2010 Starring: Joaquin Phoenix
Directed by: Casey Affleck
I like everyone else in the entertainment television watching community was intrigued when I saw Joaquin Phoenix, in all his disheveled glory, announce that he was quitting acting and becoming a rapper. My first thought? Its official. Everyone in the world wants to be a fucking rapper.
The media frenzy began and just after 2 weeks - it leaked to the media that this could all be a plot for media attention - to set up for this mock documentary. So in essence - it was all fake, a rouse...or was it?
The movie follows Joaquin through his new identity, trying to find people to help him with his new music, all the while pacifying his seemingly over zealous eccentric appetites - i.e. drugs, alcohol, hookers...your a-typical Hollywood train wreck story. Almost too typical.
Just when you think you have the movie figured out - and you think Joaquin - or as I knew his name growing up Leaf, the brother of heart throb River - has gotten the best of us all....the mood changes. Right about when he starts to organize meetings with PDiddy aka Puff Daddy aka Diddy Dirty Money. After two tentative meetings via his agent that Diddy blew off, Joaquin finally meets him in Vegas - but not without almost fucking the entire meeting up by getting wasted just before and not getting up in time, and being 2 hours late for their meeting. Diddy, with some coaxing, ending up seeing Phoenix - but not without an initial tongue lashing about wasting his time. After an odd, uncomfortable meeting, Diddy agrees to hear what Joaquin has and says he will work with him if he likes what hears.
Between this and making some club contacts in Vegas - Joaquin has a new found hope - happiness shines through his beard. Preparations begin for his big opening show in Vegas, to premier his new music to the world. He puts everything he has into the planning of this event, (except a stylist it seems). Finally the big night arrives, and Phoenix seems nervous but excited. I wont ruin the movie, but his reception wasn't what he had hoped.
Throughout the movie you see clips from what seems to be an old home movie from when Joaquin was about 10 or 11. The movie concludes with a long emotional trip to visit his father, one of the places most of us find support when we put our heart and soul into something and fail. There, in the jungle of Panama, he was just that 10 year old boy, performing with his siblings for the camera. It was there he could close his eyes and let the world of Hollywood fall away and his father embrace him. There he could accept his defeat, heal his dreams and find himself once again.
My rating **** 4 stars. Under the seeming set up..there is a deeper and darker message, which Casey Affleck nails. Brilliantly sad film.