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Posted at 8:45 AM ET, 08/17/2010

'I'm Still Here' trailer finally reveals that we still don't know what's going on with Joaquin Phoenix

By Jen Chaney

The trailer for "I'm Still Here" -- the Casey Affleck-directed documentary that's supposed to finally explain Joaquin Phoenix's bizarre attempt to become a hip-hop artist and speak unintelligibly on talk shows -- has arrived online. And after watching it, it's now very, very clear that ... we still don't know what the deal is with Joaquin Phoenix.

Is he serious about ditching acting to bust rhymes? Has he cracked up just enough to make him think that his hipster-meets-homeless-dude appearance is working for him? Or was all of this a well-orchestrated, impressively lengthy attempt at performance art?

Option C is certainly the most likely at this point. The trailer gives off such a "Joaquin-as-serious-artist-on-a-journey" vibe that it's hard not to laugh. And laughter may very likely be what Affleck and Phoenix intended all along. We'll know for sure when the movie is released Sept. 10.

Until then, I did learn this much from the trailer: Phoenix is a "mountaintop water drop." So, you know. There's that.

By Jen Chaney  | August 17, 2010; 8:45 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities, Movies, Pop Culture  | Tags:  Movie Trailers  
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I'll give Joaquin credit for one thing. Unlike his better looking and more talented brother River, at least he is still here.

Posted by: justmike | August 17, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Joaquin will never measure up to Dee-Dee King:

Posted by: HardyW | August 17, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Hey, stop wasting your time. No one NEEDS to know what is the deal with this guy because there is no deal; he's just another victim of Hollywood's drug sucking lifestyle. Ignore him and get on with valid news and people.

Posted by: 809212876 | August 17, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, stop wasting your time. No one NEEDS to know what is the deal with this guy because there is no deal; he's just another victim of Hollywood's drug sucking lifestyle. Ignore him and get on with valid news and people.

Posted by: Raxion | August 17, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

This whole thing was a put-on.

From an interview with Bill Scheft, Letterman's monologue writer, in the Indianapolis alternative paper Nuvo:

Nuvo: Tell me what it was like backstage after the Joaquin Phoenix appearance.

Scheft: First of all, that was all an act.

Nuvo: Even Dave’s part of it?

Scheft: Yeah. Think Andy Kaufman without shaving. That’s what he was doing. And Dave knew about it and Dave loved it because he could play along. He could do whatever he wanted with it. And he did, and it was great television. But I will take credit for the line, “I think I owe Farrah Fawcett an apology.” That line was mine. I gave that to him during the break.

Dave loves that. He had a ball. He likes anything that’s good television, and he knew that’s good television.

I’ve told people that (everyone was in on the joke), and not only don’t people believe me, they tell me that I’m wrong and that (Phoenix) is a schizophrenic and he needs help and he’s going to end up like his brother. I said no. I saw the segment notes. It’s an act. I saw Ben Affleck’s brother taping the whole thing from offstage.

Posted by: ma13 | August 17, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

geesh, what happened to that good looking guy in Gladiator?

Posted by: anaislynne | August 17, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't that Letterman interview almost 2 years ago? I'm all for practical jokes, but when you invest that much of your life to a joke, eventually your life becomes a joke.

What if people don't like the punchline?

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | August 17, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

i had to go find pics of joaquin pre-beard. WOW he really is good looking and now i know who he is........what the heck happened?

Posted by: nall92 | August 17, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

It's no coincidence that there's Joaquin Phoenix street art all over LA right now. Putting your portrait all over the sidewalk is cheaper than billboards I suppose. Interesting choice of titles since the guy never really disappeared and chose to be a hermit himself, it's not like the public forgot about him. Also Spike Jonze's "I'm Here" is still fresh in the minds of the art film audiences.

Posted by: ZeroHero0 | August 17, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Does this mean you MSM folks are done with Lady Gaga?

Posted by: BBear1 | August 17, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

What if Lady Gaga is really Joaquin Phoenix in drag???

Whoa! Indeed.

Posted by: MStreet1 | August 17, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

He's illustrating how absurd celebrity worship is. He's saying to all who fawningly come to him expecting something valuable or instructive, "I have something special for you all my FRIENDS," as he gives them one finger and then two. My hat's off to him!

Posted by: firethief | August 17, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

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