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American Splendor

American Splendor

Date: Sep 10 2003


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

In the new movie American Splendor, Harvey Pekar is a file clerk at the local 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.
At one point, Harvey decides to write his own comic book. His “American Splendor” comic earns Harvey fame throughout the 1980s and eventually leads him to open his own comic book store with his girlfriend. 
Zach recently saw American Splendor. Listen in to his conversation with Miguel to hear what he thinks about it.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Zach:  Dude, I saw this really cool movie this week.

Miguel:  What was it?

Zach:  Um, it’s called American Splendor, and it was… There was a comic book called “American Splendor” and the movie was about the guy that wrote the comic book.

Miguel:  It’s kind of like an underground comic or something, like it’s kind of strange or weird or something?

Zach:  Yeah. He, he was, he was friends with Robert Crumb. He was kind of the, the starter of the underground comic movement, and so Crumb would illustrate some of his stories.

Miguel:  So, what does it mean – underground comic? Is it like weird people and weird subject matter? Or, what is it all about?

Zach:  Yeah. It’s just kind of like taking a, taking a different look at life, and yeah, it gets kind of weird, sometimes it gets really cynical, and, uh… But this particular comic was about just, you know, your average Joe that – he was a filing clerk, um, and he would just walk around and he saw things in a really insightful way. He would, he would read a lot into an average conversation, or, you know, like, you’re at the grocery store trying to figure out what line to go to.

Miguel:  And that was the basis for the comic book?

Zach:  Yeah! It just, it kinda tracked his whole life, um, so everybody he knew showed up in the comic book.

Miguel:  Wow. That sounds kinda interesting. Is the movie good?

Zach:  Oh, the movie’s great. The way they did it was really cool.

Miguel:  Wow. I’ll definitely have to check that out.



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I had never even heard of American Splendor until Zach mentioned it. He actually makes it sound quite intriguing. I think I’ll check it out if I get the chance.
See you at the movies!


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