Friday, April 15, 2011

My Reluctant Nerd Crush: James Franco

by Sara N.

I just can't get a handle on James Franco. He was the cool, inaccessible (or is he?) crush-worthy brooder on the brilliant cult show Freaks and Geeks. In the Spiderman movies, he was Harry Osborn, the urbane and increasingly unhinged foil to Toby Maguire's puppy dog Peter Parker. (And let's be fair, Spiderman 3 was not his fault.) He was Oscar-nominated for 127 Hours, he's a Golden Globe winner for James Dean, and he's currently goofing his way across the big screen in the swords-and-tunics flick Your Highness. He was hilarious playing himself on 30 Rock, where he was involved in a not-at-all-unsavory relationship with a Japanese body pillow.* Heck, he was even Bar Guy #2 in the Wicker Man remake, that instant classic of atrocious writing, acting and directing. He's excellent in good projects, and he's always game for the questionable ones.

On the other hand, James, baby. You must chill. How can one person be and do and experience so much at the same time? He's a multimedia artist! He's a Ph.D. student at Yale! One semester at UCLA, he took 62 credits, which I'm pretty sure is a physical impossibility unless he has Hermione's time-turner! He writes short stories! He refers to his turn on the soap opera General Hospital as performance art! He hosts the Oscars! He tweets (sometimes while hosting the Oscars)!

Frankly, it's exhausting. I've always viewed this over-achieving as excessive, which caused me to classify him as talented but more than a little weird. Also, I don't like his skeevy mustache.

And then. And then I caught Franco's appearance on The Colbert Report, and all was forgiven. He really is one of us! The whole interview is delightful, but the best part is excerpted here.

All is forgiven, James. Just keep talking about Galadriel. And you, Mr. Stephen T. Colbert. Your Nerd Crush post is coming.

*Thanks to Ray for pointing out my grievous 30 Rock oversight. How could I forget Kimiko?
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  1. No reluctance for me, I just love James Franco! In fact, I think I was the first to fall for him :)

    He's an SF Bay Area homegrown boy. He took the soap gig as a surprise for his mother and even got her a part in it. All because she was such a fan.

    There's a video interview of his grandmother out there that's great just to watch him try to control his laughter at her NSFW language.

    And with his brain and humor... I'm a sucker for a guy like that :)


  2. I know this doesn't really count as he was just playing a part but I loved this scene of Franco as one of the coolest guys in school hanging out with all the geeky kids playing Dungeons and Dragons in "Freaks and Geeks."

  3. I like that he was kind of pleased they invited him, he went, played D&D, and had fun.

  4. Yeah, I don't know why I resisted the call of Franco for as long as I did. He's delightful!

  5. BIG NEWS!

    As reported by the Huffington Post, James Franco is going for yet another PhD. Instead of, or also? That is the question.


    HOUSTON — James Franco has won a spot in a University of Houston creative writing program.

    The university confirms that the actor nominated for the 2010 Academy Award for best actor in "127 Hours" has been accepted for the school's doctoral program in literature and creative writing. Creative writing program director James Kastely tells the Houston Chronicle that Franco plans to enroll in September 2012.

    He also has been studying in a doctoral program in English at Yale University.


    Information from: Houston Chronicle,


  6. I saw that, too! I read it as "also" rather than "instead of."

    Oh, James, you're making the rest of us look like slackers, sitting on our couches rather than classrooms, eating Cheetos rather than glomming knowledge, and surfing the internet rather than churning out searing short stories critiquing the ennui of modern life.