I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

I’m Still Here

tn_imstillhereIs it just me, or do some of these movie titles start to blend in together after a while? The ones I have trouble with are: I’M STILL HERE, I’M NOT THERE, LET ME IN, and NEVER LET ME GO. Well, now that I’ve actually seen one of these maybe I’ll remember which one that is and it’ll help me straighten out which is which between the other ones by narrowing the choices a little. I hope so, because I’m not sure what else I got out of this one, exactly. I mean, I got something, I think. Just a something that’s hard to identify.

mp_imstillhereI’M STILL HERE (or possibly I’M NOT THERE) is the fakumentary/performance-art-project-souvenir-DVD where Joaquin Phoenix (Joaquin Phoenix) decides to retire from acting to focus on becoming a rapper. I mean, really what he did was say in a couple interviews that he wasn’t going to act anymore, then do the funny appearance on Letterman that caused all the idiots of the gossip world to pretend they didn’t understand what joking around on a talk show looks like so they would have one more worthless bullshit topic to waste away valuable life on, in this case the question of whether or not “it” was a “hoax.” I hope it’s not disappointing to anyone but yes, it was a “hoax” I guess, if pretending to be a goofball on Letterman counts as a hoax. Where was the TMZ when Bill Murray went on there claiming he adopted a panda? They should’ve gotten to the bottom of that one. And Crispin Glover kicking his shoe. And of course the Andy Kaufman ones. Wait a minute, does this count as a hoax:

?

Anyway the movie has Joaquin in improvised scenes with his assistants, publicists and others as he finishes promoting his “last movie” and tries to get P. Diddy Combs to help him with his album. It’s the very definition of self indulgent

(self-in·dul·gent

[self-in-duhl-juhnt, self-]
–adjective
1. indulging one’s own desires, passions, whims, etc., esp. without restraint.
2. characterized by such indulgence.
3. the movie I’m Still Here, if that’s the one with Joaquin Phoenix. Or is that the remake of Let the Right One In? I can never remember.)

but it’s not self congratulatory. From the early scenes where he whines that “my entire artistic output has been fraudulent”, to the part where his friend gets pissed and shits on his bed while he’s sleeping in it, to the part where he has the limo pull over so he can cry about his music sucking and that he ruined his life, he’s always the buffoon. He gets fat (not sure how, they don’t show him eating a bunch of donuts or anything) and grows his hair and beard out so even when he’s wearing a suit and tie he looks like some sort of homeless Amish man or post-apocalyptic biker going to church. Even when they have shots of him smoking and slaving over a pad to write poetry you know you’re not supposed to think he’s cool.

His character in the movie is different from what I’d expect from the guy in WALK THE LINE and GLADIATOR and what not. He’s not an intense, brooding guy at all, he’s a dude, a guy who says “dude” all the time and giggles at stupid shit and likes to humiliate his friends by showing their dicks on camera. He has friends he pays as assistants so they’ll hang out with him, and they’re kind of the audience stand-ins here, looking confused and uncomfortable but trying to be supportive. They know what he’s doing is a bad idea, but they don’t want to be the one to interfere.

I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a critique of celebrities in general, or a self-critique, or what, but it portrays him as a guy who thinks he’s a great friend but is actually a bad one. He thinks he’s doing his buddy a favor by “throwing him some bread here and there” to hang out with him, even though that means taking him out of sober living to snort lines of coke in front of him and make fun of him for not joining in. And also repeatedly demanding that he make a snow angel until he does, and then laughing at the alleged poor quality of his snow angel.

It’s a little disturbing to see the drug stuff, considering he had a brother who was a celebrity that died so young of an overdose. But maybe that’s his point, maybe he really does that stuff and hates himself for it, I don’t really know. It’s hard to tell.

There is actually alot of stuff in here that I thought was mildy, dryly, not necessarily laugh-out-loud funny, but sort of amusing to me personally. Like in GET HIM TO THE GREEK Mr. Combs is the best part. Joaquin is funny as he pathetically goes to New York and then Miami just waiting for Diddy to have an opening to meet with him, then shows up too late and misses him, then shows up at his hotel room and doesn’t know what to say to him. Also, the awkwardness of not knowing what name to address him as. Diddy? Mr. Combs? And Diddy’s expressions as he listens to Joaquin’s demo are pretty great.

