I finally saw American Splendor this week thanks to the borrowing system at the San Francisco Public Library. For those unfamiliar with the film it is a biopic of Harvey Pekar, writer of the American Splendor (trailer) comics and co-author of Our Year with Cancer.
Others of you may be familiar with pieces of Pekar’s life such as his infamous guest appearances on the David Letterman Show or his portrayal of the complexities of real life in his comic series.
In the film Harvey is portrayed beautifully Paul Giamatti (as well as making many appearances himself), who interacts with a cast of characters including his colleague Toby, brought to life by Judah Friedlander of stand-up comic and 30 Rock fame.
The scene below between Pekar and Toby really stuck with me after the movie finished. The conversation is authentic and probing over such a mundane topic. If Pekar teaches us anything through his work and life it is that every day holds its own mysteries and while seemingly dull, possesses all of the extraordinary details we usually seek out in fiction. You just have to pick up your stick and poke it a bit.
For anyone who thinks Friedlander’s performance may be over the top, take a moment to watch the clip below of the real life Genuine Nerd Toby Radloff aka Mr. Nerdwrench from a local cable access show.