I'm Still Here Review

Last night I saw, "I'm Still Here," a film exploring successful actor Joaquin Phoenix's decision to retire and become a rapper. It was...actually very good-in a strange and disturbing way.I decided I wanted to see this movie when I saw his David Letterman interview months ago. The interview was bizarre to say the least. He did nothing to promote his new movie in fact, he made me not want to see it, but I wanted to know more about this rap career of his. I had hoped he'd be good. I'm a fan of people who are talented in a multitude of ways that share their talent. This was not the case. He sucked as a rapper. Like REALLY sucked. His decision to leave acting seemed not well thought either-it seemed like he was pretty jealous of Leonardo and Tobey Maguire and how they got roles that alluded him. He and his brother in law Casey Affleck (who directed the film and did quite a good job) were in a charity play and he was jealous over the amount of lines he had in comparison to Casey. I honestly feel he came up with the plot to make that play his last acting role to upstage Casey.
It took a while for me to process what I thought of the movie. On one hand it's easy to dismiss as a publicity hoax or a fraud documentary. On the other hand, it is by far Phoenix's best performance EVER! He was so dedicated to the role it was amazing. He was the ultimate asshole/insecure actor ever played on film. He was so utterly Hollywood that I think it would be hard for folk in the industry to see it because at some point he was doing some dumb thing that they do all the time. I also find it interesting that so few people were interested in seeing this movie when we watch that type of stuff on reality tv all the time.
The most compelling part of the movie was when he left The David Letterman Show. On stage with Dave he maintained the act the entire time but after you got to see some real and raw emotion. Regardless to if the film was a hoax or not, he realized that he had taken a gamble that would likely not pay off. He felt his decision to do this film and pursue JP had been a terrible terrible mistake that may cost him his career and he was afraid. That fear was so real that I was no longer concerned with the validity of the film. I had thoroughly enjoyed my experience. And I think if he follows this up with a great "regular" movie role and does everything Hollywood asks (the publicity tours, lose weight, clean up his look), his career will be just fine.

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