But come to think of it Diddy is still only the second best part. The best is actually when Edward James Olmos shares some wisdom about the two of them as drops of water on top of a mountain and maybe they have to evaporate to get closer to God. When he says it it sounds amazing and deep and it sounds like ridiculous gibberish later on when Joaquin does a terrible job of paraphrasing it to his friends and they have no clue what he’s talking about.

Also I liked when he told his entourage “this is not my night, this is our night. JP is all of us.” And when a scene of him on stage rapping at a club in Vegas cuts to him leaving as a young security guy (I think a real one) says supportively, “well, I liked it.”

Oh yes, about the rapping. He’s probly better than Bulworth. He has terrible anunciation and corny lyrics, no flow at all, no stage presence, and it’s hard to understand what he’s talking about, but at least he doesn’t adopt an accent or very much slang. And unlike BULWORTH you don’t have to hear that much of it. Since it’s supposed to be bad music they don’t make you sit and listen to it very much. Except when Diddy has to sit and listen to it (and then wave them to the next track). In a way you could say that the Joaquin character shows true respect to hip hop, because as terrible as he is at least he sees it as a form of expression and not a specific genre where he has to appropriate shit from other cultures or imitate phrases and themes that are popular with other rappers at the moment. When Diddy talks about hits Joaquin gets embarrassed and says he’s looking for “a place of pure exploration.”

Unfortunately I think the movie itself is pure exploration too, and not the kind of exploration where you end up finding a new island with a bunch of gold on it. They had this topic and style they wanted to mess around with it but it seems like they didn’t have their sights set on any specific target so they didn’t come very close to hitting one. It probly says a few things about celebrity entitlement and what not, but I’m not sure either I or the makers of I’M STILL HERE or especially the makers of NEVER LET ME GO know what it is.

The movie doesn’t make me think less of Phoenix. It does show a certain fearlessness and self awareness that’s respectable, and a facet of him as an actor that I definitely haven’t seen before. But it’s not a very good movie. I can’t in good conscience recommend it to anybody. But I guess if I did recommend it and they hated it I could pretend that I meant the Bob Dylan one with Heath Ledger, that’s supposed to be good.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 at 2:55 am and is filed under Comedy/Laffs, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

57 Responses to “I’m Still Here”

  1. The Onion AV Club review strongly suggested that this movie is a fake, like an Andy Kaufman practical joke or something, but not a funny one.

  2. Talking about weird late night appereances, I’m surprised that Harrison Ford’s on CONAN last week didn’t become a worldwide gossip phenomenon. (No, I’m NOT complaining. Just surprised!)

  3. DocZ, i think an even bigger suggestion that it was a fake was when both casey affleck and joaquin phoenix said it was a fake. i’m actually about to watch this movie right now. despite the fact that almost every review i read was negative (in fact, vern’s is one of the most positive, though i think i did read one, and only one, review that would qualify as a “thumbs up”), i nonetheless have i strong feeling that i will like it, or at least find enough to appreciate about it to be glad i watched it. even the negative reviews made it sound like something i would like. will get back to y’all on that issue though…

  4. I think it’s worth watching as a curiosity piece. I agree with Vern that it’s amusing/baffling in places, not laugh out loud, but amusing. But the weirdest thing about it is that it’s pretty much pointless, it’s not an amazing cinematic piece, so it’s weird that Phoenix spent 2 years of his life with that beard and acting weird in public. It’s incredibly committed and his performance is great, but it all seems like it’s ultimately for nothing. It’s not funny enough or deep enough, and sometimes I feel like Phoenix’s confused self exploration/expression with his hip hop songs is standing in for his confused self exploration/expression with this film.

  5. hey CJ Holden, I found Ford’s appearance on Conan hilarious too

  6. Somebody with far more time than me should write an entire monologue out of nothing but movie titles, something like Vern hints at:

    LASS
    (melodramatic sobbing)
    I’m still here, I’m not there. Let me in, never let me go.

    LADDIE
    (haughty coldness)
    I spit on your grave. Y tu mama tambien. An Inconvenient Truth? Today you die. There will be blood. This Ain’t Avatar.

    LASS
    (sobering up)
    Be cool, law abiding citizen. Bring me the head of Alfredo Garcia

    etc., etc.

