Joaquin Phoenix and Casey Affleck kissed their loved ones goodbye. It was a tearful event, but everyone agreed that it must be done. A cool breeze kicked up, providing a refreshing relief against the heat of the sun on a cloudless day. The weather was surprisingly perfect, in stark contrast to the emotions that many of Joaquin Phoenix’s and Casey Affleck’s families were feeling. A few days earlier, Casey Affleck’s wife, Summer Phoenix, had thrown a potted plant at his head, such was her distress, although even she agreed that he was doing the honorable thing. “Maybe if you hadn’t made that terrible movie, and said all those stupid lies, and then double-backed on top of those lies with more lies, maybe then you wouldn’t have to shut up and go away,” his wife had said, her voice turning small and almost childlike. Casey Affleck’s mouth twisted. “Babe, you know that if it hadn’t been this, it just would have been something else. I was always going to have to shut up and go away. You knew that when you met me, when your brother, who definitely also needs to shut up and go away, introduced us.” Casey Affleck’s wife sniffled, but eventually nodded. She knew. Everyone knew. And now here they were, standing on a pier, the sound of gulls piercing the air, a lone fishing boat bobbing on the horizon, its nets of silver-skinned fish gleaming in the light. Joaquin shoved his hands into his pockets, and every time someone said something to him, or made an attempt to give him a consoling touch, he flinched, and then shrugged. Finally, it was time. Joaquin Phoenix and Casey Affleck stood side by side, not looking at each other. Their loved ones had unknowingly organized themselves in a half moon, staring at the two men, eyes damp, but not that damp, you know? A little damp. In these situations, everyone kind of knows what a human being is supposed to do or feel, even if one doesn’t actually feel that way at that moment. But people were doing their best. God forbid they not exhibit the appropriate level of human emotion and be deemed by some on-looker to be as much of a stupid self-absorbed jerk as the two stupid self-absorbed jerks who were now saying goodbye. And so: eyes were damp.

And then, with little fanfare, and without a word, for neither of them would ever speak again, and without even a glance backward, Joaquin Phoenix and Casey Affleck clambered down a short wooden ramp onto a tiny boat. They untied the moorings. A child moved forward at the urging of his father and pulled the wooden ramp away. In his nervousness with so many eyes upon him, accidentally let it slip from his fingers as the boat pulled away. It dropped into the water with a small splash and floated on the greasy surface, clunking in the boat’s wake against the wooden pylon of the pier. But no one seemed to care. They watched the boat grow smaller until it was a dot on the horizon. They watched it until it was gone. And Casey Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix with it. Gone for good. Everyone smiled small crooked smiles at each other, climbed into their cars, and went home. Everyone felt pretty good.

Comments (46)
  1. In my mind, I read “Casey Affleck” as “Rush Limbaugh” and “Joaquin Phoenix” as “Glenn Beck”. Is that cool?

  2. “Got room for one more?”

  3. Are they going to the same island as ICP?

  4. This is just like that show, The Event.

  5. I don’t know Gabe this whole scenario feels a little staged.

  6. I don’t really buy Gabe’s outrage at these two. Maybe it’s because both are actually quite talented and he generally has respected their past work. Maybe it’s because who really cares about their stunt movie, it’s not like they hurt anybody, so who cares? Gabe certainly doesn’t. Just flailing about, looking for something to be mad about. That’s all. Flail flail.

    • Really, you don’t feel like they should just shut up and go away?

    • I’m with you. It seems like such a petty thing to get so worked up over. Maybe I’m not remembering this correctly, but seems Gabe was initially annoyed by the fact that it was obviously a put-on. Now he’s annoyed by the fact that they dropped the charade?

      If they want to make a tiny film (a film that costs peanuts to make – it would be one thing if they put $40 mil into this) that pokes fun at the celebrity-industrial-complex and how it fuels the vapid narcissism of the celebrities themselves, that’s totally fine with me. I’d much rather see this than Affleck directing Phoenix in some fucking Woody Guthrie biopic in a blatant attempt to garner awards and climb further up the Hollywood ladder.

