Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Day 83: The Reinactors

"It's very cutthroat. It's like Peyton Place down there."

I have a confession to make: I've never been to Hollywood. I've never actually set foot in the state of California. The farthest west I've been is Las Vegas. You'd think a movie lover such as myself would have been by now, but I just haven't. Apparently there is a group of people who wander the block in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater dressed as movie characters. They are of varying degrees of commitment and talent, but the common thread that seems to run through almost every single one of them is true mental instability. There's a documentary from 2008 called The Reinactors (not sure why the typo) that follows a year in the life of the people who occupy this space.

There are a few main players that are more than willing to talk to the director of this project, David Markey. The main and most notable of them is Christopher Lloyd Dennis (my father always told me to never trust a man with three first names). Dennis bears a passing resemblance to Christopher Reeve, and took it upon himself about fifteen years ago to start dressing like Superman and wander the walk of fame taking pictures with tourists. He's definitely a gigantic douchebag, and I'm not trying to be mean when I say that, I'm being honest. The guy's an asshole. He spends his free time getting high, drinking milk right out of the carton & talking shit about his wife who seems genuinely infatuated with him. He's also sort of appointed himself the leader of the re-enactors, and fancies himself the star-maker of the boulevard, as he "discovered" at least one of the other re-enactors.

The guy he discovered is Max Allen, a guy who bears a passing resemblance to George Clooney and now dresses as Batman. Max is mentally unstable to say the least and has had his fair share of encounters with the law due to his barely in-check temper. In one particular instance caught on camera, Max ditches his cape and decides to take on a group of protestors, apparently because he used their port-a-john. It doesn't end well for Batman.

Another regular on the walk is Gerard Zacher, who portrays everyone from Freddy Krueger to Peter Pan to James Dean. His dalliances as Krueger have gotten him arrested at least twice, once for "brandishing a weapon" and once for getting into a fight with a hobo. Zacher's story is tragic, he was abandoned by his parents, abused by his adopted parents, left his one true love back home to come to Hollywood and follow his dreams, frequently lives as a drifter when he gets kicked out of his apartment. It's sad, and he's one of the truly pitiable characters portrayed here.

The other two are Michael Luce, who bears a passing resemblance to Johnny Depp, hence his turn as Captain Jack Sparrow, and his fiance Tiena Marie Johns, who works alongside him. They have a fairly sad story as well, living as drifters, but they have found a soul mate in one another, and rely on each other to stay strong. Their story is touching, and it culminates in their Valentine's Day wedding in front of Mann's Chinese.

Virtually everyone else interviewed is a psychopath. The guy that plays Shrek, insane. The guy who plays Chucky, crazy. The guy who plays Michael Jackson, fucking delusional. The woman who plays Marilyn Monroe, bat-shit crazy. The guy who plays Borat, annoying. The guy who plays Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean is like a living version of Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons. But Christopher Dennis takes the cake. He's been doing this for fifteen years, but apparently it's just until something bigger comes along. I wish someone would level with this douche-nozzle and tell him he's insane. My issue is how much of an elitist he seems to be. He says right at the beginning that he considers himself an ambassador for Hollywood, and proceeds to hold people who have just as much right to be there as he does, to a set of self-imposed standards he doesn't feel the need to share with them freely.

If you ever go to Hollywood and see the re-enactors, stop by and give Capt. Jack or Freddy Krueger a buck or two. Give Batman a wide berth, and kick Superman in the fucking balls for me. These people need help, some because they'd genuinely benefit from it, and the rest because it'll get them off the god damned street. Proceed with caution.

I'll be back tomorrow with my review of Being Elmo, the documentary about Kevin Clash and his career performing as Elmo.

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  1. Dennis is a Douche. Check out "Confessions of a Superhero" - kind of the same thing, but focused on Superhero "performers" on Hollywood Blvd.


    Pretty much the same thing (Batman's in it too), but there's a sequence in Metropolis, IL, during their festival, where he gets upset that he loses the costume contest, and then tries to use his "fame" to get John Schneider to sign a fucking armload of Dukes of Hazard crap...It's amazing, and utterly douchey from a fan perspective.

    On the plus side, there are some fairly normal, centered people in "Confessions of a Superhero," just trying to make a living.

  2. I actually debated between the two and chose Reinactors because I thought it would be funnier, but man alive, it's depressing. I'll definitely be checking it out though soon. Is Batman insane in that one too, because he's got a few screws loose by the time these filmmakers found him.

  3. In "Superhero" it's clear he's at least some sort of pathological liar, and they do talk about his violent streak. However, they don't show any actual violence.