2 items from 2017
Let it be known that I genuinely like James Franco. Given the choice between ‘yer average pretty boy movie star and a ludicrous avant-garde polymath jester, I’ll pick the latter every time. Problem is, while the self-titled Mayor of Gay Town gleefully smashes through cultural/social/artistic boundaries like a steam train, the art that’s produced at the end of it is… not great.
And so to In Dubious Battle, an adaptation of John Steinbeck’s 1936 novel of the same name and the latest in Franco’s quest to put his favorite books on screen. This weighty literary project has, thus far, borne little of value. His adaptations of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying were “nearly unwatchable” and “stale and jumbled,” and his take on Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God “tedious and meandering”. Sadly, this trend remains unbroken.
Set during the Great Depression, »
- David James
James Franco’s death march through the American literary canon continues with In Dubious Battle, a John Steinbeck adaptation so conventionally dismal that it makes one better appreciate the artsy, dawdling garbage that is the actor turned dilettante’s usual stock in trade. Every Franco personal project—from his unintelligible, low-budget adaptations of William Faulkner (As I Lay Dying, The Sound And The Fury) and Cormac McCarthy (Child Of God) to his novels and assorted experiments in self-fellatio—is born with a “Kick Me” sign on its back, begging critics to punt it in the keister for making artistic ambition look lame. This one even comes with a freebie: It’s got “dubious” right there in the title. But instead of being sloppily miscalculated (the “Franco touch”), this attempt at a Depression-era labor drama in the vein of John Sayles just bores its way through almost two hours of screen »
- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky
2 items from 2017
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