Confessions of a Superhero (DVD Review)16 Dec, 2007 By: John Latchem
Prebook 12/18/07; Street 1/22/08
Arts Alliance America
Rated ‘R' for some language.
Confessions of a Superhero is a fascinating, sad and sometimes poignant tale of those who reach for the Hollywood dream and don't quite make it.
The film explores what motivates those who dress as the classic characters (sometimes in horrible costumes) parading down Hollywood Boulevard to pose for pictures with tourists. They aren't sanctioned by local businesses, and some consider them little more than panhandlers. Johnny Grant, honorary mayor of Hollywood, wants them all thrown out. They aren't allowed to ask for money, but can tell tourists they work for tips, and make anywhere from $30 a day to $150 per hour.
Director Matt Ogens' lineup is a hard-luck Justice League: Christopher Lloyd Dennis (Superman), Jennifer Gehrt (Wonder Woman), Maxwell Allen (Batman) and Joe McQueen (The Incredible Hulk). All are wannabe actors who express some regrets about their life path, but they keep dragging themselves out there on the slim hope a producer will offer them their big break.
Dennis has enough quirks to be the focus of a movie all by himself. He's so obsessed with Superman he's filled his home with thousands of dollars of Superman merchandise and homemade dioramas. He also claims to be the son of Oscar-winning actress Sandy Dennis, although there doesn't seem to be any proof.
Gehrt spends much of the movie going to auditions and bickering with her husband, who she met four days after arriving in town and married on a whim two weeks later.
McQueen sold his Super Nintendo to afford a bus ticket from North Carolina to Hollywood, where he spent four years homeless while still making it to auditions. Hope picks up when he's offered a bit part in a kung-fu movie spoof.
Allen alludes to a past life as a mob enforcer without discussing specifics. He works gigs as a George Clooney lookalike, which is why he thinks he can't get real acting jobs. He gets a little too aggressive asking for tips and wears the Batman costume to his therapist's office to discuss anger management issues (and possibly confess a murder).
The film covers the well-publicized October 2005 arrest of a man in an Elmo costume, which brought a lot of exposure to the costumed performers, leading to numerous appearances on late-night talk shows and sparking an upswing in tips from tourists.
This world may exist outside the lines, but Ogens' film reminds us that everyone has a dream, and everybody has a story.