There have been a few movies about cartoonists before but none of them have been as weird and off the wall as Funny Pages. This film is a cross between American Splendor and a coming-of-age film. It has a period look to it that takes place back in the 80s but it’s a modern film. It just looks dirty and bland because the filmmaker was trying to depict New Jersey in this particular way. As an added note it’s not funny either which the title suggests.
Robert (Daniel Zolghadri) is a teenager, who’s an inspiring cartoonist, growing up in Princeton, New Jersey. A middle-class area. He witnesses a tragedy of a family member and that causes him to want to go out on his own and try to make something of himself. This doesn’t include college which his parents are vehemently against. He does get a job in a law office where he meets an ex-colorist from IMAGE named Wallace Shearer (Matthew Maher) comics. He’s an odd bird. He also gets a crappy apartment he shares with two older gentlemen which is a bit weird.
I don’t think I’ve seen a film that looks this ugly in years. Yes, the filmmaker Owen Kline was going for a muted look to make it look dirty and grimy but it looks really bad. I grew up in some very bad places and the apartment in this film is almost as bad as the places I lived as a kid. Who knew New Jersey could look this bad? The heat in Florida is pretty sweltering but the way those guys were sweating in that apartment brought back some bad memories of when the ac went out in my house. This dirt, sweat, and grime were very authentic.
Young kids or teenagers need role models. They should turn to their parents as role models, but sometimes parental figures can be overbearing. So kids turn to other role models like teachers, coaches, or bosses as people they look up to. The kid in this film started looking up to the wrong man. He’s just a creepy old guy who lies and is a scam artist. This is not the man this kid should be looking up to at all. Where ad his parents aren’t saints but they do care about him and he doesn’t realize it. Most kids don’t these days.
This film had an interesting premise about a kid who wanted to be a cartoonist. He hung out at a comic book store and read them and his life was good. Until he got in his own head and started to overthink what was actually a good thing he had going on in his life. I can relate to this story in a way except for the well-to-do parents. My brother and I had similar childhoods as comic book fans and collectors. We lived in tough places like this as kids. It’s not an easy life. The execution of the story was the failing aspect of this film.
The acting was ok but the delivery of the dialogue, which wasn’t funny, was not good at all. This script was atrocious and even the most seasoned thespian couldn’t have done justice to these words. The film looked ugly and felt dirty and the overall execution of this film was pure trash. I was very unhappy when it was over because I had wasted an hour and a half of my time on this pure garbage. This film had the potential to be something good but it wasn’t and the direction and writing were awful. I don’t go out of my way to see bad films, this may be the worst film I’ve seen this year so far.
Dan Skip Allen
VOD August 26th