Saturday, January 29, 2011

Under 250: I'm Still Here

The best thing about I'm Still Here is Joaquin Phoenix's deranged, ultra meta, indulgently method performance as the bizarro universe version of himself.  We know now that "rapper" Phoenix is a lie. That the self-destructive tendencies captured by in-law Casey Affleck are all just part of the act.  Even the Letterman stunt was elaborate charade.   In that respect, Phoenix was/is brilliant.  The truth of the matter is that an act like that is far more deserving of recognition than his Oscar-caliber mimicking of Johnny Cash in Walk the Line.  The problem, however, is that while it boasts a remarkable performance,  I'm Still Here is a bungled mess of a film.  As a 'documentary' it's nothing but a patched together series of incidents and long-takes of near nothing.  As a fiction, it's supremely boring in its voyeurism. The peek behind the celebrity curtain is dull, dull, dull, and I'd be remiss in my review if I didn't tell you that I reached the point of surrender at several times during I'm Still Here; giving up, reaching for the remote, fast-forwarding to the next ridiculous scene and getting all kind of thankful I didn't pay to see this in the theater.  It's a strange curiousity and a ballsy experiment, but the pay off isn't there.  Phoenix proves he's an actor that can become  devoted to just about any project, Affleck?  Well, I'm not so sure he's much of a director.  An idea man maybe...

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