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Fact or Fiction?

What he has to say:

He

It has been a while, so you may have forgotten, but sometime in 2008 Joaquin Phoenix announced he was retiring from movie business to more actively pursue his hip-hop career (No really, that is what he claimed). Not long after that came this "tell-all" interview on Late Night with David Letterman.

Immediately, speculation began over whether the whole thing was some kind of elaborate hoax. The debate continued even more when it was announced that he and brother-in-law, Casey Affleck, were filming a documentary chronicling Joaquin's journey into the world of hip-hop. For a full year, people pondered whether he was insane or merely a prankster. Now that his "film" is on the verge of release, the debate has once again picked up.

I have to be honest, I don't particularly care. Either way, he comes off looking completely insane. Rather sad too if you ask me.

If this is him trying to do his best Andy Kaufman shtick, that is already a huge turn off to me. I like all different kinds of humor. Dry, sarcastic, slapstick, vulgar, whatever, if it's funny it's funny. But someone who feels compelled to "pull one over" on that audience is someone whose not all that funny to begin with imo. Comedy is meant to make an audience laugh. If you want to be weird and obscure, and do things you and your friends find amusing, then do just that. Don't waste people's time trying to sell your brand of humor, because it is really only meant for yourselves. It is the equivalent of an artist who throws paint onto a tarp, declares "I am finished" and calls it art. Seriously, you can't get any less creative if you tried.

Even if it's a hoax, he still comes off looking rather pathetic. Who wastes an entire year of their lives pretending to be someone else just so you can say "Gotcha!" when all is said and done? At that point, it's a bad investment. He would have wasted a year of his life to prove some kind of point. To act like you "won" something after all that is really just proof of how sad you really are.

Now if this isn't a hoax, then that is actually pretty sad. Though, I would argue that if this is the case at least he's legitimately insane and not merely "pretending to be (which is more pathetic imo).

This article was written on September 8, 2010.

What she has to say:

She

Anne Heche, Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix….talented entertainers, or individuals who will be forever immortalized as “going crazy”?  That’s what I wonder.

Phoenix’s new biopic, documentary, mockumentary, whatever, I’m Still Here, was screened this week in Venice.  The world got its first look at Phoenix’s career and lifestyle changes over the past two years which include retiring as a talented actor, becoming a remarkably untalented rapper, drugs, debauchery, and, what’s this, acting in a documentary about himself?  I know, I know, documentaries don’t have actors; they are observances of natural life.  But I don’t believe there’s anything natural about the last 24 months of Phoenix’s existence.  The whole thing seems rather….staged.

First of all, the fact that the documentary was made by Phoenix’s own brother-in-law, Casey Affleck, stinks to high heaven.  That doesn’t make the whole thing sound contrived or anything…  Yes, that was sarcasm.  It’s like the two of them got together, brainstormed what could be the most insane thing they could collectively produce, and decided to go for it.  I think they just wanted to push the limits of how thin Phoenix’s career can be stretched without breaking.

Exhibit two of why this is just a gigantic hoax.  Phoenix’s foray into rap lasted only as long as filming did for I’m Still Here.  Aftewards, the bearded, greasy, and frumpy looking star vanished until post-production was completed…well…with a few notable slip-ups.  I recall seeing him in some YouTube video for a charity several months back (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzX6XXVEa4s), looking notably clean, and…well…normal.  And then, this week, Phoenix showed up at the Venice Film Festival, although he did not appear at his own premiere (I wonder why?  Dead giveaway), again looking like his old actor self (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yG955Pzp4k). 

Will I ever see this movie?  Likely not.  I’m not going to waste my time.  It’s just a guy acting like an idiot because he’s being filmed.  I see that crap every day on the ‘net.  Now, the bigger question, is Joaquin Phoenix crazy?  The answer, well, yes.  He’s crazy either way.  He’s super crazy if he actually thought that with his utter lack of talent he could build a rap career based on looking dirty.  And, he’s crazy even if it was all a gag; crazy for being so narcissistic.  Not to mention crazy for actually putting himself through all that in the name of what?...no one taking him seriously?  Artistic liberation?  Some sort of statement about American culture?  I don’t even know the point, just that whatever Phoenix was envisioning wasn’t exactly sane. 

And that’s my rant about that.