam” seminars and ignoring her little boy; on the flipside she is just as lonely and wanting of love as her son. Linney’s vulnerable moments are the most heartbreaking especially when she sits through Annie’s chastisement about her parenting skills on a nanny-cam tape in front of a group of her high society friends. This performance probably won’t give Linney an Oscar nod but someday the actress should win that damn thing. Giamatti--as the distant hands-off husband--makes his presence known but it’s pretty much a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it performance. As for our leading lady Johansson fares well among the upper classes as the kindly Annie but doesn’t really do anything above and beyond the call of duty. And for the ladies there’s Chris Evans (Fantastic Four) as Annie’s would-be suitor whom she dubs “Havard Hottie.” Hottie indeed. Actually the comparisons between The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada are numerous: Both are adaptations from bestsellers written by women; both skew Manhattan’s highfalutin upper class with a Sex and the City sensibility; and both incorporate idealistic female college grads who face tough women and get caught up but somehow manage to ground themselves eventually. The difference this time is that Diaries is co-written and directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini the same wife-and-husband team who gave us 2003’s American Splendor the ultra-quirky but innately mesmerizing biopic of comic book creator Harvey Pekar. Talk about a change of pace. Maybe Berman and Pulcini were feeling romantic when they picked Diaries as their follow-up. The couple doesn’t use as much cinematic flair as they did with American Splendor but there is a certain charm to Diaries’ anthropological look and feel especially as Annie analyzes Manhattan’s denizens in their natural habitats. Still there’s some oomph lacking. As a Prada wannabe Diaries doesn’t quite make the cut.
The Writers Guild of America, west and East announced nominations for outstanding achievement in writing for the screen, television and radio during the 2003 season.
Nominees in the original category went to independent art-house films, including Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges and Guljit Bindra for Fox Searchlight's Bend It Like Beckham; Steven Knight for Miramax's Dirty Pretty Things; and Tom McCarthy for Miramax's The Station Agent.
Nominees for the adapted category went mostly high-profile releases, including Anthony Minghella for Miramax's Cold Mountain; Frances Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson for New Line's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King; and Gary Ross for Universal's Seabiscuit.
WGA noms are closely tracked as an indicator of Academy Awards sentiment. Guild winners in the original screenplay category have matched Oscar choices in 11 years over the past 21 while the WGA adapted screenplay award has matched with the Oscar winner in 14 years during the same period.
The films eligible for Writers Guild Awards were released in the year 2003 under the jurisdiction of Writers Guild of America, East and west and affiliate guilds in Australia, Canada, French Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, and New Zealand.
In television, the nominated scripts were originally broadcast between December 1, 2002, and November 30, 2003.
The winners will be announced Saturday, February 21, 2004, at the 56th Annual Writers Guild Awards ceremonies on both coasts.
The Writers Guild of America, west ceremonies will be held in Los Angeles at the Century Plaza Hotel, and the Writers Guild of America, East ceremonies will be held in New York at The Pierre Hotel.
BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM, Written by Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges and Guljit Bindra, Fox Searchlight Pictures
DIRTY PRETTY THINGS, Written by Steven Knight, Miramax Films
IN AMERICA, Written by Jim Sheridan & Naomi Sheridan & Kirsten Sheridan, Fox Searchlight Pictures
LOST IN TRANSLATION, Written by Sofia Coppola, Focus Features
THE STATION AGENT, Written by Tom McCarthy, Miramax Films
