LA Times’ John Horn isn’t sure whether the new documentary I’m Still Here: The Lost Year of Joaquin Phoenix is real or imaginary. Can’t imagine what all of the fuss could be about:
Several buyers said the film overflowed with Hollywood debauchery, including more male frontal nudity than you‚Äôd find in some gay porn films and a stomach-turning sequence in which someone feuding with Phoenix defecates on the actor while he‚Äôs asleep.
Oh, okay. So what’s wrong with a little full frontal and scat?
It‚Äôs far from the Joaquin Phoenix you‚Äôre used to seeing onscreen: snorting cocaine, ordering call girls, having oral sex with a publicist, treating his assistants abusively and rapping badly. And not, apparently, playing a role ‚Äî or was he?
Oh. OH. Okay.
Turns out that no one is really sure what the hoopla about Joaquin Phoenix quitting acting to become a musician was really about. Was it just an opportunity to make this “mockumentary”? If so, it’s quite clever, I must say, and made more so by the actor’s willingness to, how can we say this delicately, open every available orifice for a role?
It’s a win-win. It will be something wholly original – it will be shocking – it will put Casey Affleck on the map and revive Phoenix’s career. Real or hoax? Both.
The tip-off might be the fact that the film is directed by Casey Affleck, Phoenix’s brother-in-law.
In some scenes in the film, the 35-year-old Phoenix is trying to get Sean ‚ÄúDiddy‚Äù Combs to produce Phoenix‚Äôs rap album, but the hip-hop impresario is not terribly interested. Another sequence shows Ben Stiller approaching Phoenix about starring in writer-director Noah Baumbach‚Äôs ‚ÄúGreenberg,‚Äù but Phoenix is barely interested.
Two buyers who saw the movie were unsure if Phoenix had turned out an elaborate piece of performance art, where the joke was really on the audience. While they were debating the film‚Äôs commercial prospects, the buyers did agree on one thing: They‚Äôd never seen anything like it.