Joaquin Phoenix is the subject at hand in 'I'm Still Here,' a new documentary premiering in selected cities this weekend.

Sure, the debate rages on if this is truly the on screen disintegration of a former Oscar nominee caught on camera or if it's all an elaborate hoax, but that's not what this post is about. This post is about the film itself since, it seems, not many people know what it's actually about. Is it just under two hours of a guy babbling on camera? Is this all new material? Is it an assortment of clips we've already seen? Believe it or not, as we try to illustrate below, there is a narrative hidden in the madness.

Joaquin Phoenix is the subject at hand in 'I'm Still Here,' a new documentary premiering in selected cities this weekend.

Sure, the debate rages on if this is truly the on screen disintegration of a former Oscar nominee caught on camera or if it's all an elaborate hoax, but that's not what this post is about. This post is about the film itself since, it seems, not many people know what it's actually about. Is it just under two hours of a guy babbling on camera? Is this all new material? Is it an assortment of clips we've already seen? Believe it or not, as we try to illustrate below, there is a narrative hidden in the madness.

-- The film opens in Panama, circa 1981, with a very innocent looking six-year-old Phoenix struggling as he decides if he wants to jump into a lake from a low cliff. We then see a family singalong, led by brother River on the guitar, from a couple of years later. In other words: Joaquin was once a very normal young boy. He's not normal today, you see.

-- We then get more proof Joaquin was normal: a montage of interviews that Joaquin participated in during his promotion of 'Walk the Line,' followed by footage of his Golden Globe win for Best Actor (Musical/Comedy).

-- Ah, there he is, the bearded Phoenix we've gotten to know over the past two years. A hooded Phoenix delivers a slurred explanation to a camera in his backyard about why he doesn't want to be an actor any longer. He enjoyed the time in between when a director would say "action" and "cut," but hated the rest.

-- Phoenix participates in a performance of 'The World of Nick Adams' along with a slew of other celebrities. This is where Phoenix announces to other actors and to the press that he's retiring from acting.

I'm Still Here-- Phoenix takes a lot of drugs.

-- Joaquin Phoenix decides that he wants to become a hip-hop artist. He shows up at a nightclub to do just that, but can't even make it through one song next to the DJ table because he's off rhythm. Later he tells the crowd that he feels there's a lot of judgment in the room.

-- Deciding that he needs the help of Sean Combs, Phoenix flies to New York where he, director Casey Affleck and Phoenix's assistant, Antony, wait for Combs to call.

-- Phoenix hires a prostitute and takes a lot of drugs.

-- The crew is told that Combs will be in Miami, so they can meet him there. They fly to Miami where Phoenix performs on a stage for the first time. Hilarity ensues.

-- Phoenix takes a lot of drugs.

-- Phoenix meets with Combs who doesn't seem to be particularly happy about the film crew.

-- Joaquin Phoenix returns to L.A. and doesn't hear from Combs as promised.

-- He and his film crew travel to D.C. to find Combs at Obama's inauguration. Phoenix sleeps through the whole thing.

I'm Still Here-- Phoenix refuses to do press for his latest film, 'Two Lovers,' because he's just been told that Sean Combs wants to meet him at the recording studio.

-- After the meeting, Phoenix changes his mind and does press for 'Two Lovers' -- including his infamous appearance on 'The Late Show with David Letterman.'

-- Phoenix takes a lot of drugs.

-- After the appearance, Phoenix realizes that he's now always going to be considered "a joke" and plans a trip back to Panama -- a locale where the film ends.

-- If you have any questions for Mike Ryan, you can reach him on Twitter.