By Mark Bell | September 16, 2010

Now that Casey Affleck has come clean to the New York Times about “I’m Still Here,” his “documentary” about Joaquin Phoenix’s nutty decline from the celebrity pedestal, it begs the question: Why will you see, or not see “I’m Still Here”?

Was it an interesting film when you thought it was real; that you were watching a real human trainwreck on camera? Will it be more or less interesting now that you know it was all an act? Should it matter (we watch narrative features all the time full of acting, so what makes this different than, say, a mockumentary)? Should Affleck and Phoenix let folks remain unsure of the validity longer?

And if you have already seen the film… were you fooled? Do you feel less fooled now that the director, Affleck, came out and said it was never a trick to begin with, just a bit of performance art? What are your thoughts?

Personally, I think this whole admission by Casey Affleck is an elaborate ploy to steal some publicity from brother Ben Affleck right before the film he directed and stars in, “The Town,” gets its theatrical release. If you’re going to f**k with your brother, go all out…

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  1. Amy R Handler says:

    OMG, poor Andy! He was so great! For the longest time people thought his dying was a stunt—especially since he didn’t smoke! Anyway, I’m in total agreement considering River, and all the other messed up people in the world who’d prefer not to be. I wonder what we’ll all be saying after Wednesday night, and if anyone other than a few film enthusiasts will actually care.

  2. Don R. Lewis says:

    I like the idea that it was all a HUGE attempt at a Andy Kaufman-esque joke or some kind of exercise in method acting. But, takeing into account how River Phoenix passed away, I think it’s in poor taste.

  3. Amy R Handler says:

    I’m still really queasy as to the point of Phoenix’ allegedly orchestrated 2 year hiatus from film. Was he teaching us a lesson about fan/critic behavior—or suggesting that he is the best actor of our century? Really, do fine actors need such a Hollywood publicity-gimmick??? And why highlight mental illness as a vehicle? Is that entertainment? Obviously I’m missing something and am really interested to hear Phoenix’ take on the whole thing.

  4. Mark Bell says:

    But by coming clean ahead of the wide release, couldn’t you be risking turning off a curious audience you didn’t know you even had yet? The reveal seems too premature, like spending 20 minutes building up how great this joke is that you’re about to tell, only to then drop the punchline right at the beginning. I imagine Christmas with Casey Affleck being one where he tells you the gift as he hands it to you…

  5. 333AM says:

    I think it was a good idea to come clean before it goes to wide release. If they hadn’t they would have eventually turn off the audience to their future work especially if the story was broken by someone else. There’s nothing wrong with the mockumentry and seems like thats all this is. As for Letterman’s involvement, his show is just entertainment and no one should take news from it anyway.

  6. Amy R Handler says:

    CORRECTION! Phoenix is scheduled to be on Letterman’s show on September 22nd!

  7. Amy R Handler says:

    Right now, what bugs me more than ever, is that Letterman was supposedly in on it. It makes me wonder if there is truth in anything HE says, or for that matter, any “mainstream” talk show. What next, hoax news?
    Phoenix will be on Letterman’s show again, on Monday. If he’s clean cut and back to his “normal” self, will it be for real? At least Orson Welles’ great prank had genius behind it. This is just moronic!

  8. Many people are suspecting since the film is getting poor or below average reviews, they decided to just come clean and perhaps offer up some more options for people who have written this off initially. I am prone to think that Phoenix’s entire statement was nothing, and it this is just one extraordinary display of hubris from an actor.

  9. I was actually hoping against all common sense and reason that it was NOT an act, but the minute I saw the trailer I knew in my gut that it was. A fellow filmmaker had tipped me off a couple of months ago that there was some big “Joaquin Phoenix” hoax taking place, but I wanted to believe he was wrong. Don’s right… of all time to come clean… what the hell?!

  10. Don R. Lewis says:

    I’m peeved he revealed it was all an act. Why would you do that before it opens in a wider release?? Part of the fun of provocative, offputting movies is discussing them afterwards. What is there to discuss now? Seems like Borat for the Hollywood crowd.

  11. Phil Hall says:

    This reminds me of Garth Brooks’ attempt to foist the “Chris Gaines” alter ego on the public back in 1999. It was a bad idea then, and it is a bad idea now.

  12. Amy R Handler says:

    Yeah, I agree. What’s the point of the act, or speaking about it while the film’s in release??? Besides, I’m still on the fence about Casey’s so called admission since I haven’t seen any video from Phoenix himself, backing it up and suddenly turned “normal.” Has anyone else seen such Phoenix footage?

  13. Mark Bell says:

    True, even if it was an act… why? What statement is the film trying to make by Phoenix tanking his career like that? Is this the ultimate Method acting on display?

    Personally, I wanted to see the film before I knew it was an act, and even now, but, yes, having the ambiguity removed just seems less fun. I wish Casey would’ve let this one simmer, at least until the DVD release or something.

  14. sideshowRaheem says:

    The movie loses some of it’s impact when Casey spilled the beans of course we all suspected it was all an act but the even the slight possibility that it was real made it that much more interesting. Consider the words of Alfred Borden in The Prestige…”Never show anyone. They’ll beg you and they’ll flatter you for the secret, but as soon as you give it up… you’ll be nothing them.”

    With that said for me the line remains blurry. By which I mean if you are a rich, successful and well respected actor who takes 2 years off from your carrier to purposely gain a ton of weight and systematically destroy the Hollywood/public image it took years to cultivate, doesn’t that make you at least a little bit crazy, even if it was all an act?

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