AMERICAN SPLENDOR, Written by Robert Pulcini & Shari Springer Berman, Based on the Comic Book Series by Harvey Pekar and the Novel by Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner, HBO Films/Fine Line Features
COLD MOUNTAIN, Screenplay by Anthony Minghella, Based on the Novel by Charles Frazier, Miramax Films
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING, Screenplay by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson, Based on the Novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, New Line Cinema
MYSTIC RIVER, Screenplay by Brian Helgeland, Based on the Novel by Dennis Lehane, Warner Bros. Pictures
SEABISCUIT, Screenplay by Gary Ross, Based on the Book by Laura Hillenbrand, Universal Pictures
Episodic Drama --any length--one airing time
"ABOMINATION (Law & Order: SVU), Written by Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters; NBC
"BOUNTY (Law & Order), Written by Michael S. Chernuchin; NBC
"DISASTER RELIEF (The West Wing), Teleplay by Alexa Junge, Story by Alexa Junge & Lauren Schmidt; NBC
"LOSS (Law & Order: SVU), Written by Michele Fazekas & Tara Butters; NBC
"PILOT (The O.C.), Written by Josh Schwartz; Fox
"7:00 P.M. -- 8:00 P.M. (24), Written by Evan Katz; Fox
Episodic Comedy--any length--one airing time
"DAY CARE" (Malcolm in the Middle), Written by Gary Murphy & Neil Thompson; Fox
"MALCOLM FILMS REESE" (Malcolm in the Middle), Written by Dan Kopelman; Fox
"NO SEX, PLEASE, WE'RE SKITTISH" (Frasier), Written by Bob Daily; NBC
"A WOMAN'S RIGHT TO SHOES" (Sex and the City), Written by Jenny Bicks; HBO
Original Long Form--over one hour--one or two parts, one or two airing times
AND STARRING PANCHO VILLA AS HIMSELF, Written by Larry Gelbart; HBO
Episode 1, "BEYOND THE SKY" and Episode 2, "JACOB AND JESSE" (Taken), Written by Leslie Bohem; USA
CAESAR, Written by Peter Pruce and Craig Warner; TNT
WILDER DAYS, Written by Jeff Stockwell; TNT
Adapted Long Form--over one hour--one or two parts, one or two airing times
NORMAL, Teleplay by Jane Anderson, Based on the play Looking for Normal by Jane Anderson; HBO
OUT OF THE ASHES, Teleplay by Anne Meredith, Based on the book I Was a Doctor in Auschwitz by Dr. Gisella Perl; Showtime
RUDY: THE RUDY GIULIANI STORY, Written by Stanley Weiser, Based on the book Rudy! by Wayne Barrett; USA
THE STRANGER BESIDE ME, Teleplay by Matthew McDuffie and Matthew Tabak, Based on the book by Ann Rule; USA
Animation--any length--one airing time
"THE DAD WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE" (The Simpsons), Written by Matt Selman; Fox
"MOE BABY BLUES" (The Simpsons), Written by J. Stewart Burns; Fox
MY MOTHER THE CARJACKER" (The Simpsons), Written by Michael Price; Fox
"REBORN TO BE WILD" (King of the Hill), Written by Tony Gama-Lobo & Rebecca May; Fox
"RESCUE JET FUSION" (The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius), Written by Steven Banks; Nickelodeon
"THE STING" (Futurama), Written by Patric M. Verrone; Fox
Comedy/Variety--Music, Awards, Tributes -- Specials -- any length
THE KENNEDY CENTER HONORS, Written by George Stevens, Jr., Sara Lukinson and David Leaf; CBS
THE 75TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS, Written by Hal Kanter, Rita Cash, Buz Kohan, Special Material Written by Steve Martin, Beth Armogida, Dave Barry, Dave Boone, Andy Breckman, Jon Macks, Rita Rudner, Bruce Vilanch; ABC
Comedy/Variety--(including talk) Series
LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN, Written by Mike Sweeney, Chris Albers, Jose Arroyo, Andy Blitz, Kevin Dorff, Jonathan Glaser, Michael Gordon, Brian Kiley, Michael Koman, Brian McCann, Guy Nicolucci, Conan O'Brien, Andrew Secunda, Allison Silverman, Robert Smigel, Brian Stack, Andrew Weinberg; NBC
MAD TV, Writing supervised by Scott King, Written by Dick Blasucci, Lauren Dombrowski, Bryan Adams, Bruce McCoy, Michael Hitchcock, Steven Cragg, Chris Cluess, John Crane, Jennifer Joyce, Tami Sagher, David Salzman, Richard Talarico, Jim Wise, Kal Clarke, Sultan Pepper, Bill Kelley, Maiya Williams, Dino Stamatopoulos, Rick Najera, Brooks McBeth, Jason Kordelos, Michael McDonald, Stephnie Weir; FOX
PENN & TELLER: BULLSHIT!, Written by Penn Jillette, Teller, David Wechter, John McLaughlin; Showtime
REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER, Written by Billy Martin, Scott Carter, David Feldman, Brian Jacobsmeyer, Jay Jaroch, Chris Kelly, Bill Maher, Ned Rice, Paul F. Tompkins; HBO
ALL MY CHILDREN, Written by Agnes Nixon, Megan McTavish, Gordon Rayfield, Anna Theresa Cascio, Frederick Johnson, Jeff Beldner, Janet Iacobuzio, Lisa Connor, Addie Walsh, Victor Miller, Mimi Leahey, Bettina F. Bradbury, John PiRoman, Karen Lewis, Amanda Robb, Rebecca Taylor, Christina Covino, David A. Levinson; ABC
ONE LIFE TO LIVE, Written by Josh Griffith, Michael Malone, Shelly Altman, Lorraine Broderick, Richard Backus, Ron Carlivati, Anna Theresa Cascio, David Colson, Leslie Nipkow, Michelle Poteet Lisanti, Becky Cole, James Fryman, Katherine Schock, Ginger Redmon, Daniel Griffin; ABC
"DON'T LOOK BACK" (Out There), Written by Willie Reale and Mark Palmer; PBS
FULL COURT MIRACLE, Written by Joel Silverman and Joel Kauffmann & Donald C. Yost; Disney Channel
I WAS A TEENAGE FAUST, Written by Thom Eberhardt; Showtime
THE MALDONADO MIRACLE, Teleplay by Paul W. Cooper, Based upon the novel "The Maldonado Miracle" by Theodore Taylor; Showtime
Documentary - Current Events
"TRUTH, WAR AND CONSEQUENCES" (Frontline), Written by Martin Smith; PBS
"THE WAR BEHIND CLOSED DOORS" (Frontline), Written by Michael J. Kirk; PBS
Documentary - Other Than Current Events
BECOMING AMERICAN: THE CHINESE EXPERIENCE--BETWEEN TWO WORLDS (PART 2), Written by Thomas Lennon & Mi Ling Tsui and Bill Moyers; PBS
"CYBER WAR!" (Frontline), Written by Michael J. Kirk; PBS
"THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE: THE STRING'S THE THING" (Nova), Written by Joseph McMaster; PBS
"THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE: WELCOME TO THE 11TH DIMENSION" (Nova), Written by Julia Cort & Joseph McMaster, PBS
"THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL" (The American Experience), Written by Marcia Smith, PBS
"SEABISCUIT" (The American Experience), Written by Michelle Ferrari; PBS
News - Regularly Scheduled, Bulletin or Breaking Report
"PASSING OF MUSIC LEGENDS" (CBS News Sunday Morning), Written by Robert Mank;
"CBS SHOWDOWN WITH SADDAM" (CBS News), Written by John Craig Wilson; CBS
News - Analysis, Feature, or Commentary
"BAPTISM BY FIRE" (60 Minutes), Written by Barbara Dury & Morley Safer; CBS
"WALL STREET" (NOW with Bill Moyers), Written by Michael Winship & Bill Moyers; PBS
AUTISM: SHADES OF GRAY, Written by Julia Kathan; ABC News Radio
AFTERNOON DRIVE, Written by Bill Spadaro; 1010 WINS Radio
WORLD NEWS THIS WEEK, Written by Stuart H. Chamberlain, Jr.; ABC News Radio
News--Analysis, Feature or Commentary
REMEMBERING ED BLISS, Written by Mike Silverstein; ABC News Radio
THE ROAD TO LAUGHTER: A TRIBUTE TO BOB HOPE, Written by Steven Gosset; CBS Radio Network
On-Air Promotion (Radio or Television)
BUFFY/ENTERPRISE, Written by Eric Jacobson; CBS/UPN
Top Story: Splendor Tops Nat'l Film Critics List
The National Society of Film Critics named the cult indie fave American Splendor--a film about the life of file clerk-turned-comic creator Harvey Pekar--as 2003's best picture at its annual best-of Saturday in New York at the showbiz haunt Sardi's, Reuters reports. They also tapped the film's creators Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini as best screenwriters. Bill Murray picked up another award as best actor for his work in Lost in Translation, while Charlize Theron took best actress honors for her portrayal as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. Splendor narrowly beat out Clint Eastwood's Mystic River, Reuters reports, but Eastwood took home the best director prize, in a decisive vote that left The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King helmer Peter Jackson and Translation's director Sofia Coppola as runners-up.
In More Awards News…
Meanwhile, the Broadcast Film Critics will give Eastwood a lifetime achievement award at their awards ceremony Saturday in Los Angeles, Reuters reports. Mystic River earned a record eight nominations from the group, including nods for Eastwood both as director and composer. The group will also bestow its Passion in Film Award on Peter Weir, director of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which received three nominations.
