i don’t know how much of this was real or just a hoax, but i’m pretty sure a good portion of it was a ruse, and that’s a good thing. it’s a big middle finger to the idiotic magazines and paparazzi that follow celebrities wherever they go and constantly speculate about things like their mental state, relationship status, etc. it’s a commentary on all that as well as the nature of celebrity. phoenix is most likely a weird guy and i may not want to be friends with him, but that he was part of a film that pokes fun of all this crap is commendable. the film itself pokes fun of other biopics and documentaries that show a tortured artist self-destructing. they’re as formulaic as most any genre and therefore worthy of parody. the film isn’t particularly fun to watch, it felt like it was about 150 minutes and it was more like 100 minutes long. i’ll probably never want to watch it again, but i liked it enough the first time.
it’s a challenging film. it challenges you to think, on the most basic level, of what is real and what isn’t. it also challenges you to think about how you view celebrities. does your viewing of the letterman interview change when you see phoenix’s breakdown afterwards? does it then change again when you find out the film is a hoax? what if phoenix really wanted to quit and become a rapper and then played up the descent into insanity for the sake of playing into the media’s viewing of him (as the film’s opening suggests). i’m pretty sure i would have called this one a fake without knowing anything about it, but i guess i can’t be 100%. it’s like a less funny and longer to evolve andy kaufman joke. anyway, interesting stuff here.Watched in theater