James Franco, The WALDO of His Generation

Self now knows what James Franco reminds her of.

When son was a wee tyke, and self was still trundling him around to various doctors for shots and allergy treatments and asthma prescriptions and what not, every single doctor’s office had a version of a book called WHERE’S WALDO? in the waiting room.

Lost amid a sea of bright graphics was the person known as WALDO, who looked like a major geek (Why this series was never adapted for movie or TV is beyond comprehension.  Or perhaps it already has, and self is just lost in her own clue-less universe?)

Self got a little inkling of the actor James Franco’s ambitions (to be Waldo) when she heard he had approached the General Hospital people about appearing on the soap.

Then she heard that he himself had written the part he was to play:  Seems Franco wanted to play a serial killer —  with the name Franco.

So, for that period of time when James was the serial killer Franco on General Hospital, self never skipped a day.

Then she discovered that the actor had made some kind of humongous art installation (It was written up in The New Yorker, which was how self learned about it —  Alas, self cannot tell dear blog readers exactly which issue of The New Yorker it was in)

Then she heard that he had applied to Warren Wilson’s low-residency MFA Program, in Poetry.

Then she heard that he was also taking classes at Columbia.

Then she heard that he had been invited to be the Commencement Speaker at UCLA, but the announcement was met with protests:  apparently, those uppity UCLA students wanted someone of more intellectual meat to be their commencement speaker.  Franco maintained a gracious silence, but close to the date of the ceremony, he pulled out.  Which then led UCLA to scramble for a substitute Commencement Speaker.  Which was probably not nice of Franco, but what-the-hell, those stuck-up UCLA students got whatever they deserved.  Self heard who the replacement commencement speaker was, and this person (whose name self immediately forgot) was not on the level of Steve Jobs or Meryl Streep or Nicole Krauss or Hillary Clinton, or anyone of that caliber.

Then she heard that he had made a film that screened at a Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and actually got nominated for an award.  Self saw parts of this film on YouTube:  it involved very good-looking boys and tight close-ups of jiggling butt-cheeks.

Then she learned that James Franco was anointed Salon.com’s Sexiest Man Living, in 2009.

Then she heard that he had published a collection of short stories.  Self actually saw this on a display table at local indie bookstore Kepler’s.  She began perusing the first page of each story.  Hey, for someone who has had to:  a) act on screens big and small  b) enroll in grad school —  several, it turns out  c) direct short movies and d) create art installations, these stories are not bad!  In fact, they were better than average (bearing in mind that self’s assessment is based solely on the first paragraphs of each story in the collection, which Franco of course named Palo Alto, thereby precluding self’s fond hope that she could appropriate such a title for her own future collection, which is set in Palo Alto and thereabouts)

Then she heard that he was co-hosting the Oscars.

Now he is appearing in a spring movie called “Your Highness” along with Danny McBride and hotter-than-hot-fresh-off-her-Oscar-win Natalie Portman.

Today, she landed on EW.com and saw this:

James Franco to teach film course at NYU, but no syllabus yet.

How would such a class go, self wonders?  Would Franco be able to impart stellar advice on scripts?  Film directing?  Juggling?  Would students get so lost in the haze of the Franco cool-ness that they would remember anything he said during class?  Or would students (of either gender) simply stare.  And stare.  And stare.  And forget to take notes?  Would this class even be available for letter grade, or would it simply be Pass/ No Pass?  Could people audit?  Would there be an auditorium big enough to accommodate enrollees?

There you have it, dear blog readers:  James Franco is the WALDO of his generation.

Stay tuned.

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