Thursday, February 12, 2009

Performance Art or Just Another Hollywood Implosion?

Joaquin Phoenix on David Letterman last night, ostensibly to push his "last film" Two Lovers upon us.



If the homeless beard and the 'i'm quitting acting for hip hop' announcements weren't odd enough these past few months, his behavior here is. It's painful to watch though the ever quick Letterman makes the most of it. Is the continual crowd chuckling merely uncomfortable reflex or do they find the larger performance joke that Phoenix is having on all of us amusing?

Here's my question: If Phoenix's ruined career is the complicated hoax many believe it to be, shouldn't it be funny? I can't think of a delicate way to put this but if you're the brother of one of the saddest drug-related tragedies in modern Hollywood history, should you really be acting out in this particular psychotic break kind of way? Celebrity meltdowns can be funny (Tom Cruise) and some permanent crazy train ticket holders are greatly amusing or in on the joke (Bai Ling, Anne Heche) but it's all in the context.

24 comments:

vince said...

Not funny. Not interesting. Celebrities can be so boring.

J.L said...

Joaquin had such talent, why wast it on rap?

Though Two Lovers is getting good reviews and is even nominated for Best Foreign Film in César Award

Wayne B. said...

I like Joaquin's work in films so I'm hoping this is all some sort of elaborate Andy Kaufman-esque fake-out. Hopefully this could be some sort of preparation for a future role even. Gawd, that sounds naively optimistic.

Anonymous said...

BTW, Nathaniel LOVE the new profile pic! is that a real Oscar and if it is, who does it belong to?

NATHANIEL R said...

it is real but i don't think it belongs to anyone in particular (it was part of that travelling exhibit)

BBats said...

If is is for this supposed mockumentary, shouldn't the character be funny like nat said. Who wants to watch a movie about a guy who says nothing and raps terribly? Not me.

Anonymous said...

I'm so over this man.

BTW, She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is getting very high praise in Berlin for her performance in My one and only.

I fear something ugly is going to happen at the award ceremony.

The Know Nothing Know It All said...

Wow...does anyone remember the scene from "The Royal Tenenbaums" where Eli Cash (Owen Wilson) is doing a television interview and starts whispering "wild cat..." over and over again...Yikes.

Moviezzz said...

The problem with this whole thing, is it is poorly acted. I didn't buy it for a second. Dave even appears to be in on it.

At least Crispin Glover and Harmony Korine brought an edge to it.

This is just an actor trying to be talked about. It works, as that is all that is being talked about today, but people should be ignoring it, since it is so desperate.

Anonymous said...

This is very fake, I agree with Moviezzz, and it's not funny, esp. given the Heath Ledger accidental drug overdose of last year and Joaquin's own brother's overdose several years earlier. Either he is faking and this is in really bad taste, or he's not, in which case he needs help.

CJ said...

EXACTLY! I was just having this conversation with my wife.

First of all, this was definitely NOT some planned out scene with Letterman; anyone who is a fan of Letterman knows that when a guest offends Dave, he's happy to ream them out (see: John McCain missing his appearance). Dave was clearly offended, and demonstrated that with his sharp tongue (gum chewing, anyone?).

Either it's a genuine meltdown (in which case it all speaks for itself), OR it's an elaborate joke between Joaquin Phoenix and himself (and Andy Kaufman he is not!). BUT, if it's an elaborate joke...what the hell is the joke?! What is supposed to be funny?! When "the joke" has played itself out, are we all going to think "wow, that was so clever, it really looked like he was mentally ill!" It's just all too strange to deal with, and quite frankly I think it's the simplest explanation here that prevails: he's an asshole (and I wouldn't have faulted Letterman for telling him to get the hell off his set).

Another question...why would the 'Two Lovers' PR people let Phoenix go around for this movie in this kind of condition? Then again, I guess headlines are good even if they come from an imploding actor.

Bing147 said...

I dunno, it seemed pretty obvious to me that it was a joke, that Dave was in on it, and I found it pretty funny actually.

Glenn said...

Even when he wasn't playing jokes his life was sort of odd. Remember when he crashed his car in the Hollywood Hills and was rescued by none other than Werner Herzog. That's odd. Right?

Also, Mariah Carey is a much better example of a funny meltdown. Tom Cruise was just strange. And he didn't end up making Glitter, hence - Mariah wins.

Christine said...

Mariah always wins in any contest. It's a constant. I will never forget her TRL appearance years ago; THAT is how you do crazy.

This Joaquin Phoenix behavior is just disturbing though.

Lara said...

Nathaniel, I completely agree with you re River Phoenix. I can't figure out if this is a hoax or not. If it is then someone should slap him left and right for being so stupid and incredibly insensitive. And while they're at it "lend a hand" to Casey Affleck too. If it isn't some kind of bad joke, when where are his friends and family to help him? Why would his brother-in-law travel with him and document all this crap?

And yes, Mariah Carey is a gem. Her crazy antics are always entertaining.

Lara said...

Just wanted to say, usually I'm not a fan of expressing one's anger with phrases that suggest physical harm. But as someone who had a big crush on River Phoenix back in the day and was devastated when he died (yes, teenagers are emotional like that ;-)) I simply cannot understand how Joaquin could be thinking this is an appropriate thing to do. How out of touch, how much of an asshole can one be? And again, if this is indeed for real, where the hell are his people?

Luiserghio said...

I think he is acting, it's so pathetic, the performance is so ridiculous as his Gladiator's performance...

charlie said...

I think it's great. I like it when actors don't play by the game's rules.

Say what you will, he is bucking the msm, and no matter how obnoxious or ridiculous it is, it's better than more of the same celebrity-fetish nonsense people eat up.

imho.

NATHANIEL R said...

msm?

Pablete said...

This is awfully upsetting.

Sally Belle said...

I will say this.

At a looping stage with Joaquin Phoenix slightly over a year ago...middle of the day...the man was completely loaded on something, or he has lost his mind...

At the time I thought he was a self-medicating self-loathing, manic depressive , or worse.

But, he is legitimately f'cked up.

Erich Kuersten said...

As Ralph Wiggum once noted "He's still funny but he's not 'ha ha' funny."

The problem with being famous is that it's very easy to slide into these sorts of things -- hell, even if you're not famous... it still takes an intervention, breakdowns, collapse, jail, institutionalization to get you to be sober, truly sober. For awhile you can pull it off, but then suddenly (or so it seems to you) even a few drinks or pills becomes a lot, your tolerance goes way down after being way up, and you wind up shivering in the August sun wearing eight layers... or die on the pavement or in your bed.

He might be trying some Kaufman-esque performance art--in his mind--but he's just rationalizing and making things palatable to himself if he is, like a guy who loses his vocal chords to cancer deciding to take a vow of silence...

charlie said...

msm = mainstream media

coffeerama said...

judging by Joaquin's appearance on the Letterman show, he might be going through an identity crisis