Caught a movie on the Netflix this weekend — a documentary called Confessions of a Superhero. It’s about a handful of costumed scabs making a living begging for dollars in front of Mann’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles. The motley gathering of scabs confessing to this quirky lifestyle includes a half-assed Wonder Woman who doesn’t even bother wearing her regulation tiara half the time, a sociopathic George Clooney stunt double from Batman & Robin, a Christopher Reeves lookalike so obsessed with all things Kryptonian that he decorates his hole-in-the-wall apartment from floor to ceiling with Superman crap, and an occasionally homeless dude dressed as the Hulk.
The filmmaker, Matt Ogens, does a really good job of humanizing these copyright-infringing pan-handlers who pass their days loitering outside a Hollywood landmark harassing tourists. There’s obvious comedic value in the premise (grown adults walking around in goofy costumes), but there’s also some serious pathos.
The star of the documentary is Superman Chris. Superman Chris is so comfortable in his costumed skin that you never really have to worry about him. He’s portrayed as the old guard of these scabs — the guy who trains newbies on how to work the crowd, how to not get arrested, and how to respect the of what they do. He shows great wisdom for the illusion of novelty costumed performance, especially in the scene when he’s training fat Ghost Rider. (Their exchange, in a nutshell: “Ghost Rider doesn’t smoke”/”But he’s made of fire…”/”Well, he doesn’t smoke cigarettes.”) But most importantly, Superman Chris has love. There are plenty of uber-geeks walking around all day in their superhero tights and decorating their walls with action figures… but not all of them find that special someone who will accept them for who they are, most likely be willing to have intimate relations with them, and even be willing to sit in the other room while they bring a chick dressed up like Wonder Woman back to the apartment for a mid-afternoon shower. Superman Chris has that special someone and you know he’s better off because of it.
On the other hand, the fact that wanna-be Wonder Woman accepted the invite from Superman Chris to go back to his creepy Superman-infested apartment for a mid-afternoon shower is one of the reasons I’m pretty sure her story is headed for a tragic — or at least porny – end. Her little-girl-lost storyline doesn’t quite make it to any of the expected rock-bottom scenarios within the film’s duration, but you can’t help but assume the star-spangled hot pants are just a transitional step on her inevitable road to ruin.
The one who does self-destruct during the film is psycho Batman. We take a trip with him to the gun range. We get to see footage of him being arrested for an altercation that involves the illegal use of a port-o-potty and Chewbacca coming to his aid (in the fight, not the toilet). And we sit in on a therapy session where, in full costume (cowl included), he confesses to murder!!!
The one cat who makes it through the film with most of his dignity still intact is homeless Hulk. Here’s a guy who was living on the streets for 4+ years, had the vision and foresight to save up his pennies and buy a full-body Incredible Hulk costume, almost dies from heat stroke on the same steamy day Superman and Wonder Woman are off showering together, and then, by the end of the film, gets a call from his agent telling him he’s actually scored a lead role in a legit movie. And, while homeless Hulk loses points for not paying dues to the UNCP, he does at least let slip that he’s a card-holding, dues-paying member of SAG — so he respects unions, just not ours.
Confessions of a Superhero is a nice little movie worth checking out — especially if you’re a fan of the novelty costumed way of life.
Addendum from Boss Tony: What is dis crap?! Everybody knows dere’s only one movie worth yer time, an dats The Godfather, parts I ta III. But you can guarantee dis flick will be yer last chance to see any a deez these goofs on Hollywood Boulevard before I send a crew out to L.A. to knee-cap the lot of ‘em. “Waaa Waaa, it’s so hard trying to get by like this” – SHADDAP! If ya wanted steady woik, you’d a taken the Greyhound to River City, instead, sweetheart! But I’ll tell ya what — if dat Batman fella is really as crazy as I’ve heard, we could use a man of his moral caliber in Division 18.