James Franco's New Short Story Polarizes the Armchair Critics of the Internet
Photo by Daily Billboard Blog
Oh, Franco. I feel ya. I got the Francophilia. A fever for the flavor—of Franco.
But not everyone is feeling the feels, as evidenced by the grumblestorm surrounding young James' latest piece of work. He dropped that dime-piece on Vice not 24 hours ago, a thinly veiled work of "fiction" detailing the allegedly spurned advances of Lilo Lohan. A Roman-Coppola-a-clef, if you will. It's all very sordid and meta and "inside baseball", yet we gobble it up, like Franco purportedly gobbles cocks, an insinuation he neither confirms nor denies, to further enhance his mystique.
From 'Bungalow 89':
There was a Hollywood girl staying at Chateau Marmont. She had gotten a key to my room from the manager. I heard her put the key into my front door and turn it, but I had slid the dead bolt and that thing—I don’t know what you call it; it’s like a chain but made of two bars—that kept the door from opening.
She said, “James, open the door.”
Across the room was a picture of a boy dressed as a sailor with a red sailor cap, and except for his blondish hair (closer to my brother’s color) he looked like me.
She said, “Open the door, you bookworm punk blogger faggot.”
Me, I used to be a hater, but I've come around on Franco as an interesting character, an interesting character who occasionally produces interesting work (clunkers like bookworm punk blogger faggot aside). He can be pretentious, but he's having fun and taking chances, and most people probably dismiss his work ad hominem based on who he is, not the work itself.
Michelle Dean at Gawker argued:
James Franco's crime is not merely that he is a bad writer, but he is a bad writer who has had the benefit of tutelage at many of this country's serious literary and intellectual institutions. When he writes badly he is writing informedly badly. He uses recognizable techniques and then warps them into idiocy in the application.
I'm not really inclined to take seriously the literary opinion of someone who writes a sentence like: When he writes badly he is writing informedly badly, so I'll just say this: You don't out Franco Franco by proving yourself a more competent wordsmith than he. That would be falling into his trap. His snuggly, strong-armed trap. But I digress! Franco is an anomaly, one which should incite you to your own creative heights of vainglorious navel gazing. Don't fight, ignite! It's what Uncle James would want.
What do you think of Franco's latest? His work in general? Sound off in the comments, but remember—keep it classy, like James in a Gucci tux.
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