In More Spears News…
Pop princess Britney Spears, who isn't in the news enough what with her spur-of-the-moment Las Vegas wedding/annulment, is among the hundreds of celebrities, organizations and companies on the National Rifle Association's roster of entities it considers hostile to gun ownership rights, The Associated Press reports. The Fairfax-based NRA has compiled a 15-page list of supporters of the Brady law--which requires federally licensed gun dealers to do background checks on gun buyers--and other gun control measures. NRA spokesman Ted Novin told AP the list was solely for "informational purposes and that it's nothing new." Others on the list included Barbra Streisand, George Clooney, Michael Moore, the St. Louis Rams and Cardinals sports teams, and Hallmark Cards.
Irwin Defends How He's Bringing Up Baby
Steve Irwin, the wacky host of Animal Planet's Crocodile Hunter, snapped back at critics who have accused him of endangering his month-old son's life by holding the baby while feeding a crocodile. Proclaiming he'd do it again, AP reports Irwin told the Australia's Network Nine TV show A Current Affair, "What I would do differently is I would make sure there were no cameras around." Child welfare advocates have said the TV hero endangered his son, Robert, in the incident Friday, drawing comparisons with pop star Michael Jackson who dangled his infant out of a hotel window in Berlin in November 2002, AP reports. "To hear people say that it was a publicity stunt, that I'm just like Michael Jackson, well, it just tears me up. It makes me sick to my stomach to be compared in that way." Irwin told Australia's Sunday Telegraph. Police told AP Sunday that Irwin would not be charged with violating any laws.
And Speaking of Jackson...
Finding a fair and impartial jury of one's peers may prove to be difficult in the child molestation case against Michael Jackson. AP reports that due to the lack of racial minorities being summoned and low response to the jury summonses, Jackson's lawyer may decide to challenge Santa Barbara County's jury-selection process. For example, Hispanics, who work as farm laborers around the Santa Maria, where the case is being tried, do not return jury summons because they can't afford to take time off for jury duty. As well, the problem is compounded by the demographic of Santa Maria, where census figures show blacks represent just 2.3 percent of Santa Barbara County's population. "You wind up with a self-selecting jury pool," Santa Barbara attorney James Herman told AP.
Jolie Donates Money to Cambodian Farmers
Actress Angelina Jolie is donating $1.5 million to a program to help poverty-stricken Cambodian farmers, AP reports. About 300 families will get one cow each to help them earn money and dissuade them from logging and hunting wildlife for a living. The program is being organized by the Cambodian Vision in Development in its efforts to protect the environment.
Singer Hospitalized After Accident
Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Daniel Bedingfield, best known for his dance album Gotta Get Thru This, is in stable condition after his car rolled off a rural road Friday in a remote area near Whangarei, New Zealand, AP reports. "He won't be well enough to travel, so he'll be recuperating in New Zealand for two or three months," Alison Lees, a Whangarei Base Hospital spokeswoman told reporters. "He's damaged vertebrae in his neck but it hasn't affected his motor or sensory capabilities. He's a fairly lucky guy." Bedingfield was driving back from a music festival in Whangarei, AP reports.
Southwest Airlines Subject of New Reality Show
Ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes at a popular airlines? A&E Network thinks enough people do to justify Airline, a new reality show which gives audiences an inside look at Southwest Airlines, following employees as they deal with weather delays, blackouts and passengers who are running late or too drunk or too smelly to board the plane, AP reports. "Everyone…wants to share their travel stories--the love-hate relationship we have with air travel," Nancy Dubuc, vice president of documentary programming at A&E, told AP. "It's that common connection." The show begins Monday night on A&E, which plans to air 18 half-hour episodes.
Movie audiences weren't afraid of a little blood and gore this weekend; on the contrary, they were compelled to find out who won the ultimate monster battle.
Freddy vs. Jason, which pits A Nightmare of Elm Street's steely-fingered Freddy against Friday the 13th's machete-wielding Jason, simply slaughtered the box office competition, debuting at No. 1 with a head-splittin' $36.4 million* and shoving last week's headliner, the police-drama S.W.A.T., down to second place with $18.6 million.
Combining the two horror franchises turned out to be a brilliant idea, generating more opening box office dollars than either individual series has seen lately. The last Friday the 13th installment, Jason X, debuted in 2002 at $6.6 million, while the last Elm Street chapter, Wes Craven's New Nightmare, opened in 1994 at $6.6 million as well.
"[Freddy vs. Jason] worked because it's a brand new series. It's an original movie with name recognition," Russell Schwartz, head of domestic marketing for New Line Cinema told The Associated Press. "We took it seriously and didn't turn it into Scary Movie. Not that it doesn't have humor, but we didn't want to go too campy."
