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Crumb (Criterion) (1994)

Cast: Robert Crumb, Aline Kominsky, Robert Hughes, more...
Director: Terry Zwigoff
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Criterion
Genre: Documentary, Independent, Biographies, Art, Quirky Characters, Dysfunctional Families, Criterion Collection
Running Time: 119 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

So well-regarded was the documentary Crumb (1994) that the failure of it and of the same year's equally acclaimed Hoop Dreams (1994) to result in Oscar nominations caused a media furor which forced the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to revamp its documentary nomination process. Robert Crumb is a respected but controversial underground comic book artist and writer whose creations include the popular "Keep on Truckin'" and Fritz the Cat (1972). Crumb's adult subject matter includes weird sexual obsessions, social criticism, and personal, confessional observations about abnormal human psychology. The genesis and meaning of Crumb's work is explained through a series of interviews with his colleagues, former lovers, and especially family members, which reveal a horrific upbringing that has crippled both Crumb and his siblings -- but has also fueled the artist's groundbreaking work. A long-time friend of the film's subject, director Terry Zwigoff followed Crumb (1994) with another comic book-related project, Ghost World (2000), a drama based on a story from the anthology series "Eightball" by Daniel Clowes. ~ Karl Williams, All Movie Guide


  • Two audio commentaries, one featuring Zwigoff from 2010, and one with Zwigoff and critic Roger Ebert from 2006
  • More than fifty minutes of unused footage
  • Stills gallery

GreenCine Member Reviews

Interesting, but crumby by Chiend February 10, 2006 - 6:00 PM PST
4 out of 9 members found this review helpful
This documentary chronicling the life and work of underground cartoonist R. Crumb is seriously flawed. Not that it wasn?t candid in exposing the repellant side to his character (it gives an impressive psychological profile) but that it surely could have used some serious editing along the way. Crumb's reclusiveness and anti-social philosophy are simply the trademarks of his genius (and madness, I might add). On the plus side, it was refreshing to see a candid character study that refused to salute its subject and place him in a moral limelight. You see Crumb snubbing his fans, insulting his family and friends and basically showing us why he refused to be interviewed for years. When asked if he will miss his mother and siblings while he packs to move to France, he responds, "No. What do I care? I hardly ever see them anyway.") CRUMB shows the man as he really is, and it should come as no surprise he hated it as much as he did. He even told director Terry Zwigoff how much he hated it! On the other hand, the documentary is a mess. I had no problem seeing the darker side of a man whose talent I have admired all my life, but an hour could have been cut out without sacrificing much in the way of substance. There are parts where he visits his two brothers and reminisces about his old neighborhood that go on way too long. In one scene, the cameraman nearly falls over an outdoor railing while trying to get a shot of an illustration Crumb is alluding to. Why this embarrassing episode was left in the film will have to remain a mystery. Overall, this was a slow, plodding, inept documentary attempting to spotlight a fascinating personality. My greatest misgivings are that a project this ambitious never ended up in the hands of someone more certain of the direction in which to take it.

Wished I could title this Crumb-y, but it wasn't by nuways October 3, 2004 - 7:35 PM PDT
5 out of 6 members found this review helpful
The beauty of all the characters in the film comes from their honesty. It's amazing to hear how comfortable these true life characters are with their self proclaimed fetishes, perversions, depressions, and malodies...

The artwork is amazing but the story goes beyond it. I admire Zwigoff for enduring 6 years with this man and his intricacies...

I found myself laughing out loud and also very sad and withdrawn during the film...It brings out the peaks in the viewer that I think all of the Crumbs have felt their entire lives.

R. Crumb is the most normal one???? by larbeck July 27, 2003 - 8:16 PM PDT
3 out of 8 members found this review helpful
I loved R. Crumb and his work for a long time. The big shock of this movie is that as weird as he is, he is the most normal one in a SERIOUSLY strange family. After this film, I wanted to move to France, too and that has years before the coup of 2000 and this current war.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 7.56)
598 Votes
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Jonathan Rosenbaum's Alternative List to the AFI's
From Rosenbaum's 1998 article in the Chicago Reader: List-o-mania, Or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love American Movies (Films were listed alphabetically only.)
movies i watch over and over

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