James Franco. He is all over the place! Today I walked into my kitchen, opened up my refrigerator and there he was, crouching inside with a smirk on his face. What is up with this guy? He is on the cover of all the magazines. He has played James Dean, Allen Ginsberg, and will soon play the mighty Oz. He is even on General Hospital. And he is so smug about it! Yeah, we know you are James Franco, now get over it! He is so hip, so cool, soooo avant garde! Whatever…… But I do have to admit he is pretty amazing. He isn’t just an actor, he paints, sculpts, produces art films. He isn’t just a pretty face. I’m pretty sure he is going to succeed in fucking up the whole Us magazine entertainment industry machine. They are used to promoting the usual shallow crap. James Franco has the savvy to parody himself. I think he treats his fame as an art project. But I actually don’t know what I am talking about. Nowadays there is so much irony in the media that it is hard to know who is putting on who. What got me going on James Franco was this interview in Believer magazine. Franco and his artist friend Carter, were talking about some of the projects they worked on. I was automatically attracted to the kind of dada quality they brought to their films. In ‘Erasing James Franco’, a film you will probably never see, James Franco just sits in a chair and recalls in his mind, the roles he has played. He can’t move, or speak, so what the viewer sees is very, very subtle. And also incredibly boring. But then that is the point. They did another film consisting of all the seemingly meaningless parts of Franco’s films. All you would see would be Franco walking, answering a phone, eating, drinking, all those things you would normally never notice in a film. Again, insanely boring. But this kind of experiment, if the viewer can stand it, opens up a different way of seeing film. You develop an appreciation for the unnoticed. It reminded me a little bit of John and Yoko’s shenanigans. It really puts some people off. These are the same people that wouldn’t be amused by James Franco chilling out in their refrigerator. I still don’t know how he got into my apartment without my knowing.
I recommend you read this interview, if you can get ahold of the Nov-Dec 2011 issue of Believer. You see, I just got laid off recently from a magazine shop and so I had a stripped copy of that issue, which I was reading today, while waiting in vain for a callback about a job. But enough about all that, lest I become as boring as one of Franco and Carter’s art projects. The interview takes place in a haunted hotel room, room 407 of the Bowery Hotel in NYC. The interviewer brings along a ouija board and they ask the board some questions. It makes total sense that James Franco would be staying in a haunted hotel room, because James Franco himself is haunted. He is haunted by James Dean, whom everybody compares him to. Besides the physical resemblance (actually more of a cross between Dean and Johnny Depp), but he also has that offhand manner, like he isn’t taking things entirely seriously. He is also haunted by Sal Mineo, he shares some of that vulnerablity, and bisexuality. As far as I know, Franco is straight, but that vibe is still there. He resonates with all of the anti-heroes, misfits, and oddballs of the past. Until I read this piece, I hadn’t realized that Franco was more than just another heart throb Hollywood actor. He has gained even more of my respect. I noticed him when he was on Freaks and Geeks, the critically acclaimed but rarely watched, tv show. I thought at the time that he would be ‘going places’, as they say.