Time Out

I’ve been thinking off and on about Joaquin Phoenix‘s annnounced retirement from acting, the news of which broke three or so days ago. I don’t care what he says — this is a Frank Sinatra/Daniel Day Lewis retirement. Two to three years and then back in it. But when he returns, “Joaq” might want to be a few pounds thinner. He’s been looking a little chunky lately. A little bit of a Brian Dennehy thing going on.

I think his decision is mainly a reaction to his having acted in three critical and commercial duds in a row — We Own The Night, Reservation Road and Two Lovers. (I’ve seen Two Lovers and can foresee its box-office fate.) Plus the fact that everyone ignored Ladder 49.

On top of the apparent fact that Pheonix likes to appear in movies that are (a) emotionally straightforward and unambiguous, (b) blue-collar-ish (i.e., films about lugs who feel weighed down by family expectations and who haven’t had an elegant education) and (b) offbeat indie-ish. And the fact that audiences have been shrugging their shoulders at such films. He doesn’t see where he fits in, and so he’s getting out…for now.

  • BurmaShave

    Re: the Dennehy comment. Laughed out loud, but you’re still mental.

  • actionman

    He was terrific in We Own the Night, which was a very solid cop flick.

    Reservation Road was flawed but had some great scenes. Ruffalo stole that one completely, though.

    I am really anxious to see Two Lovers…will anyone be releasing it in the U.S. or will it go straight to DVD? I haven’t read anything bad about and it sounds very well done based on the reviews that have been posted on-line…

  • actionman

    And however bland and average Ladder 49 was as a film overall, it has some of the best fire scenes ever put on film. And didn’t it do some box office? At least $60 million domestic, no?

  • DeafBrownTrashPunk

    he seems so out of it. Poor guy, i hope he’s not on drugs or anything.

  • http://blogs.amctv.com/fear-video-contest/2008/10/fear-colin-moriarty.php CarloDennis

    Anthony Hopkins and Liam Neeson (or was it Ralph Fiennes?) also “retired” years ago. Hopkins had insisted Titus was going to be his final performance.

  • Dr. Smith

    Has any show biz person other than Johnny Carson ever announced their retirement and stayed retired? Off the top of my head I can’t think of one.

  • Dr. Smith

    I guess Paul Newman did; I remember reading that.

  • http://www.robertcashill.blogspot.com btwnproductions

    It’s hard for the public to miss someone they barely remember, save for two or three movies over the last eight years. It’s basically just whatever-it’s-worth publicity and a crediblity grab for his music career. Look for him to return in a superhero movie.

    Magnolia is releasing Two Lovers next Feb. 13. Two people are likely to see it. I respect Magnolia but its films have a hard time gaining any traction at the boxoffice.

  • actionman

    Thanks for the heads up on the release date of Two Lovers.

  • Mark

    So 3 duds in a row mandates actor retirement? Someone tell Colin Farrel.

  • Rich S.

    So…..did he write on his knuckles that way so he could read his own statement when he turns his fists around? What’s next? Obama! Vote?

  • lonniechung

    Grand pronouncements are the quickest way to lose credibility. He’s a good/sometimes great actor who can’t find his place in Hollywood. The fork in the acting road for him now is the Nic Cage path of self-parody with paychecks, or the Val Kilmer path of garbage obscurity. I say retire, gain weight and enjoy life.

  • HarveyCo

    Yeah, the Brian Dennehy comparison is somehow funnier in this case than when you used it to describe Ryan Gosling a while back.

    Seventeenth rule of comedy: If a punchline doesnt work, keep recycling it till it does!

  • storymark

    Dr. Smith – So far, Sean Connery has kept to his word, turning down what must have been a sizeable chunk of change for a cameo in Indy 4.

    he did do voiceover work for a video game a couple years back, but I don’t think that really counts.

  • erniesouchak

    He should probably get off the junk. Did you see that clip? Oy.

  • Joshua Mooney

    Methinks the laddie doth protest too much. Seriously, why reject so definitively and aggressively a career that’s brought you fame, critical acclaim, an Oscar nom, and probably $10 million in the bank before you’re 35? Why not just say, in answer to “What’s your next film?” at the press junket:
    —“Well, I’ll be taking some time off from acting to pursue music, which is, I realize, my true passion.”
    —“Really? That’s it for acting? You’re retiring?
    –What? I didn’t say that. I’ve worked hard these last couple years. Music is what moves me now. It may be a couple years off, it may be permanent. Who can say? I live my life one day at a time. More people should.”
    —But, music? Are you any good?
    –Uh, yes, hello? There’s lots of evidence of that on-screen, for starters. Your apology is accepted.
    —Oh, I didn’t mean to–
    —“Forget it. No problem.” (Laughs)

    No, Joaquin’s behaving far more strangely than that. But: Consider his brother. Consider his upbringing. And his substance abuse problems, which he was said to have licked. Then again, it’s a lifelong struggle. The reports of him being “out of it” etc. at the Paul Newman tribute sound to me like someone who’s relapsed. Just my opinion, of course. But then there’s his Robert-Mitchum finger-tattoos: “Bye! Good.” Oops! He’s probably just dsylexic, though. Or else he did that in a mirror. Joaquin’s secret shame? He’s voting for McCain.

