Saturday, December 19, 2009

Unlike last week, there is no nudity in this one. Sorry, Sweetie. (Sweetie's Hunk Of The Week, 43)

I'm just going to be honest with you. I don't care for

James Franco,

Sweetie's 41st Hunk of the Week.

It's nothing personal with him. It's just that he's so... boring.

I'm not sure why it is, but for some reason, just seeing James Franco show up in a movie makes me not want to see that movie. Not in a bad way. Not like how having Helen Hunt in a movie will make me not want to see that movie (and will make me want to punch something; Helen Hunt evokes a visceral reaction in me.)

And it's not like I dislike him personally, the way I dislike Ethan Hawke personally. I don't even know Ethan Hawke, and I don't want to know him. I can't stand Ethan Hawke, and his presence in movies also makes me not want to see those movies. More than that, the existence of Ethan Hawke makes me angry. The fact that he not only exists but does things sets off an almost-inestimable rage in me.

James Franco's not like that. He doesn't make me hate him or make me mad. He just bores me and I don't like him because of that.

But Sweetie has picked him for the 41st Hunk of the Week, so, um... here goes.

You Don't Know Him Without You Have: No matter who you are or where you are, and no matter how bored you are by James Franco's existence, which throws boringness out the way neutron stars emit... something... the odds are that you know James Franco, because he's been steadily crammed down our throat by Hollywood for the last 10 years or so in a variety of different movies, as the Sylvester McMonkey McBean's Hollywood Star-Making Machine tries desperately to make James Franco the movie star he so seemingly deserves to be.

He does, apparently, deserve to be a movie star, if anyone can deserve to be a movie star. He's got those casual good looks, he's a decent actor, he's apparently a pretty nice guy, too, and girls like him.

That seeming-movie-starness is probably why Hollywood keeps trying to make him an actual movie star, and that's why he's been in big-budget superhero movies (Spider-Man 3), romances (Nights In Rodanthe), action-comedy buddy films (Pineapple Express), Oscar Bait (Milk, In The Valley of Elah), and Judd Apatow films (Knocked Up), and why he'll be in four different movies coming out in 2010. Which means that James Franco will, by the end of next year, have had big roles in 10 different movies, as well as being on a soap opera. James Franco is in a major movie about every 2 months.

And still, I don't care. No matter what they put him in, his being in a movie bores it down a little for me. Even in movies where he's really good, like Pineapple Express, which I liked, James Franco seems a little boring and, more or less, uncare-about-able.

Thing That Makes You Go Hmmmm About Him:
I think the most unusual thing about James Franco is that there's nothing unusual about him at all. I have a theory that I've been kicking around for a while now, and it combines and explains two things I believe:

(A) Supermodels aren't that pretty, and
(B) James Franco is boring.

Those don't seem to be related, but they are. In the Unified Theory of Everything, Supermodel not-that-prettiness and James-Franco-boringosity are related, and both explained by the same theory: They're just empty surfaces, something to look at with nothing behind them, and that makes them blah.

Supermodels are not that pretty because they have no personality. They're like looking at a painting; maybe it's attractive enough, but it's two dimensional and not that interesting, in the long run. That's why I've never understood why people go so nuts over supermodels; they have no story, no persona. I've never thought any supermodels were pretty, period, because of that lack.

Some actresses, and some real people, have that personality, and it gives life to their looks. When you look at an actress who's pretty - a Jennifer Aniston, say -- she's got something behind the screen. It may be something that I create, something that I think about her that may not be true at all (for example, I think of Jennifer Aniston as mostly acting like Rachel on Friends), but it's something. It animates that person and makes her prettiness come alive. In order for someone to be pretty, for me to like someone, they've got to have a personality and I've got to like it. Otherwise, it's like looking at a pretty vase: empty and boring.

Supermodels don't have a personality, and because I know nothing about them (and I have nothing on which to assume a personality for them, the way I can assume an actor or actress has a certain kind of personality because of a character they've played), they're not pretty.

