Joaquin Phoenix, 'Still Here' (But Not All There?) Despite the dominance of reality shows on television, it's become harder and harder to tell what's actually real and what's been augmented, massaged or just plain made up. Casey Affleck's new film, said to be a documentary about an actor in full flame-out, is only going to add fuel to that fire.
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Joaquin Phoenix, 'Still Here' (But Not All There?)

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Joaquin Phoenix, 'Still Here' (But Not All There?)

Review

Movies

Joaquin Phoenix, 'Still Here' (But Not All There?)

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Our film critic Kenneth Turan would like to unravel the true story of a new documentary. As with reality TV shows, it's hard to know how much reality there is in the film "I'm Still Here."

KENNETH TURAN: "I'm Still Here" is being presented as a documentary, a behind- the-scenes portrayal of a tumultuous year in the life of actor Joaquin Phoenix. It was a time when the two-time Oscar nominee insisted he was leaving acting to begin a career in rap music.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "I'M STILL HERE")

JOAQUIN PHOENIX: Phoenix to see Diddy, Mr. Combs, Sean.

TURAN: For advice, he goes to celebrated music producer Sean Combs.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "I'M STILL HERE")

SEAN COMBS: Do you have any money?

PHOENIX: I have a little studio, you know. I have a garage, got Pro Tools set up.

COMBS: See, that's the mother (bleep) problem.

PHOENIX: Yes, how much?

COMBS: Craft services...

PHOENIX: Yeah (unintelligible)

COMBS: Studio, engineer...

PHOENIX: I got it.

COMBS: Me.

PHOENIX: Well...

COMBS: Me.

PHOENIX: Yeah, you.

TURAN: It all culminates in his famous meltdown on the David Letterman show.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "I'M STILL HERE")

DAVID LETTERMAN: You're not going to act anymore?

PHOENIX: No.

LETTERMAN: Huh. Why is that?

PHOENIX: Um, I don't know.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

TURAN: Fake or not, "I'm Still Here" is no fun to watch. Filming someone having a mental breakdown is embarrassing and exploitative at best, and the notion that director Affleck would take advantage of his own brother-in-law this way doesn't hold water, even in Hollywood.

INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times.

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