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The subjects of the short films in “Gone Hollywood,” more than anything, seem lonely. The residents of the Motion Picture & Television Fund retirement community profiled in Show People describe getting older, losing loved ones, and reconnecting with fans (yay!)—but only on the Internet (womp). The artists who create sound effects in The Secret World of Foley work in a recording booth far from the sets where movies are shot. Mark Kologi, the titular subject of The Photo Man, buys and sells images of people he doesn’t know and imagines lives vastly different from his own.
The most intriguing characters are those who channel their loneliness into a different passion: Huey and Vi Vanek never had children, but they channeled thousands, if not millions, of dollars into their kitty, the subject of Cherry Pop: The World’s Fanciest Cat. Marcelo Ross, a Chilean performer, claims that he doesn’t have friends—only people who appreciate his uncanny impersonation as chronicled in The Chilean Elvis. Most intriguing, though, is Ronald’s Joe Maggard, a Vietnam vet who participated in classified missions and, incidentally, spent 12 years as the official Ronald McDonald performer. Friendly fast food mascots have rarely seemed so sinister.