Art School Confidential

Search Movies

The reunion of director Terry Zwigoff with the writer of his Ghost World, graphic novelist Daniel Clowes, seemed to bode well for his recovery from the badness of his Bad Santa. Boding even better, the subject matter -- the lowdown on high art in higher education -- must be one that a graphic artist would have some first-hand experience of. Ghost World itself touched lightly on the subject of art instruction, but the subject awaited a fuller fondling. And if the hoped-for recovery proves to be only partial, it is nevertheless encouraging. The assemblage of characters, plausibly culled from direct observation, has the ring of truth and the tinkle of mirth: the weary, jaded, disappointed, self-deluding, and self-loathing professors ("The faculty is made up of old failures who only teach for the health insurance"), the graduate who measures his success in the art world in dollars alone, the unsuccessful graduate pickled in vodka, and the current undergraduate crop of "walking clichés," the perennial dropout, the constant suck-up ("Professor Okamura, what are some of your favorite Halloween memories?"), the snow jobber who has learned to advance abstruse theory in place of actual work ("I'll buy that," his teacher accedes), the closet homosexual (artistic medium: the sewing machine) who is the last one to recognize his homosexuality, the derivative dead-teenager filmmaker who feels his work is original because he himself has never done it before, and of course the central figure (Max Minghella, a cross between young Tony Perkins and young Richard Thomas), "the class douche bag" in the lexicon of clichés, a sensitive virgin whose goals are to be "the greatest artist of the 21st Century" and, more urgently, to get laid. It is to the credit of Zwigoff and Clowes as satirists that we see the absurdity of the protagonist as much as that of everyone else: an unflattering portrait of the artist as a young man, or vice versa, and an equally unflattering class portrait. The subplot of a serial strangler on campus, quite apart from its triteness, amounts to little more than filler, and very much of a detour. And even when the film stays on point, it does not always make the best use of its time. (In addition to -- or rather, in subtraction from -- all the unimpeachable knowingness, there is also a lot of randomness and cursoriness.) Still, it fills, or fractionally fills, a definite void and a definite need. Sophia Myles, John Malkovich, Jim Broadbent, Steve Buscemi, Anjelica Huston. (2006) — Duncan Shepherd

Rated R | 1 hour, 42 minutes
View Trailer


This movie is not currently in theaters.


Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs