Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Art School Confidential
written by Daniel Clowes
directed by Terry Zwigoff

Every artist occasionally makes a dud. It's inevitable.
Sadly, this happens to be that occasional dud for Terry Zwigoff. He's had a storied career, starting with his brilliant portrait of underground comics legend R Crumb, his first foray into the Clowes universe in Ghost World, his genius bio-pic of Harvey Pekar, American Splendor, and the splendidly evil holiday film Bad Santa.
Art School Confidential isn't a total bomb. It's got great characters, especially John Malkovich's turn as Professor Sandiford. It handles the art school experience terrifically -- with so much truth in the fakery and politics of the classroom that some might think it almost a memoir.
However, plotwise, the film tries too much. And ends up being entirely vanilla where it could have been as evil as Bad Santa or as funny as a National Lampoon picture.
If you're a huge fan or a budding artist, it might be worth putting in your NetFlix queue. Otherwise, read some Eightball instead.

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