I’m Still Here (4/20/12)

I'm Still HereMovie Ninety One

I’m Still Here is a documentary/mockumentary? about Joaquin Phoenix’s downward spiral, directed by longtime friend and brother-in-law, Casey Affleck.

I’m not even sure where to start with I’m Still Here since it’s hard to draw a line on what is real and what is staged. Supposedly, the entire film is staged but I find that hard to believe. One thing is certain, it destroyed Joaquin Phoenix’s career, at least for a few years.

The plot, if you can call it that, is about Joaquin Phoenix’s decision to quit acting and pursue a terrible rapping career. He also seems to forego personal hygiene and take an accelerated interest in prostitutes and drugs. The downward spiral of an Oscar nominated actor is somewhat interesting to watch and I genuinely thought he had snapped.

Perhaps the best way to summarize I’m Still Here is by showing Phoenix’s interview with David Letterman. We see a clearly disheveled Phoenix, but I also notice he seems to smirk at some of Letterman’s jabs. Is that showing that this is all a ruse? Supposedly, Letterman was in on the gag. Isolated, it seems like this was all an incredibly long and elaborate prank on the celebrity of an individual. Together with the rest of the film, it’s simply a mildly disturbing portrait of the ruination of man.

Assuming I’m Still Here is a mockumentary and the whole thing was an act, it’s actually somewhat brilliant. However, Joaquin Phoenix literally killed his career for 4 years, with no acting credits from 2008 until 2012. Is the benefit of a film like I’m Still Here worth that? Hell no. But I suppose Phoenix knew that going into the project. It’s not Andy Kaufman-esque, it’s just career suicide.

I give it 2 this is what a rapping hobo looks like out of 5.


Rotten Tomatoes


21 responses to “I’m Still Here (4/20/12)

    • He’s one of my favorites as well and it looks like he has a few acting jobs in the pipeline, so that’s good. Even though you didn’t like Gladiator so much, having recently watched it I decided to give this a shot.
      I can’t say I recommend it, but it is fascinating.

  1. Yeah what a nutter! When he gets dumped on, I was definitely convinced it was fake. I wonder if people like Ben Stiller and P Diddy were in on it. I suppose so otherwise he’s making pretty big enemies.

  2. I have a feeling Phoenix was just bored in that stage of his career, I don’t know that he’d regret doing this or that this mockumentary *cost* him his career. If anything, it shows his bravura (and yes, his zany-ness) as an actor. I look forward to him coming back to acting though, he’s such a gifted performer.

    • That may be quite true. When Sacha Baron Cohen is in character people just kind of accept it. I think the problem with I’m Still Here and Phoenix’s “character” is that it’s really him playing him. The audience doesn’t know what is really his behavior and what is faked or exaggerated.

      And perhaps I am assuming the 4 year break from acting roles was out of his hands, maybe he really did want to quit acting and took the 4 years off voluntarily.

      • I think he was offered several projects before/during his *retirement* so I doubt that he wasn’t getting jobs because of this gig. He’s such a talented guy, I’m sure he won’t have problems coming back if that is his choice.

  3. I want to see this based only on the “trainwreck” factor. I do hope it’s all staged since Joaquin Phoenix is an amazing talent and it would be a shame to lose him to drugs and prostitutes. How’s Casey as a director? He has proven his talent as an actor.

  4. Judging by your review, if this movie had a little bit more of a plot, it’d be right up my alley. A 2/5 is too “under par” for me! Haukaloogie Phoenix or whatever his name is always bothers me in movies for some reason anyway… not sure what it is, but he’s just got this “evil aura” about him. As always, awesome review mate!

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