I was recently made aware of Special, a new indy movie starring Michael Rapaport as an everyday guy and comic book reader who participates in a drug trial for an anti-depressant. (Rapaport previously starred in Comic Book Villains, about a rivalry between two comic book shops.)
Specioprin Hydrochloride is supposed to “inhibit the chemical in the brain responsible for self-doubt.” When Rapaport’s character takes it, he becomes convinced he has superpowers. He decides to become a superhero… and let’s let the press kit take it from here:
recklessly endangering himself in outrageous situtations with increasingly painful outcomes. Rapaport [is] creating a new kind of underdog crime fighter for our chemically enhanced times.
He doesn’t actually have powers, you see, he’s just deluded by the drug. It’s a first feature from two film-school graduates who co-wrote and directed, and it’s described as “a comic-book movie that is not a cartoon but rather a film that explores the very soul of comic book ethos.” Mmmm… maybe. It could just as easily be seen as yet another portrayal of comic readers as psychologically damaged, showing how ludicrous and dangerous it is to be inspired by superheroes. Says one of the directors,
We set out to combine the mythological structure of the superhero origin story with the aesthetic of MTV’s Jackass. On the creative side, this film was inspired by the realization that Spiderman, Batman, Superman, and all the other great superheroes could just as easily be normal people suffering from psychotic delusions.
Whether I like it or not, though, may be moot. It’s only got limited distribution so far, opening November 21 in New York and LA.