Crumb (1994)

crumb poster 1994 movie documentary
9.0 Overall Score

A simply bizarre person

Not very structured if a person is expecting a biopic

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Crumb

Studio:   Superior Pictures

Genre(s):   Documentary

Release Date(s):   September 10, 1994 (Toronto International Film Festival)/April 28, 1995 (USA)

MPAA Rating:   R

crumb documentary women photoshoot

Yep…Mr. Natural right here

Robert Crumb has lived a strange life.  With his family of eccentrics, Crumb was destined for a different world.  The love of drawing took over Crumb’s life and through his art, Crumb found fame.  Now, Crumb is older and wiser and reflecting on his life and his art…and you never know what Crumb (or his family) might say.

Directed by Terry Zwigoff, Crumb is a documentary of the life of Robert Crumb (born August 30, 1943).  The film was released to critical acclaim and was nominated (and won) multiple awards.  The film received a Criterion Collection release (Criterion #533).

crumb robert art documentary

The art

Crumb is an odd, odd guy.  If I hadn’t seen multiple interviews with the artist, you’d almost believe that the documentary was a parody of other documentaries…he and his entire family is just too strange.  The honesty of Crumb is real which is most shocking.

The movie really isn’t much of a biopic.  The picture does give some slight background into Crumb and his past, but it mostly just follows him around, interviews him and his family, and tries to give the viewer insight into his art and his inspirations through critics and glimpses into his past.  It provides a decent balance of what the viewer must know and what they don’t need to know.

Crumb and his kin are all the characters that the movie needs.  You could watch a documentary about anyone tied to Crumb which goes to show that everyone does have a story.  Crumb is interesting in that despite the fame (and apparently fortune) that ended up coming from his artwork, you can still be low key and “normal” (proving also that “normal” is a relative term).

crumb documentary charles crumb suicide

The tragic character of the film

The movie has a tragic sense in Robert’s brother Charles.  In the movie, Crumb talks to Robert about his suicide attempts and his “failures”.  Before the film was released, Charles ended up committing suicide and there is some reflection in the film on this with Crumb realizing his brother’s infatuation with the story of Treasure Island was tied to a sexual fascination with the young Bobby Driscoll who was in the movie adaptation…and the years of repressing this took its toll eventually.  Crumb might be about Robert, but it also feels it is about Charles (who the film is dedicated to).

Crumb went through a lot to be made including Zwigoff’s attempts to convince Crumb to allow it to be made.  Crumb is worth checking out.  It has a bit of a Grey Gardens feel to it but it is more streamlined and tells a story.  Zwigoff shows a lot of skill with this film and his own strange twisted vision of the world…something that makes even the offbeat part of society.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

One Comment on "Crumb (1994)"

  1. J.P. McPickleshitter September 21, 2018 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    I found this nearly unwatchable, due to him & his brother’s deep mental problems
    Sure, he’s an accomplished artist, but I couldn’t stand listening to their sexual fantasies and views towards women.

    I was hoping for a deeper insight into the man and, unfortunately, the film delivered. Totally off-putting.

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