Friday, September 24, 2004

Movieblogging: American Spendor and Crumb
Tonight, I finally got around to seeing two movies I've been wanting to see for a long time, two movies that are closely related. Don't fault me for the order of viewing or real premieres... I'm going to jump back and forth here.

Thewe two movies concern two deeply flawed, cult-level famous figures in the world of underground comics. I speak of Robert Crumb and Harvey Pekar. And what are the two movies? Crumb (1994) and American Splendor (2003). Crumb isa straight documentary; American Splendor is half documentary and half... docudrama? Biopic? Pekar narrates it, and he appears throughout the film (as do several of the real-life main characters), but the majority of the film is played out via excellent actors.

I reckon I ought to say that I'm not a huge fan of either artist, though I acnkowledge and appreciate their talent. Pekar's not even an artist, to be honest--he drew storyboards and write the text, which Crumb later translated into comics. Crumb, on the other hand, is an extremely talented draftsman, and his lettering is superb. (This, by the way, is one of my chief complaints with webcomics--many of them use crappy fonts in place of hand-lettered text. The worst offenders use Comic Sans; but any computer generated font is going to pale in comparison to decent hand-lettering.)

Crumb is famous for things like the the Keep on Truckin' cartoon, the hippy guru Mr. Natural, and the original comic book version of Fritz the Cat (though he had nothing to do with the movie of the same name). He's also well known for his odd illustrations of women, replete with big hips and odd proportions, as well as his various eccentricities (rail-thin, fedora, Coke-bottle glasses, bow ties, getting women to give him piggyback rides, etc.)

Pekar, aside from his thoroughly depressing comics, is perhaps best known through his bizarre appearances on the David Letterman show back in the 80s.

Crumb is a weird guy, but is relatively successful and appears to be happy. Pekar is even stranger, nowhere near as successful, and appears to be insane, and seems to surround himself with the similarly odd.

Believe it or not, even though this post seems to favor Crumb, I think I'll pick up a used copy of American Splendor at Blockbuster. Don't get me wrong, Crumb is great, but doesn't have as much replay value. Or maybe it will in the future, but the former has a certain gritty charm that I love.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Wineblogging - California Pinot Noir
Tonight I finished off a third of a bottle of 2001 Napa Ridge "Costal Ridge" Pinot Noir. (Unfortunately, I couldn't find a website for the vineyard.) Oddly, it was unimpressive on the start--a little too tannic and almost fizzy, but after settling for two days, it was a pleasant drink. Once it had breathed for a while, I was able to detect leather, tobacco, and black cherry, an intriguing combination. The wine didn't taste as complicated as it smelled, but perhaps it was better while younger.

Wine Review - French Sauvignon Blanc
I cracked this one open this weekend for some scallops, but am just now getting around to finishing the bottle and writing it up. The wine is the 2001 Sauvignon de Pennautier (Vin Pays d'Oc), produced by Vignobles Lorgeril. Read the link if you're so inclined, this family goes way back.

I like the white Burgundies a lot better, but this is a fruity and powerful white wine. It comes from the Mediterranean coast of France near Spain, in the Languedoc region, so I assume it's meant to go with the robust fare of the area rather than the refined palates farther north. It went well with the scallops, but I should have had a stronger side dish than haricots vert. This needed some tomatoes, maybe a bit of bleu cheese, or a bit of orange on the side. I tell you where this would be perfect--really tangy lime grilled chicken, maybe even some Mexican dishes.

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