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
In 2016, while a guest on the National Public Radio program "Fresh Air," Casey Affleck said that filming one of the scenes in this movie was the occasion for one of the only conversations of any length or depth between Casey Affleck and his father, Tim Affleck, about the debilitating alcoholism that the elder Affleck had struggled with during much of Casey's early childhood. Tim Affleck, who played Joaquin Phoenix's character's father, had been sober for many decades when he shot the scene, in which Phoenix is supposed to have traveled to Costa Rica to visit his "father"; Casey Affleck set the scene at a bar, "and I put a beer in front of my dad. And I was not intending for him to drink the beer. I just wanted him to be--both of the characters just to be sitting there in silence, sort of uncomfortable silence between father and son. And my dad looked at me and he said, 'I can't drink this.' I said, 'I know you can't, dad. You don't--I (don't) want you to drink--for God's sake, don't drink. And that's probably the only time we talked about his recovery and sobriety since - since he got sober. You know, he doesn't talk about it much. But he is a lovable guy, and I have a great relationship with him. He's really very, very smart. And it's been - you know, I got to know a whole new person when I was a teenager because the man I knew before that was just completely different. So in some ways, I kind of began my relationship with the father I know now when I was a teenager." 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 »
Edward James Olmos:
That's you, drops of water and you're on top of the mountain of success. But one day you start sliding down the mountain and you think wait a minute; I'm a mountain top water drop. I don't belong in this valley, this river, this low dark ocean with all these drops of water. Then one day it gets hot and you slowly evaporate into air, way up, higher than any mountain top, all the way to the heavens. Then you understand that it was at your lowest that you were closest to God. Life's a journey that...
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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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