I have a confession to make: I love James Franco.
I know this might not seem like a big confession, but it means a lot to me to have it out in the open. I’m not usually a fan of celebrities, but I like this one. I think he’s amazing. Seriously, I think he’s an incredible talent. And not only that, but a nice guy who’s smart. That isn’t to say I love every last one of his life decisions or acting roles, but overall I think he’s an incredible talent. His awesomeness is what has pseudo-inspired me to write this list of the Top Five Reasons I Really Like James Franco:
His acting ability is stellar.
Before I ever saw James Franco in 127 Hours (pun intended), he was in that wonderful Judd Apotow creation, Freaks and Geeks. Even though he played the stereotypical cool-edgy-stoner-guy and that’s not an all-that complicated roll to play, he made it his own. Even as a young adult the kid showed some serious promise. Not just for his James Dean good looks either, (an actor he portrayed in the 2001 made for TV biopic James Dean and if you haven’t seen it, I recommend it) but also because he can act. Franco gave his edgy-heartthrob, Daniel Desario more depth than we ever could have imagined with a similar Fonz character.
The good acting just kept on coming with a lead roll in Flyboys, for which he obtained a private pilot license to prepare for the role. Then came an awesome role in Pineapple Express followed by an interesting portrayal of Allen Ginsberg in an even more interesting film, Rob Epstein’s Howl. (source 1)
Next came his Academy Awards nomination for Best Actor as Aron Ralston in 127 Hours– which was richly deserved. The technical ability required to captivate an audience for an entire film is incredible- as he was the only source of dramatic action in the whole movie. Almost a full ninety-four minutes focused on one man and the time just seems to fly. Really, I think he’s that good.
The Broken Tower was a bit long and drawn out but hey, nobody’s perfect. It was in my opinion an overly ambitious concept for a movie. I give him the benefit of the doubt though for at least attempting to make Hart Crane’s life and poetry more interesting outside of the classroom.
The man’s educated.
Acting has a reputation for not being very strenuous on the intellectual front, but Mr. Franco has been one of Hollywood’s exceptions pursing a solid education.
In autumn of 2006 he enrolled as an English major at UCLA, while still continuing to act. After graduating UCLA with an impressive 4.0 GPA, he went on to receive his MFA from Columbia University in 2010 and is currently enrolled in a PhD program at Yale. The short story collection he produced for his thesis, Palo Alto, could have been better, but the fact that this guy was able to write a book for college on a film set is amazing. That’s some serious intellectual prowess for a man who was simultaneously pursuing an acting career. (source 2 & 3)
He’s a bro.
I know this one is more subjective and has more to do with how one classifies ‘bro-y-ness,’ but you have to admit he’s pretty awesome. He looks like the kind of guy you can just talk crap with or go and get a beer with.
Now there’s one thing you look for when you’re talking about someone you can just hang out with- and that is the conversations you’re going to have with them, what are they going to talk about and what you’re going to talk about. To me, James Franco seems like the kind of guy whose conversation just flows naturally, and so there are no worries about what you’re actually talking about, or who is going to speak next.
Despite acting in so many different and varying roles, he seems to be humble. I think a lot of that comes from the laid-back-cool-guy you see in that half-smile.
His charity work—that makes him a kind guy.
Not only is he really the kind of guy you can see yourself having a beer with, but he’s made a point to live for others as well. He volunteers with the charity Art of Elysium Heaven Gala in Los Angeles.
In April of 2013 Franco also received the ‘Ally Award’ at the 15th annual Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival, presented to him for his unwavering support of the LGBT community. (source 4)
I know that this point is probably the most wishy-washy out of all of them, but I really find that you can go with a gut instinct on these sorts of things. And the fact that he does give his time more than his money, speaks volumes about his character. It’s important to know that people give something more that just a check sometimes.
And you have had to know that this would be coming:
As far as humans go, and speaking as a 21st century heterosexual male, it is my personal opinion that James Franco is good looking. I acknowledge it. I get it, I really do. He’s a fine looking man. He’s strong, he has good bone structure and he has a good set of teeth. I’m kind of surprised he hasn’t done toothpaste commercials yet.
It’s no coincidence that he’s done so many Gucci ads. He’s a good-looking guy and there is really nothing else to say.
We’ve come to expect celebrities to be talented, to be smart, to be good people. But in reality, they are just regular individuals and not the demi-gods we sometimes make them out to be. Celebrities really are just people and if anything, all these regular guy characteristics just make James Franco more likable to me.
That, and I really thought he was badass in Freaks and Geeks.