September 18, 2010

I just checked out I'm Still Here. I was pretty bored and alone (cry for me later) so I figured I might as well check out this documentary. I was interested in seeing the film after watching the trailer and, of course, the now infamous appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman. The documentary follows Joaquin Phoenix on his journey from actor to rapper, a move that some believe to be a hoax.

We follow Joaquin Phoenix from just before he announces publicly his resignation from acting till shortly after his appearance on Letterman and performance at LIV nightclub in Miami. In this time Joaquin unravels into a pretty big mess and grows a pretty massive beard too. There's some swinging dicks, fecal matter in the face, cocaine, dancing nude strippers, the most awkward meetings with P. Diddy ever and more. All in all it was a pretty good time but it also dragged a bit at points. Something about dudes yelling at each other in between snorting, smoking and drinking gets old after a while but the movie kept me entertained.

I guess most people are just curious to see if it was all a hoax or not, which is not revealed in the film. A simple Google search on your part will answer that question. I don't think it really matters though, for the film's sake, if it is "real" or "not real". The point of the film is the same regardless.

What would make Phoenix give up acting and pursue a rap career, or what would make him act out this elaborate hoax? The answer to both those questions seem to be the same. The point of the film is to illustrate the inescapable nature of the media. A few times during the film Phoenix relives his embarrassing moments through a computer screen from the countless people who've written, recorded and laughed about it. Phoenix wants nothing more than to leave the acting business behind and do something more creative but his past doesn't let him.

In the beginning of the film Phoenix explains how he felt that in acting you are never really yourself. You have to stand where someone tells you to, wear what they tell you, act how they tell you and so on. I guess maybe in part the film has a bit to say about how our appearance truly precedes us. His current career path is made to seem like a joke because of the person he was and what he has become. I don't know why though, people seem to love that other rapper that once was an actor and he's pretty whack.

I guess when you're a rich white actor with a beard that puts many mountain men to shame people don't take your rap career seriously. Your image precedes you. Image is important and the media creates it in part. Phoenix falls off stage and everyone is there, camera's ready. They upload it all in minutes and his image is altered. The blunders of a white bearded fool attempting to do something he "should not" and the next morning he himself will read it all online.

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