Apparently trying to create performance art might not have been a good idea. According to various news sources, Casey Affleck, who directed the mockumentary I’m Still Here, nearly went broke in the process of making the film. The way things are going, it doesn’t appear he will see any of his money back.
The story centers around actor Joaquin Phoenix, and his desire to give up an established career in order to become a hip hop star. In the beginning, it seemed as if the actions were intentional, as Affleck’s cameras followed Phoenix in what appeared to be a rather spectacular meltdown. As time went on, many people, including myself, wondered just how true all this was.
It wasn’t true; not a single bit of it. Although I can appreciate what they were tying to accomplish, the movie-going public seems to have little to no interest in the film. Despite the buzz and speculation, the film has only earned $259,000 to date, and is widely being considered a major flop. Some critics also haven’t been very kind. A search at Rotten Tomatoes brings a 58% rotten rating, with an either love it or hate it attitude towards the film.
So what exactly went wrong?
It’s really hard to say. Perhaps the concept was too hard to swallow, as if people felt it was more of a lecture on how obssessed we, as a public, are with celebrities, instead of how life under a microscope can cause someone to go insane. Or maybe the idea of being tricked just left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. Whatever the case may be, the next few days are crucial, as both Affleck and Phoenix try to do some major damage control.
I’ve always enjoyed the work of both Phoenix and Affleck, and hope they can make it through this.