Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Confessions Of A Superhero

Lots of documentary watching has been going on lately in these parts. I think it started with the Salem Film Fest, which was almost entirely documentaries. Since then, I think every other movie I've received from Netflix has been one as well.

The latest was Confessions Of A Superhero. I saw a trailer for this a while ago, way before it was out on DVD and I thought it looked beautifully composed and well shot. It reminded me of the book Animal House by Catherine Ledner (mostly the scenes with Superman being interviewed in the green room). The preview was definitely a good indication of how the rest of the movie was filmed. Everything was gorgeous, especially all of the still shots that are found throughout. They're super crisp, punchy, and high contrast. Perfect combination for superheroes on the streets of Hollywood. If you're the type of person who leaves movies running on their TV in the background while they go about other things in their house, this could definitely be another one to add to your collection. It reminded me of a really cool screen saver at times. In a good way, though.

Confessions follows a few different people who dress up in costume and walk around Hollywood Boulevard trying to get tourists to take their picture. The catch being, of course, "we work on tips" and the camera quickly cuts to Batman flashing his fistful of dollars. As you would expect, this isn't what these people dreamed of when they came to Hollywood (with the exception of Superman). They're aspiring actors. The film accompanied the superheroes (dressed as their civilian alter egos) to various auditions, proving that they are serious about acting and are trying their best to get into the biz.

The director of this movie, Matthew Ogens, must be a very sensitive person. I think this because of the way I felt towards the superheroes. Elise and I were talking after the movie was over and she said, "Batman is a shit." I offered that he's not "a shit," but rather he has serious psychological issues. She told me that if I knew him in real life, say, as a co-worker, I would think he's an angry, violent, lying prick. I thought about it for a minute and she was right. I would hate Batman if I knew him. The same goes for Wonder Woman. I'd probably call her a crazy self-centered Baptist hussy. But Confessions never makes fun of these people. They're portrayed in a very sympathetic way. It's not that the director wants you to pity them, though. He just wants you to understand. Realize that these are real people trying to do what they love. Nothing more. That's why this was a successful movie, in my opinion. It would have been so easy to spin it so that these superheroes are turned into freaks. Bums with no life and no motivation. Ogens certainly didn't take the easy route.

However, Confessions is not perfect. It had a slight failing in a way that I see in so many other documentaries. It feels like it doesn't really go anywhere. We watch these people work, they talk about their past, their aspirations, but not much else. I say slightly only because that's really what this movie was supposed to be about. It's title alone makes reference to it. It's really nothing more than interviews with these superheroes because it's not supposed to be. Although, that is the only fault I can really find with this movie. It's tender and magnificent and if that's the way you like your documentaries, then this is highly recommended.

1 comment:

Craig Kennedy said...

I caught this one at AFI Fest last November and I really liked it.

Yes, Batman was an ass, but like you said the guy had psychological problems. Would I want to hang out with him? No. The only guy I'd have a drink with is probably The Hulk.

Yet, there was something touching and kind of inspirational about it all. L.A. is filled with people with big dreams who will never make it and here is a group of people who are kind of clinging to the bottom rung of that ladder. They're not movie stars, but they entertain people and their dream is still alive.

I don't know, having seen these people outside of The Chinese theater and kind of thinking they were silly, the doc gave me a little bit different perspective on them.