YA! YAAA! YAAAAAA!
For years it’s been said that the U.S. Postal Service has done wacky things to the brains of its employees, even driving some to extreme violence, thus the term “Going Postal.” But not all of these people end their employment in a fit of bloody violence. Some go on to bigger and better things, take poet Charles Bukowski for example who worked as a mailman for years before ultimately becoming a literary icon. Another person to break free from post office purgatory to travel the road to greatness is one Elwood Carlisle. Spending 30 years of his life toiling away for the postal service until he found himself a broken down, crazy old hermit, Elwood decided that he needed to do something with his life or die miserable. So, at the strapping age of 74, Elwood decided to start a career as an actor in Hollywood. Nearly ten years later, Elwood is still at it and has built up a lengthy resume of film roles. This is his story.
“Elwood Carlisle Superstar” follows the aged eccentric around Hollywood as he works his a*s off wowing, if not scaring, filmmakers and casting directors with his overly hyper and brutally honest personality. Of course, due to his age and natural wackiness, Elwood usually winds up with the same type of role. A look at his IMDB profile proves this as you can see he’s appeared in a lengthy list of productions as such characters as Old Man, Bum, Homeless Man, Legless Homeless Man…and he pulls these bit parts off with natural ease, yet Elwood’s passion and drive makes you believe that he could nail down pretty much any role thrown his way. Well, unless we’re talking about a high school kid in some teen comedy, then not so much.
The filmmakers keep this documentary light and largely entertaining by simply following Elwood around town and letting him do this thing, hopping up and down, oozing enthusiasm over the smallest thing and screaming YAAAA! and FANTASTIC! But this isn’t just all fluff. We also get into Elwood’s past and discover that he used to be an amateur body builder as a young man. We also get into his lengthy gig at the post office and how his job as postal clerk nearly choked the life out of him. This backstory helps to elevate this doc beyond the “crazy old man goes nuts on the streets of Hollywood” type of movie that it could’ve easily been. These filmmakers cared who Elwood Carlisle was and is and their aim is to make you care, too. They do a hell of a job as they portray a man fighting to not only get his life back, but to wrestle it to the ground and dominate it as Hollywood’s next superstar.
“Elwood Carlisle Superstar” illustrates the importance of dreams and how without them many of us would just wither away and die. The doc also supplies plenty of practical info for up and coming talent looking to do the audition shuffle: hard work and passion can pay off, but it helps to be a little crazy, too.