Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Thoughts after watching "I'm Still Here"

Originally, I watched the David Letterman clip with Juaquin Phoenix as an former actor trying to start a hip hop career. He acted so strange and disconnected and most people would agree. This performance made me curious to watch JP's and Casey Affleck's movie and I just finished it.

It is a star laden reality tv styled documentary tag along with an entitled actor trying to write a new chapter in his life by starting a career as a hip hop rapper. He tries to express himself in a new way outside of the career he's established. The story starts with him fully confident about his new pursuit and ends with him walking into deep waters. He has a small support network, but in the end they can't shield him from the reality of taking a risk. The ridicule, fear, and doubt he probably faced interally is mirrored by the system he wishes to leave. With JP grasped tightly the system says, "No JP. Don't try anything new. Do what works. Make people happy."

He makes a few attempts to explain he is serious about his new passion, but they only strap their foolishness and mockery tighter like a fake beard and repeat the system's message. He hits such lows that his pompous attitude diminishes to reveal an uncredited chorus silently repeating a refrain to do what has worked. Those in the acting career he has departed mock him and silently agree to take on the role of the villian in this story.

I probably sided too much with JP's character, but there is truth to the story. How often are people ridiculed when they attempt to take a risk and try something new? Often it turns out to be the opposite of a Disney movie with people rejecting change and the interal dialogues of the adventurer rising high.

JP, Casey, and company do so well they succeed at crystalizing the negative force opposesing a person following a new passion. They leave the viewer with JP walking through the uncharted waters of a still river. He is no doubt asking "Is this new thing I love worth fighting for?"