dearmr.watterson3Coming to theatres and VOD this Friday, November 15: DEAR MR WATTERSON

Joel Allen Schroeder’s tribute to CALVIN & HOBBES had its world premiere earlier this year at Cleveland. Its festival circuit has also included New Orleans, deadCENTER, Wisconsin, Chagrin Doc, Savannah, and Kansas City, among others.

CALVIN & HOBBES, in many people’s eyes the last, best syndicated comic strip of all time, came to an end in 1995 after a decade of creator Bill Watterson’s inspired, imaginative, and hilarious work. Still fondly remembered, perhaps in part because of Watterson’s refusal to bow to pressures to commercialize his creation via merchandising, the strip inspired director Schroeder to examine its history and impact to this day. Despite its title, the film (thankfully) purposefully avoids seeking out the notoriously reclusive cartoonist – though the director does visit Watterson’s hometown of Chagrin Falls OH – to instead focus on the inventive work itself, turning to scores of cartoonists and art historians for their reflections. As a great admirer of the comic strip, the project holds great appeal, and is very watchable, despite fairly conventional filmmaking, a distractingly overused score, and the fairly superfluous inclusion of the filmmaker as a character – to the latter point, Schroeder features plenty of other speakers who testify about their love and connection to CALVIN & HOBBES, so his own presence feels fanboyish. Still, Schroeder’s film does offer great background about the history of the comic strip, employs illustrations well, and evokes happy memories of pouring through collections like SOMETHING UNDER THE BED IS DROOLING, and, in doing so, amply succeeds in its mission.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Recommendations, Releases

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