  7. BR Baraka – thanks for the best laugh I’ve had since I watched a few episodes of Panty and Stocking With Garterbelt

  8. Griff: keep it going, add a dialog, or someone else

  9. I don’t have much interest in seeing this, but I am kinda curious as to what people think about the actual film making. I’m not a fan, per se, of the mockumentary style, but I’d like to know if Affleck’s film is considered well-crafted, and what that would even mean in this context. Is it convincing as a fake documentary, and is that a good thing? Is it well shot and edited, and does that add to or detract from the premise? Etc etc. I’d be curious to hear what anyone has to say on that element of the film.

    Also, I’m amused to see that Vern gave it the same “fakumentary” tag he gave to horror movies like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY. That’s another discussion that might be interesting: how the fake documentary format of this film compares to the fake documentary horror films of late, which genre fits the style better, etc.

  10. You should review I’m Not There instead. That’s a great movie, although it might be impenetrable to any non Dylanphiles.

  11. Puff Daddy was the best thing in Get Him To The Greek? Wow, you must have hated that film. All I saw were his dead fish eyes staring out at me. What a horrible cunt that man is.

  12. I thought Diddy was the funniest part of Get Him to the Greek, and I liked the movie.

  13. Didn’t like I’M STILL HERE. At all. Yes, Joaquin Phoenix gives it his 100%, and Diddy is pretty funny, a more restrained version of his GET HIM TO THE GREEK characters. But it’s not really a film about, well, anything. There’s not really much material for the obviously invested Phoenix to bite on.

    A rich actor throws a hissy fit and decides to be a rapper, and goes about by being a completely delusional cunt. There’s not much there to root for. And I suppose there always doesn’t have to be, but the film doesn’t give much of a gateway to see what makes Phoenix tick either. There’s no deeper understanding, revelation, or resolution – just a shallow glimpse into one man’s entitled self-indulgence. I would’ve liked to see the film – being faux documentary – either go all out balls crazy with the implosion of the Joaquin Phoenix persona, *or* try to give some actual substance and insight to these proceedings. Now it’s just a vanity project, or an acting demo reel. In the end, I was left asking – okay, kinda neat performance, but what was the point of all that?

    By the way, that Harrison Ford on Conan? Damn that was sad. Seeing your childhood hero look and act like an early stage Alzheimer patient isn’t my idea of funny.

  14. HT: I wasn’t sure what was going on with Harrison either at first, but by the time he said “shit and die”, I was pretty sure that he knew what he was doing all the time.

  15. BR Baraka, hilarious stuff.

  16. I’m not sure how he got so fat, Phoenix is a vegan apparently.

    I liked this movie. I didn’t love it, but I definitely found it amusing. I also thought it was well-made on a technical level. I’ve seen documentaries made with much less polish, although the resources available to Phoenix and Affleck have to help. I watched it with the knowledge that it was a hoax, so a lot of the fakery seemed obvious to me. Before it was officially announced I still thought it was a hoax. But it’s not ridiculously obvious they’re all faking it. Most of it is credible. Ebert thought it was real. Phoenix’s rapping, for instance. It’s not SO BAD that it’s unrealistic. I grew up in the 90s and early 00s. I knew a lot of “rappers”. They sounded a lot like this. As far as I know, Phoenix still hasn’t been signed to do any new movies after the fact. Maybe there’s elements of truth in there, I don’t know. It’s rarely laugh out loud funny so you wonder exactly what they were going for. I don’t disagree with HT that the whole enterprise is ultimately pointless.

    I think the gist of this movie’s failure is that Phoenix was not the appropriate actor to go under the microscope. First of all we all know that he’s a great actor, or at least of a certain skill level. He’s not a “star”, he’s an “actor”. No one would ever doubt his ability to carry out a “performance” like this. And second of all he’s not exactly tabloid fodder either. Sure, the media took notice when he apparently went nuts, but he didn’t have a long track record with the paparazzi. So you have a good actor who could certainly pull off this crazy man persona, and a press that doesn’t really care. Now think of a movie like this except about, oh, I dunno, Zac Efron. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m going to go ahead and call him more of a “star” than an “actor” at this point. I WOULD seriously doubt his ability to quit acting for a year, gain forty pounds, and deliver a performance as consistent as the narcissistic tyrant that Phoenix portrays in I’M STILL HERE. And what’s more the press would eat the whole thing up with a spoon, he’d be like a male Lohan/Britney Spears.

    Anyway I still enjoyed the movie as an oddity, I think Phoenix/Affleck pulled off something pretty weird even if they didn’t hit a home run with it.

  17. Harrison Ford did pretty much the same routine on The Daily Show a week or two before Conan. At the time, I wasn’t sure if he was beingly slyly subversive or if he’d just become a senile old bastard. Watching him do it twice, I’m pretty sure he’s just having fun tweaking the cheesy celebrity interview fake “banter.” He’s mostly pretty deadpan, but occasionally he slips into a sly smile and you can see he’s enjoying making his host’s job difficult and mocking the predictable format. If it is indeed parody, I think it a much more clever one than JP’s from IM STILL HERE. He’s equally committed but hopefully he’s not going to be wasting years of his life on it.

    of course, the greatest interview of all time is still Viggo Mortenson on the Daily Show. His effortless mix of highbrow, lowbrow, and bizzaro deadpan comedy makes me proud to be the same species.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/tue-september-27-2005/viggo-mortenson

  18. Gwai,

    My assumption would be, since the whole thing is fake, that the film would be better made than a typical documentary. Not just because of the resources at hand, but because Affleck & Phoenix had other luxuries not available to documentarians, such as multiple takes and the ability to stage the action specifically for the camera.

    I’m curious, though, if the “well made” elements of the movie add or detract to the final product. Or is that not even a relevant thing to wonder about the film? Obviously, I don’t know. Part of the problem is that I’m sensing a consensus from most folk who have seen it that they aren’t really sure what it accomplishes, or what framework through which to view it.

  19. Dan – I would say that movie has been skillfully crafted to look like it’s been captured on the fly. In other words, if the whole thing was apparently real, there wouldn’t be too many red flags in there to tip you off to the fact that’s it’s constructed. It looks like it’s made by people with decent cameras who know how to frame a shot, but it also has the right amount of sloppiness. One example that comes to mind is just a short scene in the back of a limo near the end where Phoenix looks at the camera and barks something at whoever is shooting along the lines of “you’re filming me sitting in the back of a limo?”

    The other thing is that there is a certain amount of “he actually did that” to the proceedings. He really did get up on stage and rap in front of a few hundred club-goers that had no idea he was fooling around. He really did go on Letterman and make an idiot of himself. (Letterman was not in on the gag, at least not when it was going down.) These are essentially real things happening somewhat outside the realm of what can be staged and scripted and planned in advance, and they’re being documented. But yeah, all of the stuff where he’s alone in his house with his sycophants, obviously they’d have the luxury of shooting a lot of material there and picking the best stuff.

  20. Roger Ebert’s interview with Casey Affleck doesn’t help things:

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/09/casey_affleck_levels_about_im.html

    I think Affleck is an immensely gifted actor (see esp. THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD and GONE BABY GONE), but that interview doesn’t give me much faith in him as a director. Even ignoring his nonsensical argument for why the film and its publicity wasn’t a hoax, he doesn’t seem to have more than a vague idea of what he was trying to do with the film.

    “I don’t know what it says exactly but I know that it makes me wonder when I watch it.” Plenty of filmmakers have made similar comments about their work. Fair enough, but come on. From what I’ve gathered about I’M STILL HERE, it’s not a work of abstraction or narrative obscurity, but a fairly straightforward mockumentary. I’m all for experimentation & discovery in filmmaking, but does staging a transparent, Borat-esque joke that not many people found particularly funny really give you the right to the “I’m an artist and my work is mysterious and complex” excuse?

  21. Gwai,

    You’re doing a good job of making the film sound, at the very least, like a record of some possibly interesting performance art.

  22. Dan – I think that would the value of the movie, if any. I think once a bit more time has passed and Phoenix has moved on to whatever he does next, people might stop focusing on his motivations and their own vulnerability to a hoodwink (I detect slight resentment from Ebert that he was fooled so easily) and the fact that this year long labor of love produced an unsuccessful fiasco. Ultimately I think the film is interesting because it’s an avant-garde performance in a fairly simple character piece. But hey, maybe Phoenix really did shit-tank his career, and he’ll never get A-list work again. In that case this movie will have value as a historical document of one actor’s hubris and folly. Either way, two successful Hollywood actors could have come up with vanity projects a lot less worthless than this one, even if the jury’s still out on what the specific worth of this movie is.

