Matt Ogens’ Confessions of a Superhero lays bare Hollywood Boulevard’s superhero impersonators. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Hulk earn a living, pay bills, carry on relationships and strive for stardom through a combination of portraiture and panhandling. They dream of opening a film at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, but instead they are shilling in front of it.
R for some language
Charles Gruet shoots a beautiful film and Greg Kuehn provides a first-rate score for this documentary that found distribution under the “Morgan Spurlock Presents” mantle. Additionally, the photos that intercut the sequences of the movie won a series of photography contests.
Ogens conceived the movie when an on-location conversation with Superman unraveled a common thread: career aspirations in the film industry. The range of opinions about the characters, from “the Hollywood community’s ambassadors” to “glorified panhandlers,” further piqued his interest. His mission became to tell their story instead of joining those poking fun.
The resulting film is both a tale of dreams on the rise and one of caution against imitating your heroes too closely.
Superman a.k.a., Christopher Dennis is not just an impersonator; he’s a doppelganger of Christopher Reeve. Dennis demonstrates what Reeve’s life might have become had the original Superman franchise not taken off or if he never broke free of the typecast: an endless parade of comic book convention appearances, car wash and mall openings, and endless waiting for the next role that could turn it around. “[Dennis] is suffocating in the world of Superman,” says Jennifer Gerht of her fellow performer.
Batman a.k.a., Maxwell Allen resembles George Clooney (sans nippled armor). Although Allen’s is a more tenuous resemblance than Dennis’ is, it still hamstrings his acting career. His professional frustration mixes with a dark past and personal angst manifesting in episodes of acting out on the boulevard, ranging from the amusing to the aggressive.
Wonder Woman and the Hulk became the sidekicks of Allen and Dennis. Joseph McQueen (The Hulk) “didn’t come out here to stand on Hollywood Blvd for chump change.” He has a solid work ethic and a firm belief in his success. Gerht (Wonder Woman) has dreams of immortality, however she pragmatically boils it down: “performing is what I want do to … and at least I’m doing something that makes me happy.”
Can I get an Amen?