Tag Archives: james franco

The Disaster Artist (2017 Film)

The Disaster Artist is a 2017 film based on the book with the same name about the making of The Room, which is widely hailed as the best worst movie of all time. Watching The Room first isn’t required but is definitely recommended. In case you have seen it, The Room is a train wreck of a film that you can’t stop watching. The acting is terrible. The dialogue is terrible. The plot lines are terrible. Yet it’s become a cult classic and beloved by millions.

The Disaster Artist takes you behind the scenes and shows how The Room came to be. James Franco directs and stars as Tommy Wiseau, the real life creator of The Room. Dave Franco plays Greg Sestero, Wiseau’s friend, costar, and coauthor of the book on which this film is based. Seth Rogan produced and also plays script supervisor Sandy Schklair. Every single role seems to be played by somebody famous, that’s how beloved The Room is in Hollywood.

The Disaster Artist could have taken the easy way out and simply make fun of the eccentric Wiseau and how shitty his vision turned out to be, but James Franco makes him sympathetic. He humanize him. You feel for Wiseau. You want him to succeed even though he fails spectacularly. This film celebrates the success that arose from his failure.

I enjoyed every second of this movie. It grabs you from the get-go and never lets go. It is hilarious and fascinating. Spoiler alert: the film ends with a side by side comparison of iconic scenes from The Room that are reenacted by the Francos and friends. I wanted to watch it again as soon as it was over. Instead I had to settle on watching YouTube reviews and interviews. It’s pretty awesome to see how much James Franco and Seth Rogan have grown creatively since Pineapple Express. They still make stoner comedies but now they are Oscar worthy stoner comedies. The Disaster Artist was probably the best movie I’ve seen this year. Go see it so I can talk to you about it.

Critically Rated at 16/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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The Interview

The Interview is a 2014 comedy about two American journalists being tasked with assassinating Kim Jong-un. It would have been a typical stoner flick but North Korea heard about it, got all butt hurt, and hacked Sony in retaliation. They prevented the film from getting a wide release in theaters, but they failed spectacularly because of all the free publicity they generated for the film. It was quite a successful marketing ploy; it guaranteed that this movie will forever be remembered for all the hoopla it caused.

The film was written by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, and Dan Sterling. It was directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. It stars Seth Rogen and James Franco. Seth Rogen is pretty talented in case you haven’t figured it out yet. Rogen plays Aaron Rapoport, the producer of an entertainment news show called Skylark Tonight. Franco plays Dave Skylark, the pompous host of Skylark Tonight. Randall Park plays Kim Jong-un, the crazy dictator of North Korea and a huge fan of Skylark Tonight. He’s such a fan that he wants to be on the show and arranges for Aaron and Dave to come out to North Korea to interview him. The CIA hears about the interview and they enlist Aaron and Dave to assassinate him.

It’s a political comedy filled with bathroom humor. One second you’re laughing at propaganda, the next second you’re laughing at fart jokes. It’s reminiscent of Team America: World Police but the humor is a little more down to earth. Team America’s cruel dictator was an obvious stereotype. He was shorter than all the other puppets, he had a ridiculous accent, and was clearly the embodiment of evil. The Interview’s dictator was more realistic. Randall Park plays him as shy and insecure. He want’s Dave Skylark’s approval because he looks up to him. He has daddy issues and all he wants is to be respected. That’s why it’s a bit more startling when his crazy side comes out.

It’s not a great movie. This Is the End and Pineapple Express are both better than The Interview, but The Interview feels more like a complete film. Rogen is starting to mature and a writer, director, and actor and his films are starting to tackle more social and political issues. They still retain humor and heart, but he’s becoming more worldly and it shows. The film was just released on Netflix; I suggest that you watch it. It won’t change your life, but it will make you laugh and that’s what every comedy should do.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Spider-Man 2

Spider-Man 2 is the second installment of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. It’s among the best superhero movies to date, both critically and commercially. Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco all reprise their roles and Alfred Molina joins the cast as Dr. Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus. The film is about Peter Parker struggling to juggle his responsibilities as Peter Parker and as Spider-Man. He’s got relationship problems, a friendship on the rocks, and a crazy villain to deal with.