  23. I meant to say *a lot more worthless

  24. Mr. S- Thanks for the Daily Show interview link. That was thoroughly entertaining. But he really thinks History of Violence trumps the LOTR trilogy? Strider please.

  25. While I enjoyed the LOTR movies in theaters, once they hit video I just couldn’t get through them more then one last time. Now they just bore me to tears. I’d watch History of Violence or Eastern Promises a hundred times over before I sit through 9 hours of that shit again.

  26. I guess to each his own because while the the first one seems to be the slowest of the three, especially the first half, I find the other two to be infinitely re-watchable.

  27. “I detect slight resentment from Ebert that he was fooled so easily.” – Gwai Lo

    I don’t understand why everyone has to be “smarter” than the movie. Maybe I’m the asshole here, but I tend to enjoy movies more when I can let them wash over me instead of trying to “figure them out”. If it weren’t for the major spoiler from everyone, including Casey Affleck I think this movie would have instilled some crazy emotions and thoughts in me much like The Blair Witch did when I first saw it. (I thought it was a couple of kids scaring themselves until the end where I got confused because I couldn’t figure out why they would essentially show a snuff film in theaters) Instead I’ll just watch it as a fake documentary.

    Also, not ONE REVIEW I read about this had a spoiler alert on it.
    Bruce Willis is dead the whole time in Sixth Sense but that should be pretty obvious so I’ll just get that out of the way right away. But before I go into my Sixth Sense review, Brad Pitt is Edward Norton’s split personality in Fight Club, The screen goes blank before you see the totem fall in Inception, and Rabbit from Super Troopers is the killer in Club Dead. Okay, now that we got that out of the way Bruce Willis has really proven himself to be a decent actor lately…Dick move. Not everyone reads E-Weekly.

    On another note, why does something like this get picked apart as a fake yet no one but those crazy Republicans, Trey Parker & Matt Stone look twice at a Michael Moore “documentary”? I can name about 99.999% of my friends that still think Bowling For Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Sicko are unmitigated fact.

    I also think it’s neat that a fake documentary such as I’m Still Here (according to what I’m reading here and elsewhere) never had any pretense to it. They just did what they did and shot what they shot and let the footage speak for itself which (and this goes over many documentarians heads beyond just Michael Moore) is what a true documentary is supposed to do. Just film the shit and present it honestly without letting your own opinion getting in the way. It’s ironic that the only documentary that got it right lately is a fake one.

  28. Vern’s review actually makes me want to see the film. Someone shits in his bed?! Holy crap, I want to see that?

    My only question is: How is it a hoax when nobody believed Phoenix was for real in the first place? It’s only a hoax if you convince people you’re going into rap.

  29. The original Paul

    November 24th, 2010 at 5:35 am

    Hamsline – I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU SPOILT CLUB DEAD… er… CLUB DREAD!!!

    As regards the review (another good one Vern) and the film – I gotta say, yet again I haven’t seen it and probably won’t, but I can hardly imagine a less interesting topic for a documentary. Granted, “March of the Penguins” is probably proof that you can make an interesting documentary about just about anything, but I think this is pushing it. Some actor that few people outside of movie-fanatics could even visualise the face of (“Joaquin Phoenix? Who’s he? That guy out of Gladiator?”) pretends he’s giving up acting to become a rapper and gets Puff Diddly (yeah, I know that’s not his name, but it probably will be by the time you read this) to help him make a fake album for some reason? Uh-huh.

  30. Didn’t Casey Affleck let it slip shortly before this film came out that the whole endeavour was just some big joke? I wonder if this film would have had a better reception if people were less sure of whether or not it was a hoax. I can’t imagine the film being all that interesting if you know that everything is staged.

  31. RBatty,

    In the interview with Affleck I linked to above, he actually seems to express frustration or disappointment with the fact that all anyone wanted to talk about was whether or not the film was “real.” Which I actually find a little obnoxious of him, considering the great effort he and Phoenix went to to perpetrate a multimedia hoax in the first place. If he didn’t want people to ask those sorts of questions, maybe he should have just been upfront about it’s falseness from the beginning.

  32. Phoenix was amazing in this film. I can’t think of another actor who could play a 13 year old vampire girl so convincingly.

    But seriously, anyone interested in seeing a similar but far more successful film might want to check out EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP. Many of the good points raised in Vern’s review and these comments (ie. what’s the point?) are addressed far better in EXIT.

