Hey, remember when Joaquin Phoenix randomly announced that he was quitting acting in order to become a rapper and he showed up to David Letterman looking like a drugged-out hobo and it turned out his whole bizarro appearance was all part of a Borat-style stunt for his mockumentary I'm Still Here and it was like OMG DUDE QUIT EATING CRAZY FOR BREAKFAST?

That whole mess really wasn't looking good for Phoenix's once red-hot career, which sucked because I've been a big fan ever since I saw him in To Die For. And how great was he in Walk the Line?

Thankfully, Joaquin Phoenix is finally back, and he's ditched the scraggly beard and stupid late-show tricks. In fact, he looks like he might be bringing the acting performance of his career to date in The Master.

A teaser for the upcoming Paul Thomas Anderson film The Master hit the web today, and it's a doozy. I mean, for one thing, there's an amazing director (Boogie Nights, Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love, There Will Be Blood) at the helm, and from what we're shown of Phoenix, he looks like he's at the absolute top of his acting game.

While The Master has been described as a thinly-veiled attack on Scientology (it centers on the leader/creator of a faith-based organization, with Philip Seymour Hoffman playing the leader), you can't really tell that from the teaser. It's focused entirely on Joaquin Phoenix, who plays a psychologically-scarred WW II vet who Hoffman eventually taps to be his right-hand man.

Phoenix's character is a "onetime vagabond (who) finds himself questioning the belief system he has embraced, and his mentor," but what we see in the clip is a vague fever-dream sort of look at Phoenix talking to a military psychologist.

"Are you mixed up?" asks the shrink. Uh, I think the answer is YES. Take a look:

Yeah, I'm definitely interested in this film. Phoenix looks astoundingly in character here, in a performance that seems to have a great shot at being compared to Daniel Day-Lewis's transformation in There Will Be Blood.

It's a great teaser and classic Anderson, with him giving us just enough to grab our attention but never tipping his hand. It'll be interesting to see how they address the PTSD issue with Phoenix's character, since that's such a relevant topic these days with our military. We see that Phoenix is dealing with blackouts and strange behavior—or IS he? It's hard to know what's real and what isn't in this clip.

Either way, I'm thrilled to see Phoenix back and doing something other than pretending to be mentally unstable. Errr … well, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

What do you think of the trailer for The Master? Are you a Joaquin Phoenix fan?

Image via YouTube