Is it real? I don't know. But I'm Still Here, Casey Affleck's maybe-kinda documentary about Joaquin Phoenix's decision to give up acting for rap, isn't entirely fake, no matter how sincere Phoenix's pursuit of hip-hop stardom may or may not be. Here in Toronto, press releases have been flying with regard to the alleged presence of a "Joaquin Phoenix impersonator" (bet he's fun at parties) who is supposed to be performing sometime after midnight tonight. Score one for team hoax.
But even if Phoenix's embrace of terrible, terrible rap music is some kind of elaborate gag, he's still a nutbar; in fact, I'd argue that he's even crazier if it's a put-on than if it's legit. It's one thing to abandon a promising career — all but obliterating one of his best performances in James Gray's Two Lovers, the movie Phoenix was ostensibly promoting when he had his notorious meltdown on David Letterman's show — to follow a passion project, no matter how cock-eyed it may be. But to do it for some kind of abstruse conceptual prank? Now that's wacko.
More along those lines in my Philly City Paper review. If you see the film, keep your eyes peeled for my second cousin Larry, once the Phoenix family nanny and now one of Phoenix's retinue of professional minders. Can't say based on the evidence that he's doing a bang-up job keeping his boss out of trouble, but it's good to see him anyway.