Synopsis: Harvey Pekar is file clerk at the local VA hospital. His interactions with his co-workers offer some relief from the monotony, and their discussions encompass everything from music to the decline of American culture to new flavors of jellybeans and life itself. At home, Harvey fills his days with reading, writing and listening to jazz. His apartment is filled with thousands of books and LPs, and he regularly scours Cleveland's thrift stores and garage sales for more, savoring the rare joy of a 25-cent find. It is at one of these junk sales that Harvey meets Robert Crumb, a greeting card artist and music enthusiast. When, years later, Crumb finds international success for his underground comics, the idea that comic books can be a valid art form for adults inspires Harvey to write his own brand of comic book. An admirer of naturalist writers like Theodore Dreiser, Harvey makes his American Splendor a truthful, unsentimental record of his working-class life, a warts-and-all self portrait.
Actors: Chris Ambrose, Joey Krajcar, Josh Hutcherson, Cameron Carter
Production: Fine Line Features
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 31 wins & 49 nominations.
 
IMDB:
7.5
Metacritic:
90
Rotten Tomatoes:
94%
R
Year:
2003
101 min
$5,977,550
Website
344 Views

FADE IN:

.

INT. HARVEY’S BEDROOM - NIGHT

A BEDROOM MIRROR.

The room is dark. A perfectly square mirror hangs crooked on

.

a wall.

Suddenly, out of the darkness, the reflection of a man’s face

comes into focus. He stares straight ahead, perhaps studying

his own unrecognizable reflection. It’s quite clear this is

a portrait of sickness; the man’s pallor is gray, his eyes

are confused. There is something most definitely wrong.

.

Tentatively, the figure steps away from the mirror, leaving .

the frame empty and dark.

ANGLE ON BED .

.

Like a ghost, the naked man (Harvey) stands over his bed

staring down at his sleeping wife (Joyce). In the eerie

.

light, he’s almost translucent.

HARVEY:

(faintly) .

Joyce ... Joyce?

Joyce springs up, alarmed. .

JOYCE:

What are you

What’s wrong, Harvey?

doing up?

Harvey just stands there for a moment saying nothing.

JOYCE (cont’d)

What is it?

HARVEY:

(delirious, out of breath)

Tell me the truth. Am I some guy

who writes about himself in a comic

book? Or am I just --am I just a

character in that book?

.

Joyce rubs her eyes.

JOYCE:

Harvey ...

2.

HARVEY:

If I die, will ‘dat character keep

goin’? Or will he just fade away

...

Joyce just stares at him, unsure how to answer. Suddenly

Harvey collapses.

Joyce leaps from the bed, nervous, hysterical. She gets down

on the floor and shakes him.

JOYCE:

Omigod, Harvey! Harvey, wake up!

CLOSE ON HARVEY’S FACE

His eyes remain closed, his expression far, far away.

FADE TO BLACK:

EXT. CLEVELAND ROW HOUSE - FALL - 1956 - DAY

FADE UP ON:

A surreal kaleidoscope of black, white and red. Similar to

the mirror scene above, the colors slowly come into focus,

revealing the chiseled features of a familiar face. But this

time we see that it is not a real face, but rather a plastic

mask of the D.C. Comic hero -- SUPERMAN.

.

INTERTITLE:
CLEVELAND OHIO, 1956

CLOSE ON SUPERMAN MASK

It glows eerily in the light of a porch lamp. A child’s

pupils glare through the eye holes ...

The camera pans from SUPERMAN to the masked face of another

caped-crusader:
BATMAN. Batman turns toward his loyal sidekick

ROBIN, who clutches a plastic, trick-or-treat pumpkin.

Next, we find THE GREEN LANTERN as he reaches up to ring the

doorbell. The camera finally rests on the last boy: an

unkempt KID wearing no costume at all.

Looking irritated and removed from the rest of the group, the

KID shoves his hands in the pockets of his shearling coat.

He spits and rolls his eyes as a lady answers the door.

The brick home is as working class as it gets. The lady at

the door is a 1950’s HOUSEWIFE.

3.

BOYS:

(in unison)

Trick or treat!!

HOUSEWIFE:

Well, look at this! All the superheroes

on the porch! Ain’t that

cute.

The Lady drops a candy apple in each boy’s container.

HOUSEWIFE (cont’d)

(still yelling)

We got Superman here, Batman, his

sidekick ROBIN, ohh, The Green

Lantern even ...

She finally stops at the costumeless KID. He halfheartedly

holds up a ratty, stained pillowcase.

HOUSEWIFE (cont’d)

And what about you young man?

KID:

What about what?

The other boys giggle. The kid flashes them a “kick yer ass”

look.

HOUSEWIFE:

Who are you supposed to be?

The kid shrugs.

KID:

I’m Harvey Pekar (pronounced “Pee

Car”).

HOUSEWIFE:

Harvey Pekar? That doesn’t sound

like a super hero to me...

BOYS:

(mumbling)

Pecker, Pecker ...

KID:

I ain’t no super hero, lady. I’m

just a kid from the neighborhood,

alright?

The Housewife stares at him, confused.

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Harvey Pekar

Harvey Lawrence Pekar was an American underground comic book writer, music critic, and media personality, best known for his autobiographical American Splendor comic series. more…

All Harvey Pekar scripts | Harvey Pekar Scripts

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