"Weird sex. Obsession. Comic books." That’s what the movie poster for Crumb said back when the movie came out in 1995. If you were trying to figure out a way to market this documentary at that time, those are as good of jumping off points as any, and yet there’s no question that Crumb is about so much more.
I don’t recall what exactly it was that drew me to Crumb 15 years ago, as I was only tangentially familiar with Robert Crumb’s art, having spent countless hours in various head shops – many of which still stock R. Crumb comics to this day. It may have been the “David Lynch presents” tag that is attached to the film. As director Terry Zwigoff explains, Lynch literally had almost nothing to do with the film; by the time he’d seen Crumb, it was practically finished, so there wasn’t much he could do for it – except add his name, which Zwigoff jumped at, simply because he knew that it would bring many more people out to see the picture. It’s entirely probable that I was one of those people. Of course, the reviews at the time could also have gotten me into the theatre, as the movie was being hailed all over the place, and with good reason: Crumb is, simply put, one of the great documentaries. There are far more important documentaries out there, sure, but few offer up the same amount of sheer entertainment value as Crumb. This is likely only true, however, if everything the man is about doesn’t offend your potentially delicate sensibilities.
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