The first Spider-Man movie was pretty good. It was a decent origin story about a fun character with serviceable action scenes, but the sequel takes Spidey to new heights. It does everything that you want a sequel to do: the story is more interesting, it references the original, there’s more action and more elaborate special effects. You don’t have to introduce the main characters; you can just jump right into the story and have fun.

My biggest gripe with the movie is that Doc Ock can take an awful lot of punches. His mechanical limbs don’t give him super strength. I’m pretty sure that Spider-Man’s punch would shatter his skull. He’s still the best villain in the series though, even with Alfred Molina’s saggy man tits. The subway sequence was almost too awesome and exhilarating. It made the climax look lame by comparison. And something about Kirsten Dunst repulses me slightly.

Critically Rated at 15/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Your Highness (film)

Your Highness is a 2011 stoner comedy/fantasy parody film. It’s almost like a follow-up to Pineapple Express. It has the same director (David Gordon Green) and two of the main actors (Danny McBride and James Franco). But it’s not as funny, not as solid as Pineapple Express. It’s still one of the best sword and sorcery stoner films though.

Danny McBride stars as Thadeous, a lazy prince who is jealous of his older brother Fabious. Fabious (James Franco) is the cliché prince/brave knight, going on quests and rescuing princesses and whatnot. He returns from one such quest with the virgin Belladonna (Zooey Deschanel) from the evil warlock Leezar. Leezar kidnaps her back, and Thadeous is forced to help Fabious on his quest to kill Leezar and get her back. They go on a quest and meet pedophilic wizards, naked nymphs, horny minotaurs, and Natalie Portman.

Your Highness has its moments, but a lot of jokes fall flat. The whole movie is based on a weird concept. It would play better as an SNL sketch as opposed to a full-length feature. They run out of gags and the plot is already stretched too thin. It’s a funny movie and it might be worth watching, but it’s not worth owning.

Critically Rated at 11/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express is a stoner action film staring Seth Rogen, James Franco and Danny McBride. David Gordon Green directs and Judd Apatow produces. It’s about a stoner who witnesses a murder and gets wrapped up in the middle of a drug war. I hate when that happens.

Seth Rogen is Dale Denton, a 25-year-old process server who dreams of being on the radio someday. He smokes weed and buys from a smalltime dealer named Saul (James Franco). Saul sells Dale some rare weed called Pineapple Express, and Dale goes back to work. He’s waiting to serve a guy named Ted Jones (Gary Cole) ,and he witnesses Ted and a cop (Rosie Perez) kill an Asian guy. Dale freaks out, tosses his roach and goes to Saul for help.

Saul buys his weed from a guy named Red (Danny McBride), and Red buys from Ted. Pineapple Express is really rare and Ted is the supplier, so he is able to trace it back to Saul and Dale.

They go on the run. They spend the night in the woods and have a little bonding time. The next day they go to visit Red and find out if he’s told Ted anything. And he did, because he was threatened by two henchmen (Kevin Corrigan and Craig Robinson). Dale and Saul get in a clumsy stoner fight with Red, and they escape before Ted’s henchmen come back.

They go to warn Dale’s high school girlfriend (Amber Heard) and her family that they might be in danger. And even though her dad tries to kill Dale and Saul, he’s able to convince them to hide out a hotel.

Dale and Saul have a fight, and Dale says that they were never friends. Saul gets caught by Ted’s men and Dale decides he has to save him. He gets Red to help, but Red bails at the last minute and Dale confronts Ted’s gang alone. He gets captured pretty quickly and is reunited with Saul in a cell.