Oscar-winning Kevin Costner's western saga Open Range premiered at No. 3 with a respectable $14.1 million, making it the second best opener of Costner's last five movies. Only the romantic Message in a Bottle topped Range's figure when it opened in 1999 at $16.7 million. Other recent Costner vehicles haven't fared as well: Dragonfly took $10.2 million, 3,000 Miles to Graceland $7.1 million, Thirteen Days $46,688 and For Love of the Game $13 million.
The body-switching comedy Freaky Friday took fourth place with $13.1 million, while the girl-powered Uptown Girls debuted in the fifth spot with $11.2 million. Other newcomers this week included the skateboarding laffer Grind, which premiered with a measly $2.6 million, and the underground comic book indie American Splendor, which debuted in limited release and took in $156,000.
Overall, box office grosses were up, up, up this weekend, nearly 4 percent from last weekend and a whopping 34 percent from the same weekend last year.
THE TOP TEN
New Line Cinema's R-rated horror fest Freddy vs. Jason spooked its way to the top spot with an ESTIMATED $36.4 million in 3,014 theaters. Its $12,085 per theater average was the highest of any movie playing wide this week.
Friday the 13th's Jason Voorhees leaves the cozy confines of Camp Crystal Lake for Elm Street, where he meets his most dangerous adversary yet--A Nightmare on Elm Street's Freddy Krueger. But this town only has room for one slasher.
Directed by Ronny Yu, it stars Robert Englund and Ken Kirzinger.
Sony Pictures' PG-13-rated S.W.A.T. dropped from the top spot to No. 2 in its second week with an ESTIMATED $18.6 million (-50%) in 3,220 theaters (+18 theaters; $5,776 per theater). The film, revolving around a newly trained S.W.A.T. team, has garnered $70 million so far.
Directed by Clark Johnson, it stars Colin Farrell, Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J and Michelle Rodriguez.
Buena Vista's R-rated Open Range moseyed into third place in its opening weekend with an ESTIMATED $14.1 million in 2,075 theaters, taking in an average of $6,795 per theater.
In the film, a posse of "freegrazers"--rogue cowboys who drive their own cattle--runs into trouble in prairie town run by a kingpin rancher.
Directed by and starring Kevin Costner, it also stars Robert Duvall, Annette Bening, Diego Luna and Michael Gambon.
Buena Vista's PG-rated Freaky Friday fell a couple of spots to No. 4 in its second week with an ESTIMATED $13.1 million (-41%) in 2,979 theaters (+25 theaters; $4,397 per theater). Its cume is $57.9 million.
Directed by Mark Waters, it stars Jamie Lee Curtis, Lindsay Lohan, Chad Michael Murray and Mark Harmon.
*Box office estimates provided by Exhibitor Relations, Inc.
MGM's PG-13-rated Uptown Girls giggled all the way to No. 5 in its premiere weekend with an ESTIMATED $11.2 million in 2,495 theaters ($4,489 per theater).
In this riches-to-rags tale, the daughter of a late rock-and-roll star gets a rude awakening when all her money is embezzled and she has to take a job as the nanny to a very uptight 8-year-old girl.
Directed by Boaz Yakin, it stars Brittany Murphy, Dakota Fanning, Donald Faison, Marley Shelton and Heather Locklear.
Buena Vista Pictures' PG-13-rated fantasy actioner Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl collected more booty, slipping to sixth place in its sixth week of release with an ESTIMATED $8.5 million (-35%) at 2,710 theaters (-460 theaters; $3,137 per theater). Its cume is approximately $247.9 million.
Directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, it stars Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley.
Universal Picture's R-rated comedy American Wedding plummeted four spots to seventh in its third week with an ESTIMATED $8.16 million (-47%) at 2,985 theaters (-210 theaters; $2,735 per theater). Its cume is $80.6 million.
Directed by Jesse Dylan, it stars Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Alyson Hannigan, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Thomas Ian Nicholas.
Universal Pictures' PG-13-rated drama Seabiscuit fell three notches to No. 8 in its fourth week, taking in an ESTIMATED $8.12 million (-32%) in 2,462 theaters (+34 theaters; $3,300 per theater). Its cume is approximately $83 million.
Directed by Gary Ross, it stars Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges and Chris Cooper as three down-and-out men who find fame and fortune in an equally down-and-out racehorse.
