Thursday, January 17, 2008

Confessions of a Superhero DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Documentary about Aspiring Actors Arrives on DVD

If you want to get a decent idea of what the average aspiring actor’s life is like in Los Angeles, you might want to check out this eye-opening documentary. The film is fun to watch primarily because these thespians actually spend most of their time in costume not on stage but on the street, portraying Batman (Maxwell Allen), Superman (Christopher Dennis), The Hulk (Joseph McQueen) and Wonder Woman (Jennifer Gerht).
Essentially panhandlers, they strut up and down the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard in front of Mann’s legendary Chinese Theater in their superhero outfits, hoping out-of-towners will ask them to pose for a picture. Then, only after the photo’s already been taken, do they inform the unsuspecting tourists that they also expect a tip for the trouble.
Though these desperate losers appear to be utterly delusional about their career prospects, credit director Matt Ogens for giving each a modicum of respectability, plus their 15 minutes of fame. It’s almost scary to hear these comic book character impersonators talk about fading hopes they hold onto ever so tenaciously.
Typical is Christopher Dennis, the son of the late, Oscar-winning actress Sandy Dennis (for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf). He does his best to resemble the late Christopher Reeve’s incarnation of The Man of Steel, complete with the spit curl plastered across his forehead. But we see that he’s obviously off the deep end when he allows the camera into his apartment, a wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling shrine to Superman, filled with posters, action figures and other cheesy memorabilia.
Sad to say, but this futile foursome should consider themselves lucky just to be the subject of this picture. Prediction: It’s all downhill from here. A candid depiction of Hollywood as a la-la land where more dreams are dashed than realized.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated R for profanity.
Running time: 92 minutes
Studio: Arts Alliance America
DVD Extras: Deleted scenes (Superman and Batman at Comic-Con with Margo Kidder and press footage from SXSW Film Festival), commentary tracks by Chris Dennis aka “Superman”, extended footage at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL with John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard), photo slides, and more.

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