Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Week 38: Confessions of a Superhero

Wow, here’s a movie that will make you feel better about your job. And your life. And the fact that you aren’t a Batman impersonator with a three-pack-a-day habit and serious rage issues. Confessions of a Superhero is a terrific documentary about a handful of panhandlers who dress up as superheroes to be photographed by tourists along Hollywood Boulevard. They earn their entire living on the tips they make for each photograph they grant.

When they tell you they can make $150 an hour on a good day, you think to yourself, “hey, that’s not so bad. Pretty good scratch, right?” But as you watch the documentary, you begin to realize that those good days must be few and far between as you see the sad, worn edges of each person’s life.

The star of the documentary is “Superman” Chris Dennis. He does bear a striking resemblance to Christopher Reeves, although the days of standing under the Hollywood sun and smoking cigarettes are taking their early toll on his face.

You think it can’t get any worse than his Superman-inspired apartment (think comic book store vomiting all over your living room) and then you meet Superman’s crazy girlfriend with extra-blinky eyes and Crystal Gale-inspired hair (literally). I wavered between feeling happy that these two found each other and concerned that they are both living outside of an institution. They give new meaning to the term ‘batshit crazy.’ And that’s saying something when you consider that Margot Kidder is also in the film.

And THEN, you watch Batman sitting across from his therapist in full Batman costume, confessing outright on camera to the murders of several people, and continually referring to the “body count” he’s left behind from his days working for “The Italians.” Wink, wink. I swear if you look close enough you can actually see his therapist wetting his pants. It is unsettling. But as the film progresses you begin to get the idea that Batman is a pathological liar. Or at least you hope so.

Go rent this film.

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