Dimension Films' PG-rated Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over dropped three spots to No. 9 in its fourth week with an ESTIMATED $5.2 million (-46%) in 3,003 theaters (-385 theaters; $1,745 per theater). Its cume is approximately $96.8 million.
Written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, it stars Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Sylvester Stallone, Salma Hayek and Ricardo Montalban.
Sony Picture's R-rated buddy actioner Bad Boys II continued to move down the list to take 10th place in its fifth week with an ESTIMATED $3.2 million (-47%) at 1,785 theaters (-664 theaters; $1,793 per theater). Its cume is approximately $128.8 million.
Directed by Michael Bay, it stars Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Jordi Molla, Gabrielle Union and Peter Stormare.
Warner Bros.' PG-13-rated Grind opened with an ESTIMATED $2.6 million in 2,253 theaters ($1,161 per theater).
Four free-wheelin', skateboarding buddies head cross-country to try to get into a pro-skateboarding demo tour.
Directed by Casey La Scala, it stars Mike Vogel, Adam Brody, Vince Vieluf, Joey Kern and Jennifer Morrison.
Fine Line's R-rated American Splendor debuted in limited release with an ESTIMATED $156,000 in 6 theaters ($26,000 per theater).
In this true story, hospital administrative clerk Harvey Pekar goes from rags to (relative) riches with his homegrown autobiographical comic book series, American Splendor.
Directed by Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman, it stars Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis and Harvey Pekar.
The Top 12 films this weekend grossed an ESTIMATED $132 million, up 33.2 percent from last year's take of $99.1 million. The Top 12 films were also up 3.6 percent from last weekend when they grossed $127.4 million.
Last year's top three included: Sony's PG-13-rated actioner xXx, which stayed in first place its second week in a row with $22.1 million in 3,388 theaters ($6,526 per theater average); Buena Vista's PG-13 rated sci-fi thriller Signs, which held on to second place for two consecutive weeks with $19.3 million at 3,344 theaters ($5,790 per theater average); and Universal Pictures' PG-13-rated Blue Crush which opened in third with $14.1 million in 3,002 theaters ($4,720 per theater).
Grumpy curmudgeon Harvey Pekar (Paul Giamatti) is a file clerk at a Cleveland Pa. V.A. hospital with little ambition little hope and little joy in his life other than what he gets from reading listening to his beloved jazz records and scouring garage sales for that rare 25-cent find. It is at one such garage sale Harvey meets Robert Crumb (James Urbaniak) a fellow comic book fan and jazz enthusiast who is on the way to becoming a famous underground comic writer/illustrator. Harvey not only admires Crumb's work he also despairs of leaving this world without making his own mark on it so he takes a stab at writing a comic book that Crumb illustrates for him. Titled American Splendor Harvey's book is different than any other comic seen before; rather than focusing on superheroes or fictional characters his is an adult-themed series about his life and the working-class people he knows. The series' unsentimental hard-boiled humor finds a following and by the late 1970s Harvey had become an acclaimed underground comic book writer in his own right--he even becomes a regular guest on The David Letterman Show. Eventually he meets and marries one of his fans the sardonic and anti-establishment Joyce Brabner (Hope Davis) who faithfully supports him through their financial difficulties and Harvey's bout with illness. All the while Harvey's still toiling at his day job (the real Harvey Pekar didn't retire until 2001).
Character actor Giamatti single-handedly carries this film with great grouchy aplomb even as he switches from the character Harvey to an actor playing Harvey (it's done documentary-style with voiceover and appearances by the real Harvey Pekar who narrates the story Giamatti acts out). His dry ornery one-liner delivery is priceless and he fits the irascible foot-dragging Harvey to a T. Pay special attention to one brilliant scene in which Harvey a Jew himself comes close to losing it at the market while waiting in line behind an old Jewish lady with a fistful of coupons and a bone to pick with the cashier. Davis too embodies the neurotic Joyce who gently mocks but deeply loves and endlessly supports her prickly misfit husband. Also good is Judah Friedlander as Harvey's co-worker Toby a self-proclaimed nerd with a bizarre way of speaking.
Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman were drawn to Harvey's story because of its Everyman appeal and their vision of it comes through in the film's grimy rust-belt environs and grainy naturalist '70s-movie feel. The directors tell most of this tale via the dramatization starring Giamatti but cleverly interweave comic cartoons moments of imagination and even old footage of Pekar himself from his Letterman appearances into the narrative. Even the real Harvey Pekar and the cast of characters from his life in Cleveland make an appearance. This all makes for one overlong albeit highly creative movie and also makes the character of Harvey more interesting than one suspects he would have been had the film been done in a straight biographical style. Problem is the story's niche appeal just doesn't live up to the collage of techniques used to tell it. Harvey understandably grim and depressed given his bleak circumstances simply isn't as fascinating a guy as the filmmakers would have you believe and all the creative devices in the world can't convince you he is.
