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You Can Make It Up: Joaquin Phoenix And Casey Affleck Shut Up And Go Away

Gabe Delahaye | September 23, 2010 - 6:00 pm

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.