May 23, 2013

Stop Hating on James Franco

francowall1Two words: Professional Jealousy. Busy people get things done because, well, they are busy. But don’t bother telling that to the hipsters who keep spray-painting sarcastic graffiti on the mural Franco just made last weekend in Williamsburg, Brooklyn—they won’t care.

To them he’s just another good-looking guy with all the money and all the luck. What they don’t realize is that people tend to see only the end results of hard work, not all the headaches and bullshit it takes for projects to actually get done.

At age thirty-five, not only is he well-credentialed, but he is a multimillionaire with a net worth of about $22 million. He has appeared in seventy-two films and in numerous television shows. Sure, growing up in LA didn’t hurt. Neither did having smart & creative parents who both went to Stanford. Most importantly, it seems like he is someone who has the ability, a superpower really, to not only recognize but to act on an opportunity when he sees one. Anyone can recognize an opportunity, but to act in the right way at the right time, that is much rarer than one might think.

Article seen in the New York Metro paper, given out to subway riders.

Article seen in the New York Metro paper, given out to subway riders.

But from what it looks like, if it’s possible for him to do something, he does it. He’s been a student, a director, and an actor, worked at McDonald’s, dropped out, gotten in, traveled the world and is constantly busy.

He’s even contributed to art projects such as THE THING Quarterly and Carter’s Erased James Franco and Maladies.

IMDB also says about him that he “may perhaps be one of the most academically accomplished actors (an ‘extreme scholar’) in Hollywood history: besides his BFA in English from UCLA, he has two MFA degrees—both in writing—from Columbia and Brooklyn College, and a third MFA, in film, from New York University. He is continuing further degree studies while also teaching a graduate class that takes students through the process of making a feature-length film.”

But back to the mural—I am no expert on James Franco, but I know that defacing other people’s art is pathetic. Although the francowall2at24kmural itself is essentially an ad for his new film This Is the End, it is as crudely painted as any you’d find in an elementary school. But hey—given the choice of a brick wall or a mural, I’d always choose a mural. And if you don’t like it, paint one of your own!

The graffiti is in bad taste in Williamsburg, a place known for its snotty rich kids whose rent is paid by their parents. Bars there are open until 4:30 a.m., allowing them to party all night while attending prestigious schools in Manhattan. To them maybe he doesn’t deserve the accolades he’s received, or they feel it is somehow unfair that he is in films and they are not. That he is in art shows and they are not. That he is on TV and they are not. That he’s hella cute and they are not.

Instead of hating on James Franco so hard, maybe ask yourself what you are doing with your time.

Comments (4)

  • There’s no doubt that Franco fiends for attention and I’m quite sure this fact fuels many of the creative responses, e.g. graffiti, to his “work.” Credit and acclaim are certainly warranted where they are due, but the fact of the matter is, as D-L mentioned, much of his attempts for praise are just foul balls lobbed towards an audience.

  • Chris Cobb says:

    One big difference about Franco not mentioned too is that most people have jobs where they toil on endlessly for years, a dishwasher, for example, and get no applause whatsoever. Or they raise children and get no applause, or they are cops and get no applause, or they are art teachers and get no applause. I am going out on a limb here and guessing that people who get into fields like acting or singing really, really need to hear that applause.

  • D-L Alvarez says:

    As far as I can see, when Franco does good work, he is applauded. The thing about him that people criticize, is that while he tends to play himself off as a Renaissance man, with a finger in every pot, what he really is is restless. More power to him and his willingness to try new things and fail in a public eye. That, I do admire about him. But looking at his work on it’s own merit, a large percentage of it is substandard: the product of a dabbler. I won’t belittle his efforts at all, like you Chris Cobb, I find his energy endearing. But the outcome is more often than not, uninteresting. Whatever … he’ll find what works one day (or not) and yay for that as well as the wonderful experiences he gains along the path.

    Unlike you, CC, given a choice of a brick wall and a mural, I would have to see the mural first. Because sometimes a brick wall is better.

  • And no mention of the quality of his work?

    If making 72 of something is the benchmark for deserving applause or accolades (or shielding), you should see my work in the can.

Leave a comment

Please tell us what you think. We really love conversation, and we’re happy to entertain dissenting opinions. Just no name-calling, personal attacks, slurs, threats, spam, and the like, please. Those ones we reserve the right to remove.

Sign Up

Join our newsletter for infrequent updates on new posts and Open Space events.
  • Required, will not be published

Dear Visitor,
We regret to inform you that Open Space is no longer active. It was retired at the end of 2021. We sincerely appreciate your support and engagement over the years.

For your reference, we encourage you to read past entries or search the site.

To stay informed about future ventures or updates, please follow us at

Thank you for being a part of our journey!