Monday, September 23, 2013

Dear James Franco

Dear James Franco,

I am writing to you because I believe you need an intervention. For a long time I have been concerned about you, but it's the vague kind of concern. The concern you get when you accidentally walk too close to the platform edge.

Let me state quite clearly your problem so there can be no confusion. If your career were a person, it would be Benjamin Button. Since you careened into that national consciousnesswith the oh-so-brilliant Freaks and Geeks, you've been steadily regressing backward in a spiraling trajectory. There were the Spiderman movies, which some people revile you for but I just found you to be largely forgettable. Forgettable isn't always bad, because now you have movies like Spring Breakers, wwhich you are justifying by saying that this movie is Oscar worthy. This is akin to saying that 50 Shades should win the Pulitzer. When that happens, I'm signing up for that colony on Mars and getting out of this world, because that will definitely be the end of Western Civilization.

I could talk about the time you pranced about in a dress. I could talk about the time you hosted the Oscars with your very best impression of a stoner, leaving poor Anne Hathaway to do all the work. I could even talk about the time you were in that movie about Oz, a film which had no business being as terrible as it was, given the sheer amount of material L. Frank Baum bequeathed to us through his blood, sweat, and tears. Not a word. I'll pretend that was the fault of the screenwriters.

But now you've published a book of your own creation. A novel about actors, because, after all, you are an actor. You tell us this in your book, with quotes like "I am an actor, so I can play everything. Everyone is in me, and I am a part of everyone." I personally believe that you have the innate luck to land films like 127 Hours, where all the bit players are left on the cutting room floor so you have more time to hack at your arm and monopolize the screen.

I know why you wrote this book. You are graciously allowing us, (your plebian fan base), an insight into your brilliance. How do I know you're brilliant? You wrote this:  “I am Jack Nicholson and Marlon Brando and Jimmy Stewart and Jean-Paul Belmondo and Steve McQueen. I am Meryl Streep and Natalie Wood and Cate Blanchett and Marilyn Monroe. “

I know all about how you enrolled in any Ivy League school, how you wanted to teach a class on yourself, how you and Marina Abramovich are BFFs. That's great and I am happy for you, though I can't help but remain unconvinced of your seriousness as a person. But what made me really concerned was this:  "'Oh,' I said, and looked at her white cheek. It made me aware of how we have skin over bones and there are different shapes underneath that are arbitrary."

This is not a good pick up line, James Franco. This is not the kind of line you want to use in order to make people have warm fuzzy feelings about you. Would Robert Downey, Jr. use this line? No, he would not.

I know you have problems. I know that people have endlessly compared you to James Dean so much that you probably have a complex from this. I would totally have a complex if people compared me to a girl who died at an obscenely young age after making a handful of subpar movies. Yes, subpar. I tried to watch Giant and all I really remember is how weirdly blue Elizabeth Taylor's hair is, and then I got distracted by wondering if the actress who played her daughter was annoyed that the woman who played her mother looked younger than she did. Don't worry, James Franco. I feel your pain. Just because you happen to have the same first name as him and the same type of curly hair does not mean you guys are long lost twins and certainly does not mean you are destined for a similar fate. I think you've already outlived him. 

If there is one thing you should win an award for, it is living your life with a straight face. Joaquin Phoenix tried this, and only lasted about a year. You've lasted an entire lifetime. I have to give you credit for this. And now I am sure you're passing this entire book off with a straight face as well. You've discovered the secret of life, which is if you say it seriously enough, people will think you're creating great art, when in reality you are laughing at them all. 

(As seen on The Penny Ledger)

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