James Franco, is just like that. He, too, has no personality that I can pick up on, at all. He's just... there. He's good-looking and competent and yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever; it's all surface. There's nothing behind it, so far as I know. He seems so interchangeable. He doesn't stand out in any way. Unlike most other actors and actresses, you don't get the idea that there's a personality -- any personality-- behind the face. Even when he plays a character, he doesn't seem to be like that character at all. Some people seem to be like their characters: Bruce Willis seems to be like That Die Hard Cop. Jason Batemen seems to be like Michael on Arrested Development. That kid who played the star of A Christmas Story seemed to be like the kid he played in that movie.

But James Franco doesn't even seem to be like the characters he's played. I can't say he seems like his drug-dealer guy in Pineapple Express or like Milk or like Harry Osborn in Spider-Man. He doesn't seem like anyone. Even when he plays a part, there's no personality to it and it makes him boring.

That might not seem fair, but it's true, and I think that James Franco knows it, too. That's why he's trying to get a personality, trying to create one the way I once taught myself to be a fidgeter, by just going out and doing it. He's trying to weird it up and make that his personality, in ways like how he's taking a role on a soap opera, and then claiming it's all in the interest of "performance art." He's trying to inject some personality into his life.

See what I mean?

But he seems to be trying too hard.
Also: The Bear seems more exciting
than James Franco.

It's not working, though. At least not for me. Just reading that little piece on how he's trying to pretend that being on a soap opera is some sort of meta-James-Franco-Experience bored me, too.

James Franco, I think, is the billboard that you drive by everyday on the way to work. You saw it once, years ago, and now, you can't think, really, what's on that billboard, can you? Are you even sure that it's got anything on it? Maybe it's blank? Maybe they tore it down and put a Mexican restaurant there... but until I brought it up, you hadn't even thought of the billboard at all, and then, the moment you did you became uncertain about it, period. That billboard has faded into the background existence of your life. It's there, trying to get you to notice it by advertising jewelry or the circus, but you drive by it every day, your eyes seeing it and moving on, so that now, it might as well not be there at all.

That's James Franco, and joining a soap opera isn't going to help him, anymore than changing that billboard will help it. You're going to go right on not noticing it at all, and we'll all go on not noticing James Franco, either, no matter how many movies he makes and how quirky he tries to be.

(Note: It's not just me, either. This person said "It's strange that people don't seem that interested in the fact that James Franco is in the middle of a two-month guest star arc on the soap "General Hospital." And if you Google news about James Franco, today, of the first six stories that come up, three aren't even about him:

That's right: Even the news about James Franco is bored with James Franco.

Reason I Tell Myself Sweetie Likes Him: Who cares? I'm bored by him, and in the time that I've been writing this, James Franco has made another 4 movies that nobody will care about in the long run. I'll just say "Because he's there."

Actual Reason Sweetie Likes Him: Something about him being "good-looking" and "tousled." Or good-looking in a tousled kind of way. Or tousled-looking in a good way. I don't know; I kind of blanked out on Sweetie's conversation about James Franco. Seriously. Yesterday, driving around and running a few errands, I asked Sweetie "Who's going to be your hunk of the week this week?" And she said "James Franco."

I said "Really? Why?"

And she then said something about tousled, but by then I'd moved on, mentally, and was probably thinking about having some leftover sloppy joe when we got home.

That's James Franco for you.

Point I'd Like To Make About Sweetie's Actual Reason For Liking Him: The point I'd like to make is about Sweetie picking him, period. I'm writing this at 2:40 p.m. on Saturday, nearly 24 hours after she told me "James Franco" was the Hunk of the Week. In that whole 24 hours, I was completely unable to come up with anything interesting about James Franco. The guy is like a black hole of interest.

I tried, too. I thought about doing a poem based on James Franco, trying to rhyme everything with tousled. I got this far:

When you're a good-looking actor who's tousled,
It almost seems certain my spouse'll

And then I got bored with that. I tried looking up "James Franco" on Youtube, and it's just a bunch of boring interviews of James Franco.

I wanted to do something seasonal, so I tried Googling "James Franco Christmas" and even that didn't work. I got nothing. And so here I sit, at the end of the 41st Hunk of The Week, and all I can say is... I don't care for James Franco.

Oh, and also, I lied about the nudity. But I had to -- if I mention it up front, Sweetie just skips to the end.

Even his butt is boring!

(Sweetie, I know you just thought: Oh no, it's not! Shame on you.)

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