Art School Confidential
Bringing underground to the mainstream.
Zwigoff (CRUMB, GHOST WORLD) scores again with a fine take on Clowes' satirical thriller.
By Tym Stevens
Terry Zwigoff (Crumb, Ghost World) capped his comics film trilogy with this underrated adaption of Daniel Clowes' "Art School Confidential".
Clowes's original was a four-page throwaway satirizing his art school experience that took on huge life with a fandom that shared that background. Clowes expanded it out as a screenplay that cuts all comers with glib glee. Perhaps it was this acidic tone that cost it success, or the fact that the oddball comedy is quietly a murder mystery, but somehow viewers and crits missed out on a sharp and taut comedy.
This is unfortunate, because Zwigoff almost single-handedly brought underground and indie comix into mainstream film, and set the stage for (literally) related successful adaptions like American Splendor and The Diary of a Teenage Girl, as well as the stage musical of Fun Home. (And the protagonist's artwork, ghosted by famed instructor Caitlin Mitchell-Dayton, is especially terrific.)