  33. I was at the press junket for Phoenix’s last film, Two Lovers, where Affleck was filming. He even interviewed the journalists for 20 minutes about why they thought Phoenix was faking.

    I trust that didn’t make it into the movie, but it doesn’t matter if you admit it’s a hoax. It’s already not a hoax, because nobody believed it to begin with. As soon as Phoenix said rap, 90% of the media and public thought, “Oh, this is a stunt.”

    Andy Kaufman did hoaxes. You thought he was really wrestling until it was revealed. I’m not a fan of hoaxes either. I don’t think it’s any great skill to let us take you at your word then reveal, ha ha, that you weren’t being serious. But if that was the plan, you also have to acknowledge that they did not succeed. They didn’t even get to the taking them at their word part.

  34. EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP is a pretty amazing little documentary. If that one is a hoax then it succeeds 100% because I bought it hook, line and sinker. (Please note that the jury was still out when I saw the film and I haven’t checked back since to see if Mr. Brainwash has been officially revealed as a construction of the filmmakers). Whether the whole thing is real or staged is actually kind of beside the point, because what’s being documented is a very real phenomena in the art world. (ie. the original innovators who start an art movement for fun are usually displaced by the more commercially inclined fakers, and the public can’t tell the difference.) And I guess I’M STILL HERE functions on the same principle, because celebrity meltdowns are also a very real phenomena. It’s sort of similar to Sacha Baron Cohen’s shtick of inserting a fictional agitator into a real life social petri dish to see how the culture reacts. However, compared to I’M STILL HERE, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP and BORAT are laser-focused, both on narrative drive and the points they’re trying to make. You get the sense with I’M STILL HERE that they never really pinned down what they wanted to say with the movie, other than just generally “making a comment” on celebrity. I do think they actually managed to pull a narrative out of the thing in editing, but it serves no greater point, at least not an intentional point. It’s just a celebrity who follows a downwards career trajectory after a series of bad decisions, a story we see in the news almost every day.

  35. And I’m the guy who kinda liked this movie! I feel oddly compelled to figure it out on a deeper level, but I’m not sure there’s anything there.

  36. Hey guys, just a heads up, I might have to go off the grid for a while. I wanted to have a bunch of reviews up this week but they’ll have to wait a little bit. Have a good Thanksgiving, I hope to be posting again soon.

    –Vern

    p.s. by “I might have to go off the grid for a while” I mean the god damn AC adapter for my internet-machine broke and I gotta figure out where to buy another one.

  37. I thought you meant John Connor in T3 style. You have terminators chasing you?

  38. G’luck with that, Vern. I just got orders to prep my bags & vacay schedule in accordance with a sudden trip to a place suspiciously close to Korea, North & South style. Wha? Now why would I go there?

    Oh, agressive, insane, prospective nuclear nations. . . will you ever learn?

  39. I already kinda pictured Vern’s lifestyle as a Gene Hackman in ENEMY OF THE STATE kind of deal, so I’m surprised to find he was ever on the grid. Good luck at Radio Shack, Vern.

  40. Whoa whoa.

    Who dares compare Kaufman to Phoenix? Andy Kaufman was easily hateable, either because people don’t get it, or because they do and they just don’t find it funny. But I take offense to any comparison from the abysmal ‘I’m Still Here’ and anything that Kaufman did. Like him or hate him, there is no possible way to get around the fact that he had a phenomenal dedication to his ‘art’ and creating and living in characters.

    To this day I don’t believe anybody REALLY knew Andy Kaufman. They just knew his personas, whatever he was putting forth at the time. The only role he didn’t play was himself.

    Sidenote; Jim Carrey should have gotten an Oscar for Man on the Moon. Maybe two.

  41. jsixfingers: Laurie Anderson recounts a few instances in which she was Kaufman’s accomplice in her book Stories From The Nerve Bible. She might not have known Kaufman in anything but a professional capacity (she doesn’t say otherwise), but her little tribute to him certainly confirms that Kaufman was committed to his work. Like scary committed.

    Gwai Lo: EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP really benefits from the simple fact that Banksy is brilliant. A slide show of his best work would be better than most documentaries I’ve seen. I don’t know if conceptual artists are allowed to be badasses, but I wouldn’t hesitate to nominate his unsolicited work on the Jerusalem wall as a Hall of Fame accomplishment.