      They tried to do something different and interesting, and maybe say something in the process. The film may not have been worth all the trouble*, but I really don’t see what the big deal is.

      All this said, I still cracked up at this YCMIU.

      *Gabe wrote earlier:
      “The fact that these two buttheads folded within the first five seconds of the movie being out is the real joke here.”
      I really don’t understand this. At all. They stuck with this thing for two years. Was Phoenix supposed keep pretending to be a drug-mangled nightmare of a human being for the rest of his life?

      • Look I like enjoy pointing out Gabe’s hypocrisy as much as the next guy, perhaps more even (see my previous notes about his enthusiasm for LOST while failing to appreciate Benjamin Button the movie despite compelling similarities), but you guys are being ridiculous and I find your comments lame. Jokin’ Phoenix and Casey Affleck are trying too hard to be all “meta” and shit, they delivered a lame, boring pretentious product and Gabe wants to throw these tards under the tard bus for it. I say, good.

        • Steve Winwood, asskisser.

        • I haven’t seen it yet, so I’ll save my judgments on “lame” and “boring”, but can I just say that the word “pretentious” gets thrown around too recklessly? Sometimes, a little pretentiousness, even condescension is called for.

          I mean (and here come the pretzels – Simpsons? Are we still doing that?), anyone who goes to see this under the impression that they’re witnessing the terrifying self-destruction of a human being (as entertainment! Good entertainment!) and the terror he unleashes on his loved ones deserves to be talked down to. If they kept up the charade and the entire film was nothing but a title card that read “I’m Still Here” followed by “You’re a terrible human being. Fuck you. Now thanks for the $12.50, asshole”, I would hail these men as heroes. Surely you, Steve, could appreciate that kind of classic PSYCHE move.

          But they made a film. Maybe it’s boring, maybe it’s on the nose. But we’re having a conversation about it. A debate, even, sight unseen. I welcome with open arms whatever movie, book, or TV show that has the power to do that, regardless of the finished product – be it lame, boring, or pretentious. That’s why I love Funny Games. It’s flawed and preachy, not to mention openly hostile towards its audience, but it’s confrontational and it has something to say. Films like this stimulate genuine dialogue, even it’s among only a relatively small group of film geeks. In today’s neutered entertainment landscape, where movies about people falling down while farting and shooting each other make the most money, that’s rare. And, in my opinion, welcome.

          • You don’t have to write a book to get people talking about you, you can just threaten to burn one.

            What I mean is, not everything we (society) talk about, deserves the attention.

          • Remember when Videogum had all those thumbs a while back? This entire thread would be classified as “HOT DEBATE.”

        • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

      • I would say its more the fact they were called out on their bullshit repeatedly from the start and they denied, denied, denied; and EVERYONE knew that in the end they were going to turn around and “lol we fooled everyone! We’re the smartest men in the world!”

        And Casey Affleck really seems like a tool.

    • I’m getting the feeling that Gabe’s been getting very sarcastic and negative lately. I might be a little worried, if it turned out that it was somehow any of my business.

  7. Silly Bing…

  8. On a completely different topic:
    The entire first episode of The Increasingly Poor Decisions Of Todd Margaret is up on Hulu.

  9. *tear*

    This is the most touching and hopeful portrayal of the future I’ve read all year.

  10. I have to admit, I’ve always skipped this feature because I always think, “Fan fiction is fake and gay.” But now that I’ve read this, it’s time for me to realize that it is I who have been fake and gay this whole time. And for that, I apologize.

  11. Aww. I am a sucker for a happy ending.

  12. Hang on, do we—yes, I think we have some footage of Casey Affleck going away.

  13. While looking up info on Casey Affleck I just learned he settled with a couple women who were suing him for sexual harassment. How did we not know about this earlier?

  14. Cheyenne Jackson is great.

  15. Yeah, this whole situation with Affleck and Phoenix is pretty embarrassing.

    You know who else needs to go away? This fat toothless hoosier:

  16. Eventually Joaquin’s and Casey’s boat reached a remote desert island ruled by a crazed Jeremy London.


    And they all said they lived happily ever after.

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