Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Confessions of a Superhero|
Actors: Maxwell Allen, Christopher Dennis, Jennifer Wenger, Joe McQueen, Sandy Dennis
Director: Matthew Ogens
Genres: Drama, Documentary
Studio: Arts Alliance America Release Date: 08/05/2008 Run time: 92 minutes
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Member Movie Reviews
Patrick J. (bossajake) from TOLEDO, OH
Reviewed on 4/3/2014...
i know there are already many reviews for this film, "confessions of a superhero", but it's so well done i have to add another. simply put, this film is just brilliant, even better than werner herzog's work in many respects and he's a master storyteller. maybe the key to a good documentary is the ability of the filmmaker, in this case, matt ogens, to capture the essence of any given subject without judgement or a pre-determined message being attached to it, allowing the viewer to gleen what they might from the information provided and to come to their own conclusions about the significance or greater meaning, if any, of the subject being discussed. it's like a treasure hunt i guess, where you feel like you've discovered something meaningful all on your own. to manage to do this in an enjoyable and entertaining way is like an alignment of the stars, it's a rare event where everything just seems to come together and you're absorbed into the lives of those being filmed.
i'm a bossa nova brazilian jazz afficionado, i love the stuff and just can't get enough of it, hence my user id - bossajake. for me bossa nova has always been the perfect blend of melancholy sadness and eternal optimism that really sums up what life is really made up of ... for most of us anyway. or as the hope davis indie film "next stop wonderland" puts it, it's the state of being both happy and sad at the exact same moment. (that's a must see film by the way with a wonderful bossa nova soundtrack.) this documentary, "confessions of a superhero", manages to capture exactly that. the disappointment we can all relate to of a dream unfulfilled mixed with the joy of every day life itself despite it's many ups and downs. it's about real people living real lives, doing the best they can to follow their dreams and in the end, about the perseverance and courage they manage to demonstrate to us all.
i think the film is a celebration of life really. i found all the characters to be inspiriational in their own way. some folks will see that and some won't, just as some of those interviewed in the film seem to get it and some don't. it's about the bigger picture in life and about what really matters. whether your a former drug addict who now manages to make children smile for a moment with just a red cape and a smile, a somewhat "batty" rough and tumble struggling actor who just won't give up on his dream and has managed to control some rather significant anger management issues ,a homeless drifter dressed all in green who now has his sag card and his first role in a real hollywood movie or a young woman unwilling to settle for an unfulfilling life taking the chance to find her own voice after being spoken for for so much of her life. i think we can all identify with the struggles of the characters profiled and our ability to relate to them allows us to learn a little bit more about ourselves.
mogran spurlock introduces the piece, i think he was involved in it's production, matt ogens directs and i believe that it's his vision that sets the tone for the film and the four costumed entertainers: superman, batman, wonderwoman and the hulk, who work hollywood boulevard for nothing but tips, get a chance to really shine as the true to life stars of this documentary film. time seems to stop as you watch and you find yourself wishing it would never end. it certainly has more emotional and philosophical depth to it than any reality television being made today. the bonus features are just as good as the film, all of them, and they shouldn't be missed. i rated this one with five stars, sometimes it made me smile and sometimes i cringed, sometimes i laughed and sometimes i just pondered life, but it the end it reminded me to never give up on your dreams and that you can be happy just living life.
Jefferson N. from BLAIRSVILLE, GA
Reviewed on 6/29/2011...
Confessions of a Superhero is a documenatary that tells the stories of the men and women who work the streets of Hollywood dressed as pop culture characters. They take photos with tourists and hope to make a few tips along the way. This shows their trials and tribulations...their triumphs and their heartbreaks. It's a well-made documentary and it serves to entertain and inform. Personally, I laughed a lot and teared up a few times. It's only drawback, in my opinion, is that I feel like it would have made a better tv series than a movie, because even though it has plenty of special features and commentary, I would have liked to have gotten to know these people a little better, and the movie was just too short for that. But it shows it was good or I wouldn't care. Definently worth a watch.
Jeff V. (burielofmel) from HARRIMAN, TN
Reviewed on 8/23/2008...
This is a great movie with some decent bonus material. It's turned out to be a keeper for sure. It's a documentary about people going to Hollywood to try and make it as actors. You feel like you yourself live in Hollywood and hang out with these people. It's really good. The story focus' on these aspiring actors engaging in a type of pan-handling in which they dress up as superheros and have photos taken in exchange for tips. The Batman guy has some psychological problems and gets arrested and gets in the face of some people who don't want to tip him. The four main characters in this doc are people who portray SUperman, Batman, Wonder WOman and the Hulk. You don't have to be a comic book fan to like this movie. If you simply like to peek into the lives of people who lead unusual lives you will probably like this.
1 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Respectful Documentary About Four Hollywood "Characters"
Susan K. Schoonover | Boulder, CO | 02/02/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"CONFESSIONS OF A SUPERHERO is a very well made documentary that is enjoyable to watch. The four people the film focuses on are street performers who make or enhance their livelihoods by dressing up as superheros, hanging out on Hollywood Boulevard and having their pictures taken with tourists for "tips". The tone of the film is very respectful toward this rather odd quartet that portray Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and The Incredible Hulk. Other Hollywood "characters" are briefly mentioned or seen in the film but the movie's attention is almost totally on these four.
