"Confessions of a Superhero"All the fame without the fortune...
"I always thought that if I had a superpower, no way would I wear a mask and a costume.
a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard and you're bound to bump into just
about anybody. From Jack Sparrow to Chewbacca, Freddy Krueger to Elmo,
the walk of fame is filled with living, breathing characters.
these mere mortals are heroes clad in capes and spandex, in masks and
suits. They are the protectors of peace and defenders of justice, but
above all they are pretenders.
Who are these people? They're
idealists with bright eyes and broken dreams, wannabe movie stars who
have possibly one of the most unique day jobs possible.
"Confessions of a Superhero," a documentary from director Matt Ogens,
secret identities are shed as we learn the story behind the suits. The
film focuses on four would-be crime fighters: Superman, Batman, Wonder
Woman and the Incredible Hulk, who patrol the stars and cemented
handprints of L.A.'s walk of fame, posing for pictures with tourists in
front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
Christopher Lloyd Dennis is
Superman. While he lacks the agility to jump tall buildings in a single
bound, or the speed to outrun locomotives, Dennis does strike an
uncanny resemblance to the late Christopher Reeve. The word ‘obsessed'
doesn't even come close to describing Dennis's unrelenting fixation on
the man of steel.
entering his apartment one gets lost in the dizzying collage of reds,
blues and yellows. There are countless action figures, lunch boxes,
posters and prints of Superman - so much in fact the true color of his
walls, floors and ceilings are as much a mystery as the root of his
Every morning Dennis gets up and prepares himself for
the role he must play for the rest of the day. After a shower, Dennis
painstakingly gels his hair to get that one perfect little curl, the
signature do of Superman. Upon getting the black ringlet in place, he
douses it in hairspray before putting on his costume - a replica of the
Christopher Reeve suit used in the 1978 "Superman" movie.
every Superman is a Wonder Woman I suppose, and on Hollywood Boulevard
an ambitious Jennifer Gerht fills her boots. Compared to her fellow
impersonators, Gerht might be the most average, normal person on the
walk. Unlike the others, Gerht has no real obsession with the character
she plays - nor is she delusional about what she does.
is my insane occupation," admits Gerht. A former prom queen from
Maynardville, Tennessee, the beautiful Gerht packed her bags and headed
to Hollywood in hopes of becoming an actress. Taking pictures with
passersby as Wonder Woman is just a day job - one that pays the bills
until she can land some real acting work.
Gehrt is a pleasing
addition to the documentary. As Wonder Woman, Gerht is a confident,
gorgeous Amazon in an ocean of characters. When she unfolds her story
to the camera, suddenly her vulnerable side, often hidden behind
sequins and spandex, comes to the surface.
On the other side of
town, the dark knight puts his latex boots on. Yes, while Bruce Wayne
may live in Gotham, Maxwell Allen lives in L.A., roaming the boulevard
of broken dreams as Batman.
differs from his friend and fellow impersonator Christopher Dennis in
the fact that he has no outward fascination for his alter ego. Allen
never intended to get involved in show business, but when people
noticed he looked just like George Clooney, he got the idea to give
acting a try.
Now he dons the cape and cowl of Batman, and to be
honest, he isn't that different from the ‘real' one. You see, Allen has
a bit of an anger management issue -a real short fuse that could blow
at any second. Much like the caped crusader, Allen is a brooding, dark
figure - even in the hot sun of Los Angeles.
As a former
collector for the mob, Allen isn't too proud of his violent (and
possibly murderous) past. He spends his days working through his issues
with various martial arts classes, as well as trips to his
psychiatrist. Did I mention he wears the suit during sessions with his
Finally there's the modest and affable Joeseph
McQueen, who portrays the Incredible Hulk. Originally from Pinehurst,
North Carolina, McQueen was also drawn to the appeal of Hollywood's
just sold my Super Nintendo, got a Greyhound bus ticket and headed out
here," Says McQueen, who never expected to be standing inside the shell
of a green and purple Hulk costume. Things could be worse, and
unfortunately for McQueen, things have always been worse it seems - as
he spent five years homeless in L.A. before becoming the Hulk.
is perhaps the most likeable of the four characters we meet in
"Confessions of a Superhero." You root for him - cheer him on his in
quest to make a name for himself. He's just a nice guy, one that seems
truly like Bruce Banner, locked inside the savage interior of the Hulk.
put, "Confessions of a Superhero" is a beautiful documentary. It has a
quiet, serene and downright melancholy atmosphere filled with moving
photography and a color palette that is very appealing to the eye. The
locations and set pieces director Matt Ogens chooses as his characters'
confessionals are lonely and truly reflective of the film's subjects.
a way, by wearing masks and costumes, these performers wear their
hearts on their spandex-clad sleeves. It's touching and quirky and
often too surreal to believe. For right now it seems they have all the
fame without the fortune, starry eyes with sights set on leading roles
and a permanent place on the walk of fame.
As our Wonder Woman
so eloquently puts it, heroes are iconic and everlasting. "What else is
there, you know?" asks Jennifer Gehrt. "Sure, a doctor saves lives, but
is he remembered? Is he there for all times? People are still talking
about Marilyn Monroe."
"Confessions of a Superhero" is a quirky,
moving film that speaks to our own inadequacies, and the hero that we
all wish we could be. I recommend this documentary for those looking
for an honest, inspiring plunge into the superhero psyche.