A painter I knew in Austin, who had attended art school at UT, once told me that he asked one of his instructors if he knew how to draw Bullwinkle. When the instructor confessed that he couldn't render a depiction of the cartoon moose, my friend concluded that his instructor was unqualified to teach him and dropped out of the program.
For those who attended art school or knew anyone who did or have any familiarity with the art world, Art School Confidential will be an enjoyable film. Although the portrayal is no where near as nuanced as that of Claire Fisher's art school career in Six Feet Under, Zwigoff and Clowes fairly well lampoon the pretensions and politics of art school. The movie abounds with in-jokes, from the name of the school to the often dead-on parodies of art student projects [Zwigoff and Clowes ring much truer on this than the too-professional-by-half LAC-Arts pieces depicted in Six Feet Under]. The film also skewers the types one tends to find in such programs [although that might be like shooting fish in a barrel] and is adept at parodying the art-star and theory-heavy tendencies of the contemporary art world [one is tempted to point to Matthew Barney as Exhibit A of this phenomenon if it weren't for the fact that the beauty, humor and audacity of his work allows one to forgive the deficiencies of much of its content].
What the film doesn't do is deliver particularly strong characters. Since the story hangs on an innocent, young artist who becomes corrupted by his aspirations [shades of Pierre and Lost Illusions] Max Minghella's Jerome makes for a particularly soft center. John Malkovich and Jim Broadbent offset this somewhat as his erstwhile mentors, but the strength of Art School Confidential lies mainly with the ideas presented by Clowes and Zwigoff, not with the characters embodying them. Still it's a funny movie and, although nowhere near as good as Crumb or Bad Santa, bears watching [albeit as a rental].