Harsh, truthful critic’s review leaves James Franco superficially, publicly inconsolable


James Franco visibly cries due to book critic’s “accurate” review of chapbook.

Written by Jon Hamm’s Eyebrows.

Los Angeles, California–James Franco, who has reportedly been “doing the academic thing” since he re-enrolled as an English major at UCLA in the autumn of 2006 to earn his B.A. just two years later with a 3.5 GPA. Since then, Franco has earned two master’s degrees–an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University and an MFA in film directing from NYU–and has enrolled as a PhD-seeking student at Yale University. Or so he says!

Despite his ostensibly extensive and arguably self-aggrandizing  academic pursuits, there have still been only few skeptics–the well-known Franco-hating film professor who gave the actor a D for not attending half of his class and who incidentally lost his job soon after, as well as more recently a group of Palo Alto high school students who have unrelentingly given the actor poor reviews on ratemyteacher.com only to be vigilantly disputed and taken down by the overly web presence-obsessed actor. 

Mr. Franco, whose recent teaching career, which started at colleges such as UCLA, NYU, and USC, has most recently taught a film class at Palo Alto high school, likely in hopes of reinvigorating his Daniel Desario spirit only this time in front of the classroom rather than flunking from the back row. However, his students are unimpressed. One Palo Alto high school junior, Jaime Nielsen, called Franco’s lessons “empty, pretentious, at times incoherent.” A senior at the school, Judd Epley, confirmed Nielsen’s comments, stating that, at least on one occasion, Franco “laid on his desk, sensually rubbing his chest while muttering something inappropriate under his breath, then enthusiastically jumped to his feet and shouted ‘Acting! This is acting!'”

One senior’s parent, Jane Atkins, expressed her concern for her daughter’s education, noting that her daughter Eliza told her that Franco’s lessons were “disorganized at best” and “always off-point,” adding that “one time he spent nearly twenty minutes on the phone with Seth Rogen, then excused himself to finish the call somewhere he’d ‘have more privacy,’ giving the class a frown that suggested he thought we were judging him.” Beth Atkins, a high school senior who has been accepted to UCLA as an English education major said herself that Franco is “the kind of teacher who inspires one not to be a teacher, or at the very least to be a much better teacher than he, a teacher that is starkly different than whatever bizarre school of thought informs Mr. Franco’s lesson plans.”

But if Franco’s many poor student evaluations don’t convince a skeptic, then perhaps the latest L.A. Times book review will shed some light into Mr. Franco’s weak poetic sensibility. Franco, who has reportedly also been “doing the poet thing” ever since he declared to Jimmy Fallon he has a master’s degree in poetry, which decidedly makes him an expert poet, has most recently released a chapbook titled Straight James / Gay James which self-proclaims to be a “poetic bildungsroman–raw, candid, and uninhibited,” and describes Franco’s poetic style as varied, “from the imagistic to the prosaic.” Pretentious much?

Lionel Richards, III, book critic at the L.A. Times, thinks so. Richards, who is the paper’s literature expert, earned an MFA in poetry and a PhD in comparative literature from Cornell University, wrote 7 Pulitzer Prize-winning novels and taught poetry at the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop before pursuing a career as a book critic. Richards, whose unconstrained review calls Franco’s poetry in general but notably in the chapbook “empty, shallow, devoid of substance,” some of his more generous critiques of Franco too, goes on to compare the “bizarre, absurd, contrived schizophrenic” interview of “Gay James” by “Straight James” to the “unforgivable” performances of Adam Sandler in the “bumbling, detestable” 2011 comedy film, Jack and Jill.  

Richards, too, was not amused by Franco’s irrefutably “superficial” public response to Richards’s review of Straight James / Gay James. Franco, who publicly announced the “dismay” that the review caused him to CNN, ran into the arms of Seth Rogen before the paparazzi, who consoled the self-declared “inconsolable” James Franco with a lingering hug. In response to the episode, Richards had to say: “He’s not even a particularly good actor,” calling Franco’s publicly seen retort to the review a “unconvincing, superficial act,” adding, “He’d audibly, disingenuously cry on Rogen’s shoulder, and then look to the cameras to assure somebody was still watching, that they were still filming his laughably pathetic existence.” 

Dave Franco, the actor’s brother and a fellow actor himself, found Richards’s review, albeit “harsh,” remarkably”truthful” and “completely accurate,” noting himself that “James wrote a book of stories about our hometown, called it fiction, and didn’t even make it interesting.” The younger Franco speaks about his brother’s short story collection, Palo Alto, of which Richards had similar negative reviews: “structurally, superficially pretty, but completely devoid of substance.”

Seth Rogen, on the other hand, Franco’s longtime acting partner, had issue with the many criticisms of his best friend, considering his relationship with James to possess “raw, candid, uninhibited majesty,” borrowing from Franco’s vocabulary. Rogen declared his plans with the actor to escape for a Hawaiian excursion, where their love might be “uninterrupted, free, complete,” and most of all, “not judged.”

Since Franco’s public episode followed by his and Rogen’s Hawaiian escape, rumors have surfaced about the actor attempting to “prove Richards’s claims about his shoddy, uninspired acting wrong by cutting off his own arm and waving it around in the air in the name of delivering a convincing performance more life-like than his performance in 127 Hours.” These rumors have not yet been confirmed or denied by Franco himself, as he remains “superficially inconsolable” in the arms of Seth Rogen.


Since escaping Jon Hamm’s face last fall to “make a name” for himself, Jon Hamm’s Eyebrows has been quite busy–producing, writing, and directing a one-man show off-Broadway and making a brief appearance in the short-lived reboot of Fox’s Prison Break. Joining The Thirsty Thespian’s writing staff this April, Jon Hamm’s Eyebrows has chosen the above photograph of a solitary Jon Hamm unfurnished by his definitive, self-assured eyebrows to remind readers of the nature of the man he left behind, “a monster!”, as well as to reaffirm his independence as a talent beyond the man above whose eyes he once resided.


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