I have a terrible love-hate relationship with James Franco, as exhibited in posts here and here. Because she’s such a good friend, Norma bought me an Oz cup that features James’s ridiculous face prominently in not one, but TWO places. That way, I can watch his face double rotate in the microwave when I heat up my hot chocolate.
Norma also signed me up for an advanced reader copy of James Franco’s new novel Actors Anonymous, out today. And guess what, guys! I won! If your definition of winning means that you have to read a book by James Franco, all 304 pages of it, and then write a good 500 words to summarize me contrasting feelings of pain and admiration.
Lord knows I’ve seen the man fail time and time again. And fail he has in many, many ways. Depending on which movie you’ve seen, he’s either a terribly lazy, one-note actor, or he’s a brilliant leading man able to demonstrate depth and charisma. Lord knows we love to hate terrible party hosts, and Franco pretty much topped the list of worst hosts ever. His forays into poetry, writing, journalism, fashion, underground art, underground music (basically anything the man can get his grips on) have been a bit on the underwhelming side, but far better than most of his Hollywood peers who tried to similarly branch into other art forms. And then there are his multiple MFA’s, BFA’s, and continuing life as a student, part-time professor, which has gained plenty of media attention. Is he pretentious? A bully? Does his celebrity status give him privilege to present mediocrity as art?
Or does his celebrity status mean that his art is often presented as mediocrity?
I think that’s the central puzzle to Franco’s prolific career. Have we been taking him for granted this whole time? Has he been fooling us with his stoner movies and self-entitled attitude? Then why can’t we just tune him out?
I thought I could. And then this happened: Apparently, As I Lay Dying, written by, directed by, and starring (dontyaknowit) James Franco premiered at Cannes. And it got a good review. DAMMIT.
Here I was thinking that I’d be the one to write the best screenplay EVER to adapt a Faulkner novel (my choice is Sound and the Fury). Freaking Franco beat me to it.
So now I’m gonna have to pay attention to this man for at least another few months until the film’s premiere. And then I’ll probably have to praise him for the movie’s successes. Good grief.
Well, at least I can always fondly remember that one time Stephen Colbert OWNED him in Lord of the Rings trivia…