DAVID BIANCULLI

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DOCUMENTARY NOW!: “SEARCHING FOR MR. LARSON: A LOVE LETTER FROM THE FAR SIDE”
March 13, 2019  | By David Bianculli

IFC, 11:00 p.m. ET

 

Fred Armisen stars in this week’s new edition, playing an enterprising fan looking for Gary Larson, the cartoonist who created The Far Side, then stopped of his own accord and became reclusive in a J.D. Salinger “don’t mess with me” sense. It’s been close to 25 years since Larson put an end to his own ubiquitous output and career – which seems amazing, since several of his illustrations and captions remain etched indelibly in my laugh-loving brain (cows driving past a field of humans, and rolling down the car window to shout “Yakity yak yak yak!”). I love the concept behind this faux documentary, about a fan getting financial support from the Internet to track down his idol, and co-writer Bill Hader is one of the clever minds behind it. An inspiration here may be Joel Allen Schroeder’s 2013 documentary Dear Mr. Watterson, in which fans extol the work of similarly reclusive cartoonist Bill Watterson, who ended his Calvin & Hobbes comic strip in 1995 – the same year Larson stopped his. But even without context, these Documentary Now! shows are deliciously entertaining.

 
 
 
 
 
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