AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL 2012
By Don Simpson | October 20, 2012
Director: Don Swaynos
Writer: Don Swaynos
Starring: Kerri Lendo, Shannon McCormick, John Merriman, Byron Brown, Chris Doubek
Like an absurd psychological study of the multiple personalities of modern life in Austin, writer-director Don Swaynos’ Pictures of Superheroes cleverly juxtaposes a slackerish man-child with a self-absorbed entrepreneur. Joe (John Merriman) and Eric (Shannon McCormick) reside in the same house together but have grown so far apart, that Eric no longer recognizes Joe’s existence — literally, Eric is so busy that forgets that he has a roommate.
While Eric never stops working, Joe never works. Joe has a job as a bus boy at a restaurant, but he has not worked there for several weeks. So Joe presumably stays around the house all day, haunting Eric by perpetually messing up the house. This is precisely where Marie (Kerri Lendo) comes in.
Marie is fired from her housekeeping job by an email that she never read and her boyfriend (Byron Brown) has scheduled an appointment to break up with her. On one fateful day, Eric discovers Marie hopelessly wandering down the street while donning the maid’s uniform in which she lives, sleeps and dreams.
Eric hires Marie as his personal maid, thus dragging her into the absurd world in which he exists. Marie befriends Joe, who instantly believes that he is dating Marie; meanwhile, Eric hires Marie to be his make believe wife for various functions.
Swaynos’ script is saturated with dry and subtle humor built upon the surreal situation of someone no longer realizing that they have a roommate. Pictures of Superheroes delves deeply into interpersonal relationships, specifically focusing on the disconnections and selfishness that seem to have become inherent in our oh-so-hectic modern society. In Swaynos’ unique cinematic place, there is a moral responsibility to obtain a work/life balance, to pay attention to one’s surroundings, and to exist; but the most profound statement to be found within Pictures of Superheroes is that despite the fact that Eric and Joe’s approaches to work and life are so drastically opposite, their choices have stuck them in the same exact place. Their house is a surrealist limbo in which they must reexamine their life philosophies in order to escape.