  42. Funny, Vern, while you’re away I’ll actually have time to catch up reading your site. I’ll probably post comments in a lot of old reviews too. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Jsixfingers: My point exactly. I don’t like hoaxes but if you’re going to do it, do it right. Phoenix was never credible as a deceiver.

  43. Banksy’s work in Gaza and the West Bank is brilliant. And beyond being brilliant it is all out ballsy as fuck. I say this as a Jew who has been to Israel.

  44. Good luck meeting your power needs, Vern.

    Safe travels, Mouth!

  45. Vern – I had to get a new AC adapter for my computer about two months ago. It was $45.00 and took about a week for them to order it. I went to a small ma and pa shop but if you hit up a Radio Shack I’m sure you could get one sooner and maybe cheaper. I’d go the ma and pa route though. Anytime you support a small buisness, an angel gets its wings.

    Since you’re not on the grid I’m guessing you wont be reading this until it’s too late, so…uh…yeah, who here like to bowl?

  46. I liked Andy Kaufman, I mean the dude was obviously a passionate wrestling fan and he played his part as the heel outsider to a hitch down in Memphis with Lawler.

  47. I just noticed how Vern posted that he’ll be away on an “I’m Still Here” thread/review/talkback/thingy. I wonder if that was intentional or not?

    Perhaps he’ll announce his triumphant return on the “28 Days Later” thread/review/talkback/thingy. Assuming of course it takes nearly a month for him to get a new cord for his computer.

  48. I found myself surprised Vern has a laptop. I always pictured him typing away on an old 40 pound, yellowing Compaq or Acer tower, the kind where the keyboard is connected with that thick, spirally old-school-phone-style PS/2 cord. I dunno, there’s something more badass about a grizzled old workstation like that. It has a certain presence.

    I’m not saying Vern’s not a modern day, tech-savvy, progress-embracing man-about-the-internet or anything, mind you.

    *cough* Geocities *cough*

  49. I love Vern, but this smells like a publicity stunt. Hopefully it works better for him than it did Mr. Phoenix.

    Just kidding!

  50. Bryan – THIS is a borrowed laptop, and I can hardly type on this shit. My usual computer is a crunchy old desktop monster. the AC adapter is for the little internet box from the phone company. I don’t think it’s a modem, maybe a router or something, but whatever it is I got no internet without it.

    happy thanksgiving and/or thursday everybody

  51. In the absence of Vern (hope you get your stuff fixed soon dude), just thought I’d mention that Optimum are releasing the first two episodes of Seagal’s new series, Urban Justice, as a feature here in the UK (called Urban Justice: Deadly Crossing) on December 27th, 2010. Just finished watching it, and it comes across as a harder version of the likes of Martial Law and Walker. The ensemble team are reasonable: you have a hot-head, the more experienced black guy, and two glamorous female cops, one of whom has just transferred from uniform. The acting is pretty decent overall and Seagal gets to act as mother hen while still kicking ass. The directing style reminds me of CSI:NY – loads of arial shots of Seattle, where it’s set, and some weird establishing shots – the camera focussing in on a coil of rope or a swan. Overall its got a strong look and probably cost more to make than his recent movies.

  52. Keyboard? Here I thought Vern creates his stuff by punching the internet so hard that Chuck Norris jokes turn into insightful film commentary.

  53. I really hope Vern sees Faster. He likes movies with weird touches and Faster has a ton of them. Thumbs up from me.

  54. hamsline: After his April Fool’s site a few years ago, I think it is safe to say that Vern can pull off a hoax with the best of them.

  55. When Vern wrote that he was “going off the grid”, I pictured him going full-on granola, looking a bit like Bruce Willis as a hippy while trying to operate a green toilet.

    Hope y’all had a Happy Thanksgiving.

    And goddammit, I have been avoiding Inception spoilers for months now. (Never got to see it in theatres. I’ll be lucky to get to see Harry Potter next weekend, because I’m not an asshole who brings small children to movies when I can’t get a sitter.) That was a funny post, though.

  56. Does anyone else suspect/dearly wish that Randy Quaid is formulating a better version of this concept (actor flips his wig, acts the fool) that might actually result in a movie I’d want to see? Cuz his antics are amusing and confusing me more than anything Phoenix has ever done.

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