Synopsis: This movie chronicles the life and times of R. Crumb. Robert Crumb is the cartoonist/artist who drew Keep On Truckin', Fritz the Cat, and played a major pioneering role in the genesis of underground comix. Through interviews with his mother, two brothers, wife, and ex-girlfriends, as well as selections from his vast quantity of graphic art, we are treated to a darkly comic ride through one man's subconscious mind. As stream-of-consciousness images incessantly flow forth from the tip of his pen, biting social satire is revealed, often along with a disturbing and haunting vision of Crumb's own betes noires and inadequacies. As his acid-trip induced images flicker across our own retinas, we gain a little insight into this complex and highly creative individual.
Director(s): Terry Zwigoff
Production: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  16 wins & 5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
119 min

If I don't draw for a while,

I get really crazy.

I start feeling depressed and suicidal

if I don't get to draw.

But sometimes when I'm drawing,

I feel suicidal, too.

What are you trying to get at

in your work?


I don't know.

I don't work in terms of conscious

messages. I can't do that.

It has to be something...

I'm revealing to myself while

I'm doing it, which is hard to explain.

Which means that while I'm doing it,

I don't know exactly what it's about.

You have to have the courage

to take that chance.

What's gonna come out?

What's coming out of this?

I enjoy drawing.

It's a deeply ingrained habit.

It's all because of my brother Charles.

Hello, Mother?

I'm in Philadelphia.

I'm going to give a talk

at the art school downtown tomorrow.

So Terry and this film crew

are here with me.

They'd like to come over

and drop me off there...

and talk possibly to Charles...

about maybe filming him

if you're not...

He doesn't want to do it?


All right.

That's okay.

Doesn't matter.

Not if you don't want him to.

I certainly won't...

All right. Bye.

Well, that's that.

I start with this one...

because it's probably the thing

I'm most well-known for.

You could see it for a long time

on truck mud flaps.

I don't know why it caught

the popular imagination.

It caused me nothing but headaches

for ten years after I drew it:

lawsuits and I.R.S. problems.

It was a nightmare just because

of this stupid Keep on truckin.

So don't anybody come to me and say,

Hey, R.! Keep on truckin!

This is probably the next thing...

I'm most well-known for.

I'm trying to hook you in

to who I am.

This sold millions of copies.

I got $600...

from CBS records in 1968.

And they kept my artwork.

They stole my artwork, those bastards.

I heard recently

that the original of this...

sold at Sotheby's for $21,000.

This is the third thing

I'm the most well-known for...

because this was made into

a major full-length animated cartoon...

which was an embarrassment to me

for the rest of my life.

I have to say I had nothing to do

with the cartoon.

I didn't want them to do it.

I thought they were schlockmeisters.

They just rolled right over me.

So I had this character killed in a

later story. I had a female ostrich...

stab him in the head with an ice pick.

When I first met him,

he never talked, he just drew.

He was catatonic,

and the only voice he had was his pen.

He was very productive.

My mother thought he was retarded

when she met him.

She said, Some people like cripples,

some like retards.

She thought I was a real creep

when she first met me.

He's more comfortable after knowing

the same people for a long time.

He's a little more communicative...

but still he clams up.

He gets stilted in his conversation

around anybody he doesn't know well.

That's why I'm such

an exciting subject for a movie.


Watch out with those weights.

- Don't hit me with those things.

- Don't go behind me.

These rich rednecks have moved out here

and built their dream homes...

on the top of every single hill.

There used to be nothing over here.

Then these people bought this property.

- They might hear you.

- Look at this house.

- Not too loud.

- Right above our house.

- Looks right into Robert's studio.

- Be quiet.

I don't care if they hear me.

Couldn't be any ruder than them

putting their house right above mine.

What do I care?

I guess not, since we're moving

to France, what do you care?

They have a plan to widen this road and

put it through where these trees are.

There's a big X that

the surveyors sprayed on here...

and I erased it the other day.

Then I took out their sticks

from the other side of the road.

They're going to widen this road...

and take a big chunk of land

out of that side with all these trees.

Put 12 dream homes back in there.

We decided to chain ourselves to these

oak trees if they try and take them out.

Our house is so humble

nestled against the hill. Tasteful.

All these other houses are oriented

to look down at our place...

because it's like a backdrop for

their air-conditioned nightmare houses.

Each hilltop can view

each other hilltop. The shmucks.

I'm drawing portraits of girls I had

crushes on in high school in Delaware.

This one I'm drawing now

is Winona Newhouse...

affectionately known among the boys

as The Shelf.

She had this phenomenal rear shelf.

She was nice, too, actually.

She was kind to me.

This one here, Naomi Wilson...

was this cross-eyed farm girl

that wore homemade clothes.

I secretly had a crush on her.

I was sexually attracted to her.

Of course, you'd never dare

admit it openly...

that you like this funky girl

that had B.O. and hairy legs.

That's Jean Strahle. I liked her, too.

She was also considered a dork.

She was a bookwormy type

that talked with a lisp...

and had shapely, powerful legs.

I never actually had any contact

with these girls...

except I used to play footsie

with this one.

Where are they now?

Thirty years ago.

They're all middle-aged housewives now.

Jesus, what a thought.

Winona. I wish she was here now...

this 17-year-old Winona...

instead of this film crew.

When I listen to old music,

it's one of the few times...

I actually have a kind of love

for humanity.

You hear the best part of the soul

of the common people.

It's their way of expressing...

their connection to eternity

or whatever you want to call it.

Modern music doesn't have

that calamitous loss.

People can't express themselves

that way anymore.

It was late 1948...

when I was five years old, we moved

to this section of Philadelphia.

This is this project that we lived in.

I can't remember which we lived in.

They all look the same.

Jesus. It's grim here.

Oh, my God! This is where

we went to the market.

There was a dime store

that sold toys there.

We used to buy candy and stuff

and comic books.

The three brothers, me, Charles

and Maxon, hung around together a lot.

We'd rummage for stuff in the dump.

One time Charles brought this thing

back from the dump.

It was this beautiful wooden truck.

Like an ice cream truck made of wood.

I wanted it really bad.

He wouldn't let me touch it.

He was spiteful that way.

So I made a big fuss,

and I told my mother.

She said, Charles,

let him play with that.

He said, Okay.

About 15 minutes later, he said,

Okay, you can play with it now.

I ran outside, and he had smashed it

to smithereens against the wall.

Charles, you read

any good books lately?

Yeah, I guess I have.

I don't know.

You seem to be recycling

a lot of these books.

What do you mean by recycling?

You read them 20 years ago.

Now you're reading them again.

I'm reading them again. Yeah.

I do that because

there's nothing else to do.

You've read them all.

You ever read anything new?

I haven't read Kant or Hegel.

- You have any interest in that stuff?

- Maybe I'll get around to reading them.

- You read any recent writers?

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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