    I think the fucker’s great. Certainly the only part of “8mm” I could stand. I wish him well. And he actually looks good with a few extra pounds on. With that beard? Dude’s almost cuddly.

  • Sonic Boom

    I think it’s more of a reaction to the massive amount of drugs the guy is clearly on.

  • frankbooth

    Ashley Todd helped him write that.

    And speaking of retiring (for good), RIP Yma Sumac.

  • Joshua Mooney

    Ohhhh, that would explain the dark glasses! If it was a snake it would’ve bit me!

    Sonic Boom says …
    I think it’s more of a reaction to the massive amount of drugs the guy is clearly on.

  • T. S. Idiot

    At first, I thought it was Kevin Smith.

  • Aris P

    This is cocaine.

    This is your brain on cocaine.

    Any questions?

  • huntermdaniels

    49 Ladders made money. It played long if I remember.

  • p.Vice

    Why is it always the good people who either retire and/or crack up while the shitheels keep on crankin ‘em out?

  • DavidF

    Connery has stayed true to his word since announcing his retirement. I dunno how much effort they made for Indy IV but it sounds like they tried.

    Also, Dennehy lost A LOT of weight. It’s still amusing, I guess.

  • The Hoyk

    Funny, I always thought the extreme vegan lifestyle was supposed to be healthier.

  • MickTravis

    Speaking of Kevin Smith and obesity … seeing him on the Zack and Miri publicity tour is astonishing. He was never a slender reed but lately he’s gigantic, alarmingly larger than normal — I’m talking too big to fit comfortably into the chairs of talk show hosts.

  • DarienStyles

    Why the obsession with people’s weight. This kind of shallowness isn’t becoming in anyone. I could care less if a person is gay, fat or religious, it’s what he is as a person who counts. I mean, if fat people weren’t allowed to act on film and television, then Jackie Gleason, Charles Laughton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kathy Bates and Marie Dressler would have never been seen. Talent should not be based solely on superficial values.

  • polarbear2

    The Brian Dennehy thing worked out pretty good for Brian Dennehy.
    I mean, there will always be plenty of younger, slender pretty boys out there. J. Phoenix is only getting older. Staking out a claim now on the ‘burly middle-aged guy’ roles might not be a bad idea.

  • romeoisbleeding

    Page 6 had this article up today but of course consider the source.

    Joaquin Phoenix announced last week he’s retiring from acting to pursue a career in music. Sometime between that announcement and Saturday’s premiere of Che, where Joaquin arrived with the letters “Bye!” and “Good” written on his knuckles (above), the actor showed up to a reading blitzed as hell, according to Page Six :
    The two-time Oscar nominee (“Walk the Line” and “Gladiator”) showed up to a tribute to Paul Newman last week in San Francisco and “was out of it,” said one attendee. Other actors were performing scenes and readings, but Phoenix just got up and walked out. “He wobbled back in a bit later, but it was odd,” said our source. “He was slurring his words and was unsteady on his feet.”
    Joaquin’s rep says “He’s fine. He just wants to focus on music.” Which is Hollywood talk for “He’s buck naked riding my kids’ Power Wheels down to the 7-11 for smokes because apparently he’s Robert Downey Jr. now

  • scooterzz

    frankbooth — thanks for the info on yma sumac…. i used to see her at the cinegrill about a million years ago……

  • cinefan

    I just saw Reservation Road and Phoenix is excellent in it. Some of the final scenes between Ruffalo and Phoenix are worth seeing just to admire two terrific male actors at the top of their game.

  • madskrilla

    He was really excellent in WE OWN THE NIGHT; I hope he sorts out his obvious issues, he seems like a nice guy and his family has already paid a very high price

  • Cadavra

    Greta Garbo and Cary Grant also retired and meant it.

  • rr3333

    Not sure what the Dennehy comparisons are about. Dennehy’s about 70 years old. Cant compare him to a guy half his age?!?!?!?

    Phoenix is a talent, but drugs or no drugs, is a strange bird.

    He’ll be back in a flash. As Eric Roberts said in ‘Pope of Greenwich Village’, its ‘Guaranfuckinteed’.

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