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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
Magnolia Pictures were rather annoyed with the whole set-up as they were trying to publicize Two Lovers (2008) with a star that refused to be interviewed and who yet was being followed by a documentary crew at all times. They believed that Phoenix's "stunt" took a lot of attention away from James Gray's well-received film which was a box-office flop. See more »
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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A scathing and hilarious indictment of the category of celebrity
Under normal circumstances, I might have given this title a slightly lower rating, but the criminally low scores given by some reviewers demanded a strong counterpoint.
This was an immensely intelligent and relevant film to come out of Hollywood, made by actors, celebrities in their own right, who are clearly sickened by the solipsistic egoism of the entertainment industry and its undeserved position of prominence in American culture.
The grotesque character Phoenix and Affleck bring to the screen, perhaps crystallized best in an instance where the former physically attacks a heckler during a performance and subsequently voids his stomach after all the exertion, instantly - and irrevocably - shatters the glamorous veneer that surrounds the category of 'the celebrity'. This, I suspect and fear, may be one of the reasons why some of the reviewers in these pages had an aversion to the film.
As a Brit, I've been brought up on slightly surreal, and often fairly, dark humour - a la Chris Morris's 'Jam' and 'Brass Eye'. But this really pushed things further, and I felt myself challenged as a viewer, which is always a good thing in my book.
My advice would be to watch this film and make up your own mind. Perhaps the best way to recommend this feature is to mention the fact that, almost 12 hours after having seen it, I still feel a warm sense of edification, a feeling that is rarely induced by watching movies (I'm more of a reader).
A timely satire that bursts the celebrity bubble.
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