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Casey Affleck has finally come out and admitted what we knew all along: that the bearded rap career of his brother in-law Joaquin Phoenix wasn’t really a rap career, just an elaborate hoax. That the documentary he made about his rap career, I’m Still Here, wasn’t really a documentary, just a lame attempt at a mockumentary.
He comes clean in an interview with the NY Times where Affleck says of Phoenix’s act in the film, “It’s a terrific performance, it’s the performance of his career.” Is it really? Because mostly it’s just this guy in a beard wandering around and muttering. It didn’t exactly fool anyone, it wasn’t really that convincing, and I suspect no one would have believed it at all except that Affleck himself kept running around insisting that the whole thing was absolutely real.
Except now that the movie is out, and nearly everyone who’s seen it has hated it or been generally indifferent to it, suddenly he doesn’t understand why anyone thought the movie was real. Says Casey, “I never intended to trick anybody… The idea of a quote, hoax, unquote, never entered my mind.” Not even when he dodged questions, as recently as last week, about the true nature of the movie? Because it really seemed like he was trying to trick people then.
That the movie was fake seemed brutally obvious when, only a few days after its release, Joaquin Phoenix suddenly abandoned his rap career and returned to acting, so I’m not sure we really needed Casey to clear things up. But at least we can put this I’m Still Here thing to rest and stop wondering.
Maybe it would have bothered people less if Affleck and Phoenix’s big hoax had actually resulted in something worthwhile, but the movie has nothing to say and worse it’s pretty useless as entertainment too. It's defenders will compare it to what Sacha Baron Cohen did with Borat but Borat actually has something to say and what's more it's funny. I'm Still Here exists only to cash in on Joaquin Phoenix's celebrity by toying with his fans and treating them with disdain. I'm Still Here accomplished nothing and really all we got out of this two years or so of self-imposed Joaquin Phoenix retirement is one fairly hilarious, utterly bizarre Letterman appearance. What a waste.