They chose a pretty good night to get captured, because Ted’s rivals, the Asians, stage a raid of Ted’s base. Saul and Dale manage to escape and they are killing their way out, while the Asians are killing their way in, and Ted’s guys are killing everyone. Even Red comes back to kill some people.

Dale, Saul, and Red all manage to survive. And they celebrate by getting breakfast and deciding to be best friends.

If you are a fan of quality entertainment, you might recall a show called Freaks and Geeks. Judd Apatow developed that show and Seth Rogen and James Franco starred in it. It’s good to see them working together again. Even Kevin Corrigan guest starred in an episode.

This movie has a few cool action scenes, but it never forgets that it’s a comedy. So the fights have gags in them. Saul and Dale don’t know how to fight and it shows. The car chase scene was completely absurd and it was really fun to watch,

As with a lot of Apatow movies, the dialog seems to flow. Everything seems improvised. James Franco and Seth Rogen are perfect for this movie, but Danny McBride steals the movie as Red. He has so many great lines. And he can’t die.

Pineapple Express is a solid comedy. People will still be quoting it in twenty years. It doesn’t take itself too seriously… that whole subplot with the Asians feels pretty tacked on and I’m sure that it’s intentional. All things considered, it’s a fun film and comedies should be fun.

Critically Rated at 14/17

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127 Hours

Danny Boyle directs and James Franco stars in this true story about a hiker who gets trapped and has to cut off his own arm. Franco plays Aron Ralston, an avid outdoorsman who thinks he is the shit, before nature teaches him a lesson he’ll never forget. Because he lost his arm. That’ll teach him.

It is a very unique movie. It starts out like an action film. It is very fast paced, lots of cool cuts and camera shots. Aron is full of life, he hustles around. He packs quickly, drives quickly, bikes quickly and hikes quickly. He meets two girls, and shows them around a bit, and leaves them just as abruptly as he met them. He hops around, he is mobile, he can’t stay still or in one spot for too long.

And suddenly he slips and a giant boulder pins his arm, and he is trapped in a narrow, isolated canyon. It happens instantly, and it slowly dawns on him that he can’t move. Franco demonstrates his acting chops, and as he struggles in vain to pull himself free, screaming out, “THIS IS INSANE!” You feel as though you are trapped too. You feel his panic, you feel his pain, his predicament.

Aron gradually calms down a bit and tries to logically handle his situation. He sees what tools and equipment he has. He rations his water. He tries a few techniques to move the boulder, but ultimately there is only one way to escape. First he breaks his arm. Then using a dull pocket knife (according to IMDB it was not a Leatherman), he has to cut through his flesh, nerves, ligaments, and arteries. It is a very graphic and detailed scene, and if you’re squeamish, this might not be a fun part for you.

The majority of the movie he is stuck in one spot. But through flashbacks and hallucinations we leave the canyon, so it’s not as confining as other movies like Phone Booth. Aron begins to discover who he is. He realizes how flawed he is, and how many regrets he has. Like not answering the phone when his sister calls, or telling his mom how much she means to him. But he really regrets not telling anyone where he was going, because he thought he was Superman and could do anything. He thought he could tame Nature, but instead he had to hack off his own arm. If I had a nickel….

The movie gets a bit surreal at times with the flashbacks, but it still is rooted in reality. You feel for Aron and experience everything that he does. Throughout the movie he speaks to his video camera and it becomes a journal of sorts. The real Aron Ralston had a video camera with him in the canyon, and he shared the footage with Danny Boyle and James Franco. I’m sure that was an extremely valuable tool, because you see Aron’s breakdown and it feels real, because it was real. Whole parts of his mental decline are just reenactments of a real person losing control. It is as close to becoming insane as I ever want to be.

This is a great film. It inspires you to go out and experience nature (just make sure you tell people where you are going). It makes you want to call your mom and have a heart to heart. It makes you glad you didn’t have to cut off your arm.

Critically Rated at 15/17

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