Director: Casey Affleck
Year Released: 2010
Gifted actor Joaquin Phoenix decides to 'give up acting' and pursue a hip-hop career (despite an obvious lack of talent in that musical genre), and brother-in-law Affleck decides to record his 'transformation.' The transformation, however, is basically a long put-on 'nervous breakdown' as Phoenix grows a bushy beard, acts like a diva, chain-smokes, gives bizarro interviews (on David Letterman, to film critics), has 'moments' of 'self-doubt' and 'implodes' - it turns out it's all a giant hoax-slash-performance piece, and some people involved (Ben Stiller, Sean Combs) were in on it. Affleck and Phoenix - for whatever reason - seem to think this is a commentary on the problems with fame, but I'm not exactly sure that point comes through clear enough: it works, I guess, as an example of 'method acting,' but in a way it's also amateur hour and so extreme in parts it doesn't seem plausible. Perhaps if Affleck and Phoenix somehow worked their thesis into this 'mockumentary' a little better it might have been more effective, but as it stands it's basically a cheap, tiresome stunt. The ever-present Ray-Bans give him away....