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In 2008 while rehearsing for a charity event, actor Joaquin Phoenix, with Casey Affleck's camera watching, tells people he's quitting to pursue a career in rap music. Over the next year, we watch the actor write, rehearse, and perform to an audience. He importunes Sean Combs in hopes he'll produce the record. We see the actor in his home: he parties, smokes, bawls out his two-man entourage, talks philosophy with Affleck, and comments on celebrity. Written by
When Phoenix first meets Diddy in the hotel, he knocks on the door on the right side of the hall, then the camera switches and Diddy is opening the door on the left side of the hall. It can't just be a change in camera angle since the door is the last one on the hall. See more »
Well great, I'd like a fucking joint. And to be anywhere other than Washington fucking D.C. But life is not a Christmas day.
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I'm Still Here is a difficult film to watch. It's slow and plodding at points with long cuts where little seems to happen. JP's character is hard to like as he's spinning out of control lashing out at those around him. It's like Entourage during a massive drug addled shame spiral.
I get it, It was all a big act. Yet watching the film you can't help but scratch your head and wonder. What is real and what isn't? Are the coke binges real, the prostitutes, the tirades... Is the hoax a hoax? Affleck's directing and Phoenix's skillful performance made me wonder.
But what is definitely real is the public and the relationship that we have with our celebrities. Some of us (myself included) have watched (no cheered) the self destruction of certain celebrities. This film made me question why I sometimes hope to see others fail. I didn't like what I saw about myself, that having the successful fail makes me feel better about my own shortcomings. Few films can bring about such self reflection and it showed me that I am too scared to take risks.
Thankfully this film does not have the same aversions when it comes to taking risks, OK It takes HUGE risks. Who among us would leave the safety and security of a multi-million dollar career to make a film that will be misunderstood, often hated, and potentially career destroying? In the end was it worth it, that will be for the public to decide but I for one am inclined to believe that it was. After the inevitable lawsuits and box office failures, Phoenix and Affleck may disagree.
I found the final sequence of the film to be strangely emotional, and it really made me appreciate the skills of Casey Affleck. I've seen so many negative comments about his directing and I can only assume that those who are dissing his approach either haven't seen the film, or think that if there isn't a ton of glitzy effects a movie was a waste.
As for Joaquin, I found this to be his most compelling performance to date. Yes he was excellent as Johnny Cash but what about Signs, what about Reservation Road, what about Gladiator? (yes I know that won an Oscar but sorry, that movie sucked) After seeing I'm still here, I have new respect for the man and hope that this film will redefine his career for years to come.
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