What happened to Joaquin Phoenix? How did the seemingly shy, intense actor go from young heartthrob to Oscar nominee to punchline to pop culture mystery? Was it a breakdown? A retreat? A hoax? Fellow actor Casey Affleck gets close enough for an accurate look at what was really happening.
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Whether this was Joaquin's utmost effort to become a hip-hop artist which led to his public media meltdown or if it is just an efficiently orchestrated elaborate avant-garde hoax, I like it either way. The fact that this temporarily distanced him from the A-list Hollywood 'in crowd' makes me wonder: what is the accepted frame within the film establishment?
This is just ridiculous, obviously an elaborate hoax, and totally silly, or they wouldn't have shown Britney Spear's labia (85:04) and hired an actor to play J.P.'s dad. I think When Herzog Rescued Phoenix is made up, too; there's no evidence to corroborate that it ever happened except that they both say so and I don't believe it. The cartoon is a nice companion piece, tho: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDcnLfLaFiY
I admit that I had hoped this film might be much more enlightening or entertaining. But sadly it is a series of pointless and predictable events. At it's best, there are a few comical scenes and phrases, but mostly it left me wondering for its entire duration: "Why am I supposed to care?"
I wasn't going to watch it. Just seemed like a lot of navel gazing. I read a review on AV Club that said it was good. It made mountains out of molehills. Ultimately, the review made it more interesting.
Great performance by Phoenix in a film that documents the psychosis of fame and the symbiotic sickness of media and celebrity in ways that recalls Bret Easton Ellis, not to mention anticipating the current Charlie Sheen moment.
I started watching this and pretty much hated it off the bat. So about half an hour in, I looked up a bit more background on it and what really inspired Phoenix and Affleck to make the film and that helped me like/understand it more, but he's SUCH an asshole in it that I can't even focus on anything but disliking him.
From it's jarring yet gorgeous opening shot to it's enigmatic and even inviting conclusion -- this film is evidence that there are still unique and relevant artists working within the system today. Keep the experiments coming.