Crumb Review

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 10.57.34 AM     Crumb, why did I decide to go back and watch a random documentary about one of the most provocative, controversial cartoonists out there? That’s because Crumb is a fascinating portrait of a damaged man and his crumbling family seeking different art forms to etch themselves into. Terry Zwigoff’s Crumb is an incredibly noche documentary that concentrates on exploring the eccentric Robert Crumb and his family as people, scanning how the Crumb family became this crazy artistic base for depressive souls to plaster themselves onto the Underground Comix scene, always taking risks but never really thinking about the repercussions as they saw this underground movement as a way to liberate themselves of all their insanity by translating it onto paper, noticing how in reality many human beings shared they’re same ideals once R. Crumb’s work took over the Underground Comix scene. Yes, this documentary focuses on Robert Crumb, yet it kind of glosses over his most famous work, sure it mentions Fritz the Cat and Zap Comix but it never really asks Crumb about his career in the comics industry, instead it focuses on why he chose to draw what he draws and Crumb’s family. Getting to know Crumb and his family close-up is incredibly revealing, leading to the discovery of why R. Crumb started drawing comics, how he became R. Crumb, and how his family forms and affects what he defines as his ideology even though its really a combination of the thoughts and feelings of the brotherly-side of the Crumb family. In deciding to not explore Crumb’s relation to the comic-book industry and his influences on writers today such as Daniel Clowes is where is believe the film partially fails on the promise of a Robert Crumb documentary, but then Zwigoff’s choice to explore Crumb and his family dynamic is what makes this documentary so singular and magnificent. Matching the choices Crumb makes as a cartoonist with the way he was raised and the way he is with his brother provides you with much more insight than getting some comic-book expert to analyze and tell you his theories on why he thinks R. Crumb draws the way he draws. Through these family conversations the viewer is able to comprehend the nature of Crumb and understand why he draws in such a drastic manner that goes against all society’s norms. Particularly the way he draws women. Based on simply the fact that R. Crumb’s sisters denied to be in this documentary speaks volumes about Crumb’s view of women. Showing that Crumb has the ability to draw women as realistically as possible in basically the opening scene where he draws a portrait of his wife Aline and then contrasting that against the women Crumb depicts in his comics creates this fascinating struggle that is explored by Zwigoff in this documentary. Failing to rightfully explore the legend of R. Crumb is the independant, underground, psychedelic comic scene but justifying that by exploring the relation between Crumb’s life philosophy and that of his family shines a new light on the artist, and though it runs somewhat to long for what it is, Crumb does end up being a fantastic, revealing documentary about the enigmatic Robert Crumb. Thus I rate it at an 79 out of 100.


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