(US - 2017)
Directed by James Franco. Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. Cast: Dave Franco, James Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Alison Brie, Josh Hutcherson, Jacki Weaver, Zac Efron, Megan Mullally, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Paul Scheer, Jason Mantzoukas, Hannibal Buress, June Diane Raphael, Andrew Santino, Nathan Fielder, Charlyne Yi, Bob Odenkirk, Jerrod Carmichael, Zoey Deutch, Randall Park, Casey Wilson. (R, 104 mins)
Since making his mark nearly 20 years ago on the ignored-and-now-iconic cult TV series FREAKS AND GEEKS, James Franco has had one of the strangest careers of any mainstream Hollywood actor. He's one of the industry's most tireless workaholics, with some extremely unpredictable choices that often border on some kind of obscure performance art. He appears in box-office blockbusters (Sam Raimi's SPIDER-MAN trilogy, RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES), hit comedies (PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, THIS IS THE END), played the bad guy in a Jason Statham movie (HOMEFRONT), stars in acclaimed indies (SPRING BREAKERS), barely-released European art films (Wim Wenders' EVERY THING WILL BE FINE, Werner Herzog's QUEEN OF THE DESERT), Lifetime movies (the remake of MOTHER, MAY I SLEEP WITH DANGER?), has an Oscar nomination for Best Actor (127 HOURS), did a three-year recurring stint on GENERAL HOSPITAL, frequently turns up in uncredited cameos (THE HOLIDAY, the remake of THE WICKER MAN, NIGHTS IN RODANTHE, THE GREEN HORNET, ALIEN: COVENANT), has published several collections of poetry and short stories, created a multimedia presentation based on the late '70s/early '80s sitcom THREE'S COMPANY, starred in the TV series 11.22.63 and THE DEUCE, earned a degree in Creative Writing in the mid '00s while maintaining his film and TV work schedule, and more recently, taught film courses at UCLA. For the last several years, he's been in an average of ten movies a year, and has somehow found the time to direct over 20 feature films, most getting very limited exposure and some still unreleased, ranging from the experimental CRUISING riff INTERIOR LEATHER BAR to biopics (he directed and starred as poet Hart Crane in THE BROKEN TOWER) to gothic horror (THE INSTITUTE), and most notably, an ongoing series of classic American literature adaptations (William Faulkner's THE SOUND AND THE FURY and AS I LAY DYING, Cormac McCarthy's CHILD OF GOD, and John Steinbeck's IN DUBIOUS BATTLE). Franco's oeuvre as a director has been commonly described as self-indulgent at best and unwatchable at worst, but he remains undeterred: he's got five directing efforts scheduled for release in 2018.
"Oh, hi Mark," to "You're tearing me apart, Lisa!"
|Tommy Wiseau, James Franco, Greg Sestero, and Dave Franco|
at an early 2017 screening of THE DISASTER ARTIST