“Chronicles the lives of four mortal men and women who work as characters on the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard.”
Directed by: Matthew Ogens, Rated: R, 92 minutes
I really don’t know why I have been on a documentary run lately. Maybe it’s my unofficial way of tying in my blogathon for November- The Shoes They Wear Blogathon, dealing with biopics (both fictional and based in reality), or maybe it’s my simple curiosity. Either way, Confessions of a Superhero, the latest documentary on my agenda, helps fulfill that curiosity and gives a little peek into who many people call “psychos”- street performers. The documentary doesn’t focus on the street musicians or sideshows, but on those walking up and down Hollywood Boulevard dressed as superheroes.
With great power comes… great publicity?
Confessions of a Superhero focuses on four individuals. Christopher Davis is known around the country as THE Superman impersonator, looking a lot like the late Christopher Reeve and completely putting himself into the character. Davis is obsessed with Superman and not only dresses like him every day, but knows every bit of trivia concerning the character and collecting as much memorabilia as possible. Maximus Allen is a George Clooney lookalike that dresses up as Batman every day. He’s a man with a shadowy past and an even worse temper, and does the superhero gig as a side job as he focuses on his martial arts skills, hoping to be a security guard (as well as an actor). Jennifer Wenger is a small town girl from Tennessee who, just like every young woman, dreams of making it big in Hollywood. She takes on the persona of Wonder Woman, showing off just enough skin to be sexy but never like a whore. She’s innocent and also struggling, with her personal life (her shotgun marriage is messy) and her own self image. Joe McQueen is the Hulk. Putting up with stifling heat every day (the inside of his suit can reach 130 degrees), McQueen is genuinely confident in his ability. He’s incredibly hard working and even when he was homeless for four years, he never gave up on an audition. All four of these individuals are desperate to make it big, as is everyone in Hollywood.
Believe it or not, it takes a lot more than being rich and getting f**ked on camera to be a “celebrity”.
Confessions of a Superhero never seeks out to insult these people. However, each character is rather eccentric and “extra” unique, and while they don’t make themselves look like fools, you’re left questioning their sanity a bit, especially that of Davis. Davis fully believes he is the son of Sandy Davis, a Tony and Oscar winning actress. He’s constantly in character and costume, and his obsession with the Man of Steel borders on delusional. He’s a good man at heart and his intentions are good, but he seems to have lost a bit of his mind through his adventure in the cape. Maximus Allen, however, isn’t as delusional. He’s a man that did bad things in the past (enforcer for the mob) and it haunts him. He loses his temper far too quickly and can become very violent. It’s a shame too because he seems like a genuinely stand up guy and the moments he reveals his past show that he’s more troubled than you would imagine. Wenger’s story isn’t as emotional as the other two, as she really had it all growing up. Beautiful and sweet, she had everything, from prom queen title to all the attention. However, she’s still cute enough that you want to see her succeed, even if thousands of other girls are exactly like her pursuing the same dream. Last comes McQueen. Confessions of a Superhero doesn’t focus on him as much as you’d like, because his story really is the most “rags to somewhat riches” tale, and the hardships he has had to overcome are greater than anything we’ve faced. He’s a shining hope in this somber story, as no matter what he’s suffered through, he shows great optimism and you only pray that he’ll catch a break.
HULK SMASH SAD STORY!
Confessions of a Superhero is a prime example of solid storytelling that’s intertwined with great looks into these people’s lives. As I mentioned, it never is out to insult its subjects, but give us a better understanding of these people we’d normally dismiss as crazy. The documentary does a decent job at sharing the screen time between the four heroes, but does tend to lean in favor of Davis as Superman. He’s not necessarily unlikable, but there’s something about him that throws you off, and you wonder if he needs to seek some help or if just needs to continue looking for his spot in the world. The movie is sad at times, but has a single strand of optimism that’s strung through it, leaving you somewhat satisfied at its conclusion. While I am far from a fan of dressing up (even for Halloween), the effort these individuals put into their ‘work’ is admirable. Confessions of a Superhero has its flaws (as do the heroes) but it’s still a pretty good documentary that tells the tale of Hollywood Boulevard’s most recognizable, recognizable characters.
hearing stories that are more than just “young talent seeking big break” and helps unravel the complicated and unpredictable parts about looking for fame
a little too much focus on Superman, while the other characters have slightly more interesting stories
wondering how many people are out in Los Angeles, doing God knows what for a dollar
Would you have the energy or the drive to stand outside all day, in costume, to make a living?