The two films I’m going to be talking about today share a very… special theme. Both of them deal with regular people obsessed with superheroes to the point they dress up like one. And sometimes, just sometimes, they act like them. The first is a documentary about the life and times of people trying to make it in
Confessions Of A Superhero.
Okay, so I saw this documentary reviewed a while back. It was a fairly positive review, and it sounded like something pretty good. Well, I finally got around to seeing it myself. And… well… let’s start with what it’s about. On
The first issue with the film, I picked up early on: there was no narrative structure. There was no rhyme or reason to the editing. The only clear pattern is the story rotation of Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Hulk, and even that is dropped about halfway in. There’s no theme that connects the different segments together. They could have been shown in almost any order and it wouldn’t have made any difference.
But I know what you’re saying. This can easily be resolved if who you’re watching is entertaining enough, right? Well, that’s the next problem with this documentary. The most interesting person is Joseph McQueen/The Hulk, and he’s barely in the doc. He has the least amount of screen time, which is horrible, as he’s the most endearing of the four. And, unfortunately, the least interesting—Superman Chris—is the biggest focus of the film. He has some “crazy fan” quirks, but mostly, he’s boring. Jennifer/Wonder Woman is somewhat interesting, though, which holds the film together since she has the second biggest amount of screen time. And Maxwell/Batman is just batshit crazy.
One of the more fun aspects of the film is completely dropped, too—the psychological aspect. There’s a whole bit about whether or not Superman Chris is actually the son of Oscar winner Sandy Dennis. And the bulk of the story with Maxwell/Batman is that he’s this angry, super-crazy ex-Mafioso. Was he really a hitman for the Italian mob, or is he full of crap? Unfortunately, neither of these stories is ever followed fully. They’re introduced and talked about a couple times, but that’s it.
But the primary reason for the four of them to be doing this in the first place is to try and break into acting. The two who even come close (or are at least shown) are Jennifer/Wonder Woman and Joseph McQueen/Hulk. Jennifer is the only one of the group who probably will break into the business, as she does have some talent, and she does have good looks. And although you want him to, Joseph McQueen probably won’t ever be famous. And although this is supposed to be the prime reason these people are doing what they do, the documentary barely focuses on this aspect. Instead, it pays a load of attention to them begging for tips on the street, as well as a bit of their home lives.
Because of all this, the movie drags more than it should, and I was constantly looking at the clock. It’s not a good thing if you’re only 14 minutes in and feel as if you’ve been watching for over half an hour. There’s not even much eye candy to keep you involved. With the exception of Jennifer/Wonder Woman, everybody in this movie is butt ugly.
But all of my feelings aren’t completely negative. Overall, the movie did have its entertaining moments. After all, had it not, I probably would have just turned it off. This documentary isn’t terrible by any means. I just didn’t think it was as outstanding as it had the potential to be. I could have seen a bit less of Superman Chris and seen a whole lot more of Joseph McQueen… and then maybe answers to a few open-ended bits. Otherwise, it’s just alright.
Stop Saying Okay! Okay.
Les (Michael Rappaport) is a meter-maid who lives alone, is shy around the opposite sex, has low self-esteem, and only has two friends, Joey (Josh Peck) and Everett (Robert Baker)—the same two guys who sell him his comic books. But after he takes an experimental drug called Special to help increase his self-esteem, given to him by Dr. Dobson (Jack Kehler), Les starts to believe he has superpowers. Now with a new self-worth, Les runs around town trying to fight crime as a superhero.
Special is one of those movies that is equally uplifting as it is depressing. You really want Les to succeed at everything, but the more he gets the crap beaten out of him, the more everybody tells him he’s crazy, the more you just stare at the movie in bizarre wonderment. Ironically, the drug Les takes is basically an anti-depressant, which makes him battle between feeling good about himself and hating the situations he’s in. And the movie itself works just like the drug, making you bounce back and forth between happy and depressed.
The acting is top notch, though, especially from Michael Rappaport. I think he was perfectly cast, as he drags you along and makes you feel bad for him, but then he makes you excited when he starts recognizing different superpowers. Josh Peck and Robert Baker are also good as his friends, who play equal parts buddy-buddy and caring.
I particularly liked the visuals. It would bounce back and forth between Les’ point of view to other people’s. If he was flying, you’d see him flying; running through walls—same thing. Or you’d see him stomach-down on the ground, waving around his arms and legs, or running smack into a wall, getting up, and running back and going “See? Wasn’t that awesome?” only to receive bewildered reactions from his onlookers.
The part I didn’t like about the movie, however, was the ending. Although the climax is brilliant… it ends there. There is no tie-ups with his friends or his potential new love interest. Nothing. But part of me is conflicted here. Half of me wanted the loose strings tied up. The other half of me thought tying up the loose ends would have diminished the ultimate power of the ending. But even with the powerful ending, I still feel the movie is a bit lacking. I don’t know.
Overall, it’s a beautifully done film, and it has some really top notch acting and visuals. The tone of the film makes me wary of watching it again anytime soon (it’s one of those… hard to watch too many times in a row), though I kinda wanted more done with the ending. I think.
A Keanu 'Whoa'