Since this is a blog that, by definition, is about overthinking pop culture, I had to put together my thoughts on Casey Affleck's "admission" (which implies there's someone being fooled) that his documentary 'I'm Not There' and the "downward spiral" of Joaquin Phoenix was a hoax/joke/act/whatever.
My thought is this:
The box office must be really bad for them to have admitted it so soon.
That's all I'm going to say.
So let's just assume that the hoax is part of a commentary on celebrity culture's depraved indifference to, if not encouragement of, the destruction of real life human beings. A fuck you to fame.
Though I've found both men talented in the past, the fact that both came to fame mostly because they were the younger brothers of better known siblings and the marketability of the "sibling story" as a Hollywood celebrity building block... well, hypocritical isn't at all the word... but it is interesting.
Because of that, I'd just be much more interested in seeing what they have to say about the fame machine itself and the true way that it's affected their lives more than I want to see them put on dog-and-pony sideshow where saying "fuck you" to the fame machine that built them, especially when said show is the fake downward spiral tragedy of the brother whose real brother died tragically.
Maybe I'm not artistic enough. But I don't think that's it.
But even if it's more complicated than a "fuck you" but instead they're holding a mirror up to the world, as if to say, "This is what you want, this is why you keep watching Access Hollywood despite your disgust at what the paparazzi do to people, this is your creation"; well, if that's it, it was a failure. Here's why:
It didn't work.
Phoenix and Affleck, despite their potentially A-list celebrity credentials, aren't famous in the sort of slimeball infotainment way couldn't fake it because, despite us living in a TMZ/Perez Hilton/Access Hollywood world, celebrity and fame are as much of a construct as they were back when the studio system tried to tell the world Rock Hudson was gay. Even train wrecks, if not actually staged, are created by the system.
You can get away with the stunts that Phoenix pulls in the movie (drugs, hookers, even weirdness involving other celebrities who aren't in on the joke) and not have them be front page news, which is why this failed. When Phoenix did weird shit on Letterman, it was something but the rest of the time he was off the radar and since he wasn't even considered back page worthy celebrity when he wasn't part of the machine. So because the train wreck wasn't shown except in the movie, it doesn't become something we can be "blamed for" as "entertainment we asked for" -- because nobody paid attention.
In fact, it's the opposite. Nobody paid it any attention, so they had to announce the punchline/moral of the story/truthiness truth on a conveniently timed Thursday announcement so there would be something for the entertainment press report right before the all-important weekend box office. (Looking at the box office, it seems pretty clear that if it didn't go up, it would start disappearing from even the largest of markets -- there only so many small screens out there.)
In other words, the behind the scenes games the makers of the movies are playing is more interesting than the games in front of the camera.
That's a story I'd be interesting in hearing.