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Further Phoenix
at Rio's Attic:

The Children of God

TV Commercials


Running on Empty

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

I Love You To Death

My Own Private Idaho


James Dean

Gus Van Sant

Keanu Reeves

Indiana Jones

Rob Reiner

Joe Dante

Kenneth Branagh

Sidney Lumet

Academy Awards

Vegan, Vegetarian, Vegetarianism

Environment, Environmental Concerns, Green, Green Issues


William Shakespeare


Much Ado About Nothing

Cassell Companion To Cinema
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français

Cassell Companion To Cinema

This edition first published in 1998.

ISBN 0-304-34992-5 (Paperback, 623 Pages)

A book containing over 3000 articles but that still puts aside over half a page to discuss River and his own unique contribution to cinema looked very promising. Almost immediately though it became apparent that the research for the book must have been somewhat rushed as indicated by the author's attention to dates and what he perceives to be the average age of River's audience.

Phoenix, River (1971-93)
US actor, whose premature death from a drug overdose established him as a cult figure with teenagers. His winsome good looks, air of vulnerability, and early demise have invited comparisons with James DEAN.

The book then goes on to talk about River's birth, his early childhood and the Children of God sect before looking at his career, beginning with River's rejection of working in commercials.

Major stardom came to Phoenix with Running on Empty (1988), a story about a family of ex-Vietnam protesters on the run from the FBI. The film earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. A cameo as the young Indy in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) was followed by I Love You to Death (1990) and Dog Fight (1991). Phoenix then gave his most impressive performance in My Own Private Idaho, a film that co-starred Keanu REEVES. Sneakers (1992) was a return to teen territory.

A Vegan and a committed environmentalist, Phoenix became known for issuing sincere but often incoherent lectures on a range of spiritual and ecological subjects (a habit that gave rise to the common magazine headline "River's Deep").

Disappointedly, even in a book of over 600 pages, there are no entries to be found for Joe Dante, Gus Van Sant or any of River's siblings but nevertheless River is mentioned in several other records including those of Rob Reiner, Sidney Lumet and this one about Keanu Reeves.

Since then Reeves has made various only partly successful attempts to extend his range. In the ROAD MOVIE My Own Private Idaho (1991) he played a middle-class drop-out slumming amongst male prostitutes (including the late River PHOENIX). The film ambitiously attempts to rework elements from Shakespeare's Henry IV. Part 1. Reeves continued in Shakespearean vein by playing Don John in BRANAGH's Much Ado About Nothing (1993) and the title role in a Canadian stage production of Hamlet (1995).

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