Real Talkies

Real Talkies

Every cut is a lie. It’s never that way. Those two shots were never next to each other in time that way. But you’re telling a lie in order to tell the truth. –Wolf Koenig.

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September 2, 2010 , , , , , , , ,

Hollywood is a place where dreams are made but also many are broken. I have mixed feelings about celebrity addiction, particularly super heroes and hence avoided this film for a while. When a friend in Austin recommended this film, I decided to watch it.

Matt Ogen’s Confessions of a Super Hero (2007) was a pleasant surprise. It is a bitter sweet tale about Hollywood Boulevard’s “pan-handlers” – struggling actors who dress up as Super Hero day in and day out and pose for pictures with tourist hoping to get tips in exchange.

The central characters in the documentary are – Superman-obsessed Chris Dennis as Superman, Clooney look like Max Allen as Batman, small town Tennessee girl Jennifer Gehrt as Wonder Woman and a homeless Joe as Hulk.

Its deeply personal and empathetic tone drew me in instantly. The film is a revelation of their alter egos, routines, hardships and triumphs. It is humorous and heart breaking at the same time. For instance, the scene were Joe (Hulk) revisits the back alley corner where he spent many homeless nights or when he gets so excited about his acting gig as a side kick. Alex(Batman)’s wife’s contradictory comments about his murderous past and his confessions during the counseling sessions are so dark and funny.

The still images of the characters on Hollywood Blvd are splendid, unflattering and thought provoking, My favorite was that of the parking attendants ogling at Wonder Woman’ rear as she reached into the driver’s side window of a car.

They are times when the characters cannot decide if they are living their dreams or watching them dashed and that was powerful. My two issues with the film was its length and its unnecessary obsession about soliciting/demanding tips on Hollywood Blvd by the celebrity impersonators.

Every city boasts of some quirky street corner eccentric like the characters in this film. Ogen’s film attempts to humanize these dream chasers who do not give up but take control of their lives and strive to reach that celebrity status that seems so out of reach. As Wonder Woman says in the film, “Sure a doctor saves lives but is he remembered? But people talk about Marilyn Monroe even now”.


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