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Comic Book / Art School Confidential

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Art School Confidential began life as a four-page black-and-white comic by Daniel Clowes for his Anthology Comic, Eightball. It became very popular first among Clowes' friends and then with other former college art students. It inspired a 2006 film of the same name directed by Terry Zwigoff (who'd previously adapted Clowes's Ghost World for the screen).

In the movie, Jerome (Max Minghella) has idolized Picasso from a very young age and wants to be a famous artist (possibly just so he can meet girls). When he gets to Strathmore College, he very becomes very disappointed with the state of affairs, surrounded by incomprehensible art, crazy students, an even crazier alumni, and teachers who really don't care. He becomes increasingly bitter and alienates everyone around him.



  • Aggressive Categorism: Bardo invokes this on Jerome's first day by pointing out exactly what stereotype each student falls into, including himself as "The Guy Who Keeps Dropping Out Because He's Too Afraid To Try Anything New."
  • Agony of the Feet: During the opening credits, a barefoot hippie girl steps on a broken beer bottle left on the floor.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Jerome literally gets on his hands an knees and begs the curator of an exhibit to allow him to attend just so he can see Audrey. The curator complies by letting him work the bar.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: With the exception of Audrey and one girl in Jerome's high school he draws a portrait of, there isn't a single character in the film who isn't selfish, narcissistic or hostile. Even Jerome seems to at least partially want to become an artist to meet girls.
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  • Bittersweet Ending: Jerome finally becomes a famous and well-respected artist, but only because he's in jail for a crime he didn't commit and his peers are desperate to protest anything and can't leave, or else he'll see a steep decline in popularity. At least he and Audrey get together.
  • Butt-Monkey: The movie makes a grand effort to see how much it can make Jerome's life a living hell: his artistic talents get him beaten up as a child and taken advantage of as a teen. It's also implied that his family are secretly ashamed of him because they assume that he's Gay. He spends a majority of the film having his passion and love for art destroyed by pretentious students, apathetic professors, alumni who tell him he's wasting his time and successful artists who treat him like a pest. Worst of all, he's repeatedly shown up by the the most mediocre student in the class, who isn't even a student, but an undercover cop. And at his lowest point, he's arrested for a crime he had nothing to do with, in the middle of a suicide attempt, no less!.
  • Eating Lunch Alone
  • Erudite Stoner: Bardo
  • Hippie Teacher
  • Humans Are Flawed: By Jerome during a critique when a girl's drawing is referred to as "human". It really didn't help that hers looked like it had been done by a disinterested three-year-old, while a realistic self-portrait he slaved over was criticized as being a valueless piece of shit that looked like it had been made by a machine.
  • Jerk Ass Has A Point: Jerome goes to the photography exhibit of an obnoxious female classmate but only because he wants to learn the name of the model in the photos. You can't really blame the classmate for calling him as asshole, especially since Jerome mainly sees art as a way to get into the pants of pretty girls.
  • Jerk Jock:
    • Subverted. Jonah is out of place at art school, but is popular for being a cool guy, and a decent artist. Too bad he's a cop.
    • Played straighter with some of his colleagues, though - they can't seem to follow why he takes his assignments so seriously when it's just a cover. Um, maybe because he's trying to maintain said cover?
  • Kafka Comedy: The filmmakers' tongues were firmly in their cheeks.
  • Kick the Dog: Jerome's suicide attempt is ruined when he gets arrested for a crime he didn't commit.
  • Mad Artist: Jimmy.
  • Meaningful Name: Strathmore College is named after an art supply company of the same name, who provided the production with sketchbooks.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Jerome is desperate to meet cute girls once he gets to college, but only someone he's in love with.
  • No Smoking: Don't smoke in Jimmy's apartment.
  • Only Sane Man: Jerome is the only one in his class who realizes how pretentious and meaningless (see: lazy) his peers' artwork is. He also seems to be, with the exception of Jimmy, the only artist shown who can actually draw!
  • Refuge in Audacity: The police aren't popular at Strathmore because they arrested a student for having paintings that say things like "Legalize Genocide".
  • Small Name, Big Ego: It's easier to list the characters who aren't.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The movie was billed as a comedy, but it exhausts its entire supply of jokes (almost all of them lifted directly from the comic) within the first half hour or so (all within one scene, really) and spends the rest of the movie trying to do this really tense Mind Screw thing as Jerome continually manages to inadvertently engineer the circumstances under which he gets convicted of the murders Jimmy's been committing. The end of the movie tries to get back to comedy in the end credits, where his former classmates claim in interviews that their scoffing was just being blind to the truth, and now that he's a murderer they realize Jerome is an artistic genius.
  • Transparent Closet: Matthew
  • The Unfavorite: Not explicitly shown, but it's implied that Jerome's parents are none-too-happy about his career choice.