Saturday, October 2, 2010
I'm Still Here. (2010) Casey Affleck
It's no fun to watch a good actor destroy himself. Yes, I said "himself," and not simply his career. A part of a seemingly decent person dies here, whether they want to pass it off as fiction or not.
And it's not even fun as a gag, even when you're in on the joke and know the punch line.
Like wimpy freshman in the senior locker room, Affleck and Phoenix let the cat out of the bag last week. Tail ducked firmly between their legs, the Big Reveal was something I've known all along -- that none of this was real. Or, at least it wasn't real for them. We don't know who they duped in the process of capturing their "fictional" lives, or what it may have cost them in terms of friendships and acquaintances.
A famous Emerson quote says, "A cynic can chill or dishearten with a single word." Taken to greater proportions, a film maker can chill and dishearten the masses with a single cynical film.
The project may have started out as a rush, the adrenaline of being the only ones in on the Big Bad Secret. But to pull this off, wouldn't Phoenix have needed to actually smell like alcohol and not just simply act drunk? The lies may have been conceived as an art stunt (which apparently didn't work too well), but there's truth to be found even in the greatest of lies, and after watching this vapid prankumentary even with the knowledge that it's a facade, I still think Phoenix had fun throwing up on himself. What he did in falling apart, he did well. With hookers, booze and drugs. Let the campaign to cover-up begin. They can say it was for art, but I think not.
The real problem, however, is that anyone, anywhere can do this. It doesn't take talent, it simply takes a pulse. I've done it, I've pulled apart years of foundation I once laid -- and when I did it, I did it for real. Didn't have the press or media to run to and say, "It was all a trick! Forgive me and restore me, pleeeeeeze!!" All it takes is an ID with proof that you're 21 or older and anyone can do what's done here. Get a friend or family member to film it and maybe you can make a better film than this.