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 »
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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Real or not, it's an engaging roller coaster ride.
Just two years after receiving an Oscar nomination for his powerhouse performance as Johnny Cash in 'Walk the Line,' actor Joaquin Phoenix shocked show business by announcing his retirement from acting to pursue a career as a hip hop musician. 'I'm Still Here,' directed by Phoenix's brother-in-law and fellow actor Casey Affleck, tells the story of the star's life change. Supposedly.
After Joaquin Phoenix's apparent mental breakdown which came in the form of a legendary David Letterman appearance and a beard to rival that of Zack Galifianakis, many people in & out of the film industry fought to uncover the validity of Joaquin's retirement. Shortly after the release of the 'I'm Still Here,' questions were answered when Phoenix & Affleck admitted their worldwide prank saying that, from the beginning, it was all a hoax. If this admission is true, this film will become one of the most believable & ridiculous hoaxes in a long, long time.
Regardless of whether 'I'm Still Here' is actually a hoax (or if the hoax is a hoax, attempting to cover up the breakdown of Phoenix), it is still quite an entertaining film. However, due to the seemingly obscene subject matter throughout the film, it's hard to truly believe that any famous person would allow it to be shown publicly, risking a hugely negative backlash. We see Joaquin snorting coke (off hookers' breasts at one point), spanking naked men with towels, ordering female escorts, and other low-grade behaviour. If all of this actually DID happen without elaborate staging, then I send full respect to Mr. Phoenix for having the courage to allow it to be shown on screen like this.
One issue that the film does have comes from the overall style. While the story, content, etc., are all exceedingly engaging, the actual visuals of the film were almost unbearable. In a low-budget documentary like, say, the recent 'Catfish,' amateurish cinematography & direction are almost expected. However, when a documentary is being produced by two successful actors and is directed by someone who has been working on film sets for twenty years, this bottom-level style just does not work when the validity of the film's content are already in question.
Overall, however, the film does work well as a whole. Joaquin Phoenix, whether he's playing himself or the insane version of himself, is impossible to not watch, even with his constant arrogant and selfish behaviour throughout. If you watch along believing it just might be real, it will be an emotional roller coaster ride. Even if it is all a hoax, though, it's still one hell of a crazy ride.
Final Verdict: 7.5/10.
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