Celebrities such Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears ditched their hooded parkas Sunday as Park City, Utah's annual Sundance Film Festival came to a close.
This year's Grand Jury Prize for best film drama went to the HBO produced American Splendor, while Capturing the Friedmans was named best documentary, Reuters reports.
American Splendor is based on the life of Harvey Pekar, a VA hospital worker in Cleveland who spends his days reading, writing and listening to jazz. When his friend Robert Crumb earns wide acclaim for comic art, Harvey is inspired to write his own brand of comic books, making the monotonous torture of his everyday foibles their focus.
Directed by Shari Springer-Berman and Robert Pulcini, it stars Paul Giamatti, Hope Davis, Judah Friedlander and Pekar.
Andrew Jarecki's Capturing the Friedmans is based on a seemingly typical, upper-middle-class Jewish family in Great Neck, New York, whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.
Both American Splendor and Capturing the Friedmans told their stories using home videos and a crop of fresh young stars.
Best director honors went to Catherine Hardwicke for Thirteen, which revolves around a 13-year-old whose quest to befriend her high school's most popular girl lead her down a self-destructive path of drug use and sexual experimentation.
The festival this year was flanked with stars, causing veteran festivalgoers to question whether Sundance was still a relevant film forum outside the Hollywood studios.
Festival director Geoff Gilmore, however, defended the event at Saturday night's awards ceremony, saying Sundance remains committed to finding unique voices in the cinema.
"Passionate, personal storytelling is what we're truly here to celebrate," Gilmore said, thanking festival participants "for making films that matter."
Hailed as a literary laureate of the Everyman, curmudgeonly comic book scribe Harvey Pekar essayed the banal moments of daily life with clarity and honesty in his series of graphic novels, <i>American Splendor</i>, for nearly 40 years. An Ohio native, he first became fascinated by the possibilities of sequential art storytelling after meeting underground comics legend Robert Crumb in the early 1960s. Nearly 10 years later, with the encouragement and artistic contributions of Crumb, Pekar self-published the first issue of <i>American Splendor</i> in 1976. Even as his book gained an increasingly loyal following over the years, his chronic self-doubt and anxieties over finances kept him shackled to his job as a file clerk at the local Veteran's Administration hospital until his eventual retirement in 2001. During the 1980s Pekar met and married his third wife, Joyce Brabner, an early fan of his work who would later collaborate with him on several projects. Later, Pekar gained wider notoriety with a series of contentious appearances on "Late Night with David Letterman" (NBC, 1982-1993). After a particularly awkward on-air rant in 1988, Pekar found himself banned from the show for life. With the release of the biographical film adaptation "American Splendor" (2003), Pekar's reputation and recognition were at an all time high. And yet, despite the professional success, as well as a lasting marriage and family, the author remained plagued by depression and chronic health issues for the remainder of his life. When once asked about his literary legacy, Pekar described <i>American Splendor</i> as "a series of day-after-day activities that have more influence on a person than any spectacular or traumatic events. It's the 99 percent of life that nobody ever writes about."<p>Born Harvey Lawrence Pekar on Oct. 8, 1939 in Cleveland, OH, he was the oldest son of Saul and Dora Pekar, Jewish immigrants from Poland. Pekar and his younger brother, Allen, grew up in an increasingly African-American neighborhood in the Cleveland area, a demographic shift that led to young Harvey frequently being the target of anti-white slurs and beatings meted out by groups of area youths. It was a traumatic experience; one that Pekar later suspected had instilled in him deep-seated feelings of inferiority. He graduated from Shaker Heights High School in 1957 and attended Case Western University for a year before dropping out, due to his difficulties with mathematics. After a series of low-paying jobs that offered few prospects, Pekar enlisted in the U.S. Navy, but was later discharged after his chronic anxieties made it impossible for him to regularly pass inspections. Since the late-1950s, Pekar - a devout lover of classic jazz - had been writing music reviews for various musical publications, including <i>Downbeat</i>; while it provided a creative outlet and bolstered his self-esteem, it hardly constituted gainful employment. As luck would have it, while perusing jazz albums in a local record store in 1962, he struck up a conversation with a fellow enthusiast and Cleveland resident - alternative comic book artist Robert Crumb. Pekar was struck by the potential of comic books as an artistic medium after seeing Crumb's early work, and over the next 10 years, he continually mulled over the idea of creating a comic of his own.