The MichaelVox Movie Review Weblog
Proudly Spewing Unsolicited Film Opinion Online Since 1996
May 18, 2008
San Jose Camera Cinema Club
D: Blake Van de Graaf
W: Michael Sparaga
There's A Hero Inside Everyone.
Not a good film. Mild-mannered comic book geek, Norman Neale, is convinced that he works with an actual superhero after watching him catch coffee cups without looking and single-handedly win the company softball tournament. The geek is quiet and not respected and awkward-looking while the hero, Victor Ventura (see what they did with the character's names?), is stunningly attractive and popular. Norman spends his off hours in a comic book store, owned by Danny Baldwin (fantastic!), who believes that Norman is merely writing a comic book, not living a comic book life. With Baldwin's encouragement, Norman realizes that his task is to train Victor to utilize all of his abilities, like a good sidekick should.
The tone of the film is all wrong. Is it humorous, realistic (or at least as realistic as a comic book film can get), moody, or dark. Is it supposed to tell us something about modern life? The hero is an absolutely misogynist prick and there is a lot of mean-spiritedness throughout.
One memorable scene involves a "training night" whereby Victor and Norman come upon a group of ne'er-do-wells and are taunted for being gay. Victor uses his superpowers to make the two toughest thugs kiss each other, and then one sinks to his knees to simulate the toughs' worst case scenario. All to teach them a little lesson about tolerance. We're here, we're superheroes, get used to it!
Proudly low-budget, but somehow the brief 87 minute running time was simply not brief enough.
One bright spot in the experience was the appearance of the writer of the film, Michael Sparaga, who spoke to the audience after our screening. I'm not sure how to say this another way, but Sparaga could not have been more Canadian--and I mean that as a compliment. Self-deprecating, funny, gracious, optimistic, and incredibly polite. A master storyteller. I could have listened to him speak at the microphone during the Q & A for hours. In fact, I would have preferred 87 minutes of "Sparaga At The Mic" than the film SIDEKICK.