Dear Mr. WattersonHD Closed Captioning
Joel Allen Schroeder
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Calvin & Hobbes took center stage immediately when it appeared in newspaper comics across the country in 1985. The funny pages were a big part of popular culture, and it was hard to find a comics reader who didn’t like Calvin & Hobbes. A decade later, when Bill Watterson retired his strip, millions of readers felt the void left by the sudden departure of Calvin and his tiger, and many fans would never find a satisfactory replacement. In his retirement, as he did during his career, Mr. Watterson has steadfastly declined to license his beloved Calvin and Hobbes characters for any wider commercial purposes, a principled decision that left perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars on the table. It has now been 18 years since the end of the Calvin & Hobbes era. Bill Watterson has kept an extremely low profile during this time, living a very private life in Ohio. Despite his quiet lifestyle, he is remembered and appreciated daily by fans who still enjoy his amazing collection of work. Dear Mr. Watterson is not a quest to find Bill Watterson, or to invade his privacy. It is an exploration to discover why his 'simple' comic strip has made such an impact on so many readers, and why it still means so much to us today.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 32
- Fresh: 20
- Rotten: 12
- Average Rating: 6.2/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Rotten: At one point, someone marvels at Calvin's sheer "lust for life," and while Mr. Schroeder, no doubt, has a parallel fascination with his favorite comic strip, the film doesn't follow through.
Fresh: Offers not only an in-depth look at the comic strip's unique influence but also a concise snapshot of the dwindling state of newspapers and their "funny pages."
Fresh: Any "Calvin and Hobbes" fan will enjoy watching Schroeder's film, which is more a love letter to the strip and its publicity-shy creator than anything else.
Fresh: If nothing else, it's a pleasant reminder that if you haven't taken those Calvin & Hobbes anthologies off the shelf in a while, maybe it's time to go exploring again.
If you love Calvin & Hobbes (of course you do!), this will be a happy time to remind you to go back and pull out your paperback copies to revisit the fun. However, if you were hoping for a love letter and thank you to Mr. Watterson, this is NOT the movie for you. It feels a bit like Trekkies for C&H. The documentarian was EXTREMELY lucky because the love for C&H got him some great people to interview. It is a shame he didn't learn how to interview folks for a documentary or have the gratitude to Mr. Watterson for sharing your art and giving us something to love and cherish for all time come through as the main message of the film.
The best part of the film were the displays of Calvin & Hobbes strips. The narration is choppy and the director shows no talent as a storyteller. Multiple talking heads are never identified making it hard to care what they say. It would be best to watch this with the sound off. Then you can experience Watterson’s genius without stupid remarks about “puts a smile on my face” or watching people paging through old comics and goofily grinning. This is not a smart film and would have been better if it simply relied on the clever reveals of the old comic strips. The rest is annoying and dull. Dig out your old Calvin & Hobbes anthologies instead.
Lame talking heads
We lasted 24 minutes into this series of random people’s memories about how the comic strip was important to them, including such deep insights as where on the walls they pasted each Sunday’s cartoon and which particular strip was their favorite. We are big fans of Calvin & Hobbes and were hoping for something deep, new or informative. This movie had none of that - just one person after another saying how much they liked it and reminiscing.
Perhaps the Twitter and Facebook era has fooled people into believing that every thought they have is worthy of sharing with the world.