It’s weird when somebody says they have retired from the film industry, so they go out, and star in a film.
In 2008, Oscar nominee Joaquin Phoenix walked away from acting to pursue a rap career, an inexplicably bizarre detour captured in stunning detail in this documentary directed by Phoenix’s brother-in-law, Casey Affleck.
This is a movie I really need to think about. But not in the way that I was expecting. I was one of those people who talked about the Joaquin Phoenix interview on Letterman a year back, wondering if he was for real, or if we were all on a big prank? Well stop reading if you want to remain in mystery.
It’s all a fake everybody.
And the problem I had with this film was that it’s dumb-ass Director, Casey Affleck (no Ben that’s for sure), had to just tell everybody right away as soon as this was supposed to come out that this was all a hoax. I don’t know why, he couldn’t have waited till the DVD release, because when you have a film like this, you want it to be so unique, that everyone will be talking about it whether or not it’s fake, but when you tell people that it’s not real, you take away all the mystery, and isn’t that what going to see a movie is all about. So this ruined my watching experience in a way, because everything I saw, no matter how entertaining, and different, I just never got fully caught up in it, cause I knew it was all just a big joke, that never took me by storm as I wish it had.
However, there are some nice little touches this film did. I liked seeing how Phoenix made a lot of his scenes with other people, very strange, awkward, and just plain old weird, but I was fascinated watching. I also liked how Affleck captured the media storm that was focused on Phoenix the whole time, as he was being this huge nut ball.
For some viewers, heads will be turned away from the screen at time, cause there are countless penis shots, sexual encounters, and out of nowhere, crapping on people’s faces. That’s right I’m talking about a film about Joaquin Phoenix, not a Jackass movie. It also brings up plenty of questions of celebrity, reality TV, and the media, but none of them are ever answered, and it just leaves us unsatisfied.
If you honestly want to see this film, watch it for nothing more, than to see Joaquin Phoenix act his ass off. Watching him on screen, the whole time, seeing him interacting with all these celebrities, and sometimes real people, was so surreal, and being a Phoenix fan myself, it was cool to watch him. You see him as this crazy dude, that acts out in public, but then you see him confessing the way he acts, and why he does the way he does, and it’s all very good, but not too emotional, since I basically knew it was all a hoax. But as a rapper, he’s good at getting high, but when it comes to the actual skill, and flow with rapping, he doesn’t quite have “it”, but he’s not terrible, and at least tries. There’s also some nice little spots by P. Diddy, Antony Langdon of Spacehog fame, Ben Stiller, and a surprisingly touching scene with Edward James Olmos. I miss that dude!
Consensus: It is really a hard piece to watch and enjoy, considering you know it’s a fake going in, but Joaquin Phoenix is good enough here, and it was nice to watch some parts of this film play out the way they did, but it just didn’t answer all the questions I would have hoped it did.