BOOTLEG FILES 770: “Supermark vs. Batmark!” (2021 one-man parody of superhero flicks).
LAST SEEN: On YouTube.
AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: None.
REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: An obvious parody of trademarked properties.
CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Unlikely.
On New Year’s Eve 2018, Connecticut real estate broker Mark Pires was sitting alone in his office was reviewing his sales efforts for the year that was coming to a close.
“I had a decent real estate year and looked back at what was different from the year prior,” he recalled in an interview with the Fairfield County Business Journal. “The year prior was really strong.”
What was the difference between Pires’ 2017 and 2018 efforts? Pires believed the previous year was more lucrative because he made a greater use of video during 2017. His videos were a mixed bag of serious walk-throughs of the properties he represented and lightly comic videos where he indulged in celebrity impressions as part of his sales pitch.
Pires was no stranger to show business – before embarking on his real estate career, he was a teen actor who played a Romeo for a year in “Romeo and Juliet” at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Connecticut and a singer/songwriter whose music appeared on MTV. He was comfortable being on camera and before an audience, and he felt it was time to return to the spotlight.
“So, I thought that maybe my disconnect was that I didn’t do as much video,” he said.
To ensure that 2019 would see greater sales activity, Pires grabbed a camera and took advantage of the empty office to shoot a quickie video. He posted another video for New Year’s Day, this time reminding potential viewers that his consultative work as a real estate broker came at no cost. The day after, he shot and posted another video, and then kept posting videos each day after.
Today, he is still posting videos, but his focus has shifted away from selling his local real estate brokerage work into a wild and often surreal mix of music, improvised comedy and stream-of-consciousness commentary. Pires often performs classic and original music on both the guitar and the BeatSeat, a wooden percussion instrument that he invented and patented. However, attempts by the author of this column to get Pires to perform the ditty “Crabs for Christmas” on his daily YouTube show have yet be fulfilled.
On May 21, 2021, Pires unveiled what might be his most ambitious online video to date: a nearly two-hour film where plays all of the roles. “Supermark vs. Batmark!” riffs on a couple of trademark- and copyright-protected superhero figures, but there is clearly no harm done (intellectually, spiritually or otherwise) in this jolly spoof.
“Supermark vs. Batmark!” opens with three Pireses for the price of one: Pires’ original character of the raspy voiced and vaguely lovable rogue Dick Facce article flanked by Pires as a cornered villain with a Pires in a Superman outfit and Pires in a Batman outfit, with Egypt’s pyramids (of all things) projected behind them. The villainous Facce escapes tricks the superheroes into believing he is reformed, which leads to the film’s trajectory.
For a no-budget, one-man show, “Supermark vs. Batmark!” is very impressive. Pires plays Clark Kent (complete with dark-rimmed eyeglasses) against a newsroom backdrop with a soundtrack full of effects that suggest a cove of reporters in the midst of daily news gathering. He then places himself as Bruce Wayne doing a presentation before an auditorium of investors and later in the Batcave sans his cape and cowl. Once he becomes Batman…whoops, sorry, Batmark…he takes on the whispery voice of the Michael Keaton version of the Caped Crusader.
Supermark and Batmark then confront Facce in Gotham City (which looks a lot like Mardi Gras-festive New Orleans in the rear projection images), but the villain escapes. Pires then comes on as Dr. Wayne Doppler, a scientific intellect who happens to be the tallest man alive, to offer advice to Batmark. Supermark and Batmark have a quick conference in New York’s Times Square before heading to the Egyptian setting in the film’s prologue to confront the villainous Facce.
For a production that probably cost less than a McDonald’s lunch to produce, “Supermark vs. Batmark!” is a ton of fun. And it is a testament to Pires’ creative powers to create a work of delightful whimsy where he plays all four roles with vigor and pizazz. Rarely has a YouTube video been so intricate and invigorating.
“Supermark vs. Batmark!” was posted on Pires’ YouTube page on May 21. While a DVD or Blu-ray release is not likely, this free entertainment is well worth checking out. And I would strongly recommend to subscribing to Pires’ YouTube page for his daily offerings of original and eclectic entertainment.
Still, as a personal aside, I am waiting for him to perform “Crabs for Christmas” on his program. Come on, Mark, repeat after me: “In a department store north of Houston, sat a Santa Claus on Christmas Eve. In a minute he knows, the front door will close, and this tired, old Santa can pack up and leave…”
IMPORTANT NOTICE: While this weekly column acknowledges the presence of rare film and television productions through the so-called collector-to-collector market, this should not be seen as encouraging or condoning the unauthorized duplication and distribution of copyright-protected material, either through DVDs or Blu-ray discs or through postings on Internet video sites.