Some people would probably feel better to read that Mr. Franco’s Clocktower effort can be dismissed as bad beyond redemption, an outsider’s naïve dalliance in things he doesn’t really understand. I initially inclined toward that conclusion, although in the end it turned out to be more interesting and complicated than that….
In the video “Rocket,” a playgroundlike plywood rocket ship (a version is in the show) explodes again and again, beautifully shot from different angles and distances and then edited into rapid-fire bursts. It’s like a homage to the conclusion of “Zabriskie Point” by the explosive-mad Swiss artist Roman Signer. Another video of a perfectly nice little red playhouse being reduced to smithereens by off-camera rifles suggests a new disclaimer along the lines of “No objects were pointlessly destroyed in the making of this movie.”
OK, so I’ve actually written about James Franco before and suggested as much, but after reading this article I’m comfortable saying for certain that James Franco is probably awesome. That’s not an easy thing for a man to say about a handsome contemporary actor, either. I’d be happy to tell you I think someone not-handsome like Steve Buscemi or someone not-contemporary like Paul Newman is awesome, but it’s tough when the dude is basically my age.
Anyway, the way I see it one of two things could be happening here:
1) James Franco is 100% for real and he’s using his fame as a vehicle to showcase vanity art projects featuring himself blowing up a bunch of stuff and frolicking through Paris with a prosthetic penis on his face. In that case, he’s pretty ridiculous, but at least his art is decent enough to convince this New York Times art reviewer that he’s not a total hack, plus we know he can’t take himself all that seriously thanks to his amazing turn in 30 Rock.
2) James Franco is messing with everybody just to see how much he can get away with because he’s a handsome famous actor guy, and the whole art-installation thing is basically just some big Andy Kaufman gag to see if he can get people to revere him as an artist for blowing up bunch of stuff and frolicking through Paris with a prosthetic penis on his face. And if that’s the case, then James Franco is almost inexplicably awesome.
So in either case, James Franco is probably the balls. Plus he was sweet in Pineapple Express and his younger brother Dave Franco — perhaps best known as the soccer-playing kid from Superbad — looks exactly like my former co-worker David Moses.