The men playing Superman and Batman do look a bit like low rent versions of Christopher Reeve and George Clooney. Superman is a very likable oddball who claims to be the late actress Sandy Dennis's son despite the fact that she had no children and her surviving relatives know nothing about this man. Batman admits to an anger management problem and confesses to a dark past that his own wife estimates is about 50% true but this viewer would guess the truth percentage is even lower and most of the information in this past seems to have popular movies as its source. Jenny who dresses as Wonder Woman is a pretty if slightly plump (by Hollywood standards) young woman who left her small Tennessee town to pursue acting in LA. She is much more in touch with reality than Batman and Superman though she is frustrated in the lack of positive movement toward her acting dreams and we see her young marriage break apart. Joe McQueen is the fourth member of the quartet, a formerly homeless African American man, who wears a suffocatingly hot Incredible Hulk suit and seems the character most likely to actually find some Hollywood success and is cast in a movie during the course of the documentary. A major strength of the film is it avoids seeming condescending to its subjects and only a bit of the superhero's home lives seems staged. This is a great documentary for anyone interested in the lower layer of Hollywood or people living out unusual life choices."
Land of broken dreams
Kerry Walters | Lewisburg, PA USA | 08/11/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"There's something reminiscent of a Hubert Selby, Jr. novel about Matt Ogens' "Confessions of a Superhero." The four characters chronicled by the film all dream big, but the gap between their dreams and the reality of their lives is unbridgeable. At times, when they pause to look at their cluttered studio apartments or their broken relationships or their bizarre lifestyles, they seem to grasp this. But they quickly retreat from their encounters with reality to go on chasing the Great American Dream (or is it Great American Nightmare?) of celebrityhood.
"Confessions" focuses on four aspiring actors--or, more accurately, four Hollywood star wannabes--who land in Tinseltown in pursuit of their dreams only to wind up on the streets working the tourist trade as costume-clad superheroes. One of them, Superman is wacky, although in an almost endearing way. One of them, Batman, is a frightening character who has violent tendencies and seems to be a compulsive liar as well. One of them, the Hulk, is a charming young black man who lived on the streets for a while. And the last of them, Wonder Woman, is a naive kid from the south who ran off to Las Vegas to marry a guy she'd met two weeks earlier. The Hulk and Wonder Woman break your heart, Superman is a jaw-dropping eccentric, and Batman is just plain creepy. But all four of them attest to the downward spiral that the obsession with fame and fortune in an unforgiving culture of celebrity can bring. This spiral is even more poignant given that it leads the four to pose as superheroes, which is exactly what they're not in reality.
Ogen never mocks his subjects, and that's good. He doesn't make value judgments about their lives or the choices they've made. If anything, his film suggests that he's more sympathetic to them than not. But it's also clear from the film that he agrees with the conclusion the viewer is likely to come to: each of the four "superheroes" is living in denial. The unstated but obvious challenge Ogen leaves us with is to ask ourselves whether our own dreams are as self-serving, tawdry, and ultimately unrealistic, as those of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Hulk."
Fantastic documentary--GREAT JOB, EVERYONE !!!
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 06/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Confessions of a Superhero gives us a fascinating look at the lives of four people. These people dress up everyday as comic book characters and stand on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles posing for photos with tourists. We see their daily frustrations as some tourists decline to tip them; they aren't allowed under the law to formally charge a fee for a photo of themselves with the tourists and that can be tough. They also have to contend with law enforcement officers making sure that they aren't harassing people and that they're staying on the "public area" of the sidewalk. On the other hand, one young woman who dresses up as Wonder Woman says that on a good day she can make hundreds of dollars in tips--and that's great!
The documentary flows along nicely and it chooses to focus on the four people who dress up as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and The Hulk although there is some brief footage of a woman who dresses up every day as Marilyn Monroe and another who wears a Sesame Street Elmo costume. We get to know them as they tell their stories to the camera and we learn even more about them as we watch them interact with people on Hollywood Boulevard. These people would love to be full fledged actors making huge amounts of money in movies; but the reality is that the competition for juicy, lucrative roles is so tight that they have to stay with the work they currently do dressing up as comic book characters for photos if they want to make money doing something that makes them happy.
The person who touched me the most with their story would be Joseph McQueen who dresses up as The Hulk everyday. He's had it rough--four years of homelessness on the streets of Los Angeles with apparently no family to send him money for even just basic shelter with a roommate. The temperature inside his costume is almost unbearable during the long hot days of summer; in one scene he tells the people playing Superman and Wonder Woman that he "blacked out" at a nearby restaurant. The heat does get to the others, too. Will he make it into a movie? Watch and find out!
Another interesting story would be that of the gentleman who plays Superman. He says he's the son of actress Sandy Dennis even though Sandy's own brother never heard of her having any children at all! Christopher Dennis has decorated (and dedicated) his cramped apartment completely to Superman and very similar action figures prominently displays on the walls. He certainly gets emotional about playing Superman and we see how he's tearful when Christopher Reeve passes away. We also meet his girlfriend Bonnie and watch as he enters a look-alike contest in Metropolis, Illinois--will he win? What's in store for him and Bonnie--and his job as a character actor posing for tips on Hollywood Boulevard?
Two other people we learn so much about would be Jennifer Wenger who dresses up as Wonder Woman; her hasty marriage to a young man might not always bring them happiness. How will this work out? We see that she's got herself a Hollywood agent and she's trying out for commercials--will she get a break? In addition, Maxwell Allen dresses up as Batman; but when he looks for more serious work as an actor he must contend with the fact that he looks too much like George Clooney to get acting jobs. He also has an anger management problem and on one occasion he fights with other people so badly that things don't exactly go smoothly for him.
The DVD comes with numerous extras. I particularly liked "When Bonnie Met Superman;" "Superman Loves Bo Duke" and the audio commentary with Christopher "Superman" Dennis and his wife Bonnie.
Confessions of a Superhero explores the topic of what it would be like to actually grow up to be the superhero you always dreamed of when you were a kid. Are you really that type of person--or are you not? Of course, it is also about actors struggling to get themselves recognized in a market that is remarkably highly competitive.