<p>Having bounced from one nowhere job to the next since his return from the Navy, Pekar at last found employment that suited him when he was hired on as a clerk at the Veteran's Administration Hospital in Cleveland. It was a position that Pekar - who unceasingly fretted about becoming unemployed - would hold for nearly 40 years. Although he continued to contemplate the idea of writing a comic book, Pekar was no artist. Having put together early versions using crude stick figures, he showed his work to Crumb, who had returned to Cleveland for a visit in 1972. Crumb was impressed enough to suggest that Pekar enlist the talents of various artists to draw the stories for publication, going so far as to volunteer his own services. In 1976 the first issue of <i>American Splendor</i> was self-published by Pekar. With the subtitle "From Off the Streets of Cleveland," the autobiographical vignettes followed the author's daily travails of money woes, health concerns, and frequently contentious relationships with friends and co-workers. Above all, his chronicle of the Everyman was brutally honest and unfiltered, daring to cover the seemingly banal minutia of modern life in detail. While maintaining his job at the VA, Pekar produced, published and distributed the first 15 issues of <i>American Splendor</i>. In addition to R. Crumb, he collaborated with a multitude of artists, including Greg Budgett, Brian Bram and Gary Dumm. Although he claimed that self-publishing actually lost him money, the project proved successful enough to merit its continuation, and Pekar gradually began to gain notoriety within the underground comic book scene of the late 1970s.<p>As the niche popularity of his comic book grew, Pekar found himself in the unfamiliar position of having admirers. One such <i>American Splendor</i> fan was Joyce Brabner, a writer, legal activist, and comic book store owner with whom Pekar began a letter and phone correspondence in the early 1980s. The two would eventually meet face to face while Brabner was in Cleveland on unrelated business. One day later, they were married. For Pekar, it would be his third union. A few years later, he came to the attention of late night talk show host, David Letterman, on whose show he would appear several times. Cantankerous and confrontational as always, Pekar attempted to provoke Letterman during his first visit to the program, with subsequent appearances became increasingly contentious. Although it made for good ratings, after a ranting Pekar pushed Letterman to his limit during an August 1988 taping, the comic book writer was banned from the show. On the home front, Pekar's life took a turn from the ordinary to the devastating, when he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 1990. The ordeal that followed - including an excruciating chemotherapy regimen - was chronicled in the graphic novel <i>Our Cancer Year</i>. Winner of the 1995 Harvey Award for Best Original work, the book was co-written by Pekar and Brabner. In 1998 the couple adopted a daughter, nine-year-old Danielle Batone.<p>By now a sort of fringe celebrity, and highly respected in his chosen field, Pekar was periodically asked to contribute to documentary projects. He appeared in "Comic Book Confidential" (1988), a historical account of the underappreciated medium. Also known as an incredibly prolific and knowledgeable collector of jazz records, he was interviewed for Alan Zweig's examination of the subject, "Vinyl" (2000). It was, however, with the release of the independent film "American Splendor" (2003) that Pekar's notoriety reached a height that he never dreamed possible. Equal parts biopic and a comprehensive adaptation of the long-running comic book series, it starred actor Paul Giamatti as Pekar and Hope Davis as Brabner, with the real life Pekar and Brabner also appearing as themselves, commenting on their lives and the surreal nature of being depicted in a movie. Widely praised, the movie won several top critics awards, in addition to garnering an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. As one would expect, the experience was meticulously recounted with a 2004 graphic novel, fittingly titled <i>Our Movie Year</i>. Pekar returned to his adolescence, one filled with violence and self-doubt, in <i>The Quitter</i> (2005), illustrated by Dean Haspiel. Other works included 2008's <i>Students for a Democratic Society: A Graphic History</i> and <i>Studs Terkel's Working: A Graphic Novel Adaptation</i> in 2009. Despite his success and venerated position among his peers, Pekar never escaped the anxieties and depression that simultaneously informed his work and plagued his daily existence. Recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and once again battling the lymphoma that had returned, Pekar died on July 12, 2010. Although early speculation posited suicide, the official coroner's report listed the cause of death as an accidental overdose, due to improper use of two anti-depressant medications. Harvey Pekar was 70 years old. <p><i>By Bryce P. Coleman</i>