ART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL (Terry Zwigoff, 2006)
7 Ludlow St. between Canal & Hester Sts.
Saturday, May 20, 4:00
Series runs May 19-21
Director Terry Zwigoff, who has claimed to “not be interested in comics too much” and who made the fab 1995 documentary Crumb, about comic book artist R. Crumb, reteamed with comics legend Daniel Clowes for the outrageously entertaining Art School Confidential, inspired by a four-page black-and-white strip Clowes wrote in a 1991 edition of his comic book Eightball. (The two previously worked together in 2001 on the outstanding Ghost World, earning them an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.) Clowes has expanded Art School Confidential into a very funny satire/murder mystery set in a New York City art school based somewhat on Pratt in Brooklyn (though the film was shot in Southern California). Max Minghella (The Social Network, The Handmaid’s Tale) stars as Jerome Platz, an art student from the suburbs who dreams of becoming the next Picasso. Used to being beat up by bullies, he is desperately looking to fit in somewhere, and he might just find his place in Strathmore art school, along with Beat Girl, Kiss-Ass, Army Jacket, Vegan, Filthy-Haired Girl, Preppy Girl, Nympho, and other stereotypes, as well as the art teacher claiming to be preparing for his own exhibition (John Malkovich, also one of the film’s producers). Jerome is befriended by Bardo (Joel David Moore), a disillusioned student who can’t figure out yet which stereotype Jerome is. Bardo introduces Jerome to Jimmy (Jim Broadbent), a drunken, failed artist who represents many a Strathmore student’s future. Jerome falls hard for Audrey (Sophia Myles), a part-time model who is also being courted by the ridiculously straitlaced and seemingly talentless, though celebrated, Jonah (Matt Keeslar). And one of Jerome’s roommates, the hyperactive Vince (Ethan Suplee), is making a movie about the Strathmore Strangler, who has claimed several victims and is still on the loose. Art School Confidential gets just about everything right (save for two brief appearances of the boom mic), turning clichés inside out in hysterical ways. You don’t have to be a comic-book fan geek to love this film, which is screening May 20 at 4:00 as part of Metrograph’s weekend tribute to Zwigoff, who will be on hand to discuss the work. The series also includes Ghost World, Louie Bluie, Crumb, and the New York premiere of the director’s cut of Bad Santa, with Zwigoff at Metrograph for all screenings.