James Franco’s ‘Esquire’ Fiction: Dissecting Beauty

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James Franco will be playing famed beat poet Allen Ginsberg in the upcoming film Howl, but if his recent fiction published in Esquire is any indication, the actor still has a lot of research to do before he ascends to Kerouac-levels of greatness. See, we love James Franco: He seems to have a good sense of humor about himself and his celebrity status, takes on new and interesting projects – including currently getting degrees at both Tisch and Columbia, and (lets face it) is really, really, ridiculously good-looking. But we can't all be great at everything, and we think we found James' weakness in his terrible, hackneyed prose and ridiculous dialogue. Some of our favorite examples from his story, “Just Before The Black,” below, and our notes constructive criticism bolded below.

The building is beige, but the shadows make it shadow-color.

JAMES! Use better descriptors, please!

And I think about that missing tooth, and that gap, and how there was never a gap in that place before, and about three dimensions, and how the gap was on the inside of his mouth unless he opened his mouth and how things, shapes, folded in on themselves, and four dimensions, and if time is variable, then how do I vary it, and why do I want to? Because everything just focuses in on me and I hate it.

Are you high?

I wish I was Mexican, or Hebrew, I mean Jewish, I mean Israeli, or Mexican Jewish, or Mexican Jewish gay, because it can be so boring being you sometimes, and if you were the most special thing like that, it could be really great, but maybe some people say the same thing about you, and you want to tell those people: “No, you're stupid, it's no fun being me.”

This is a good start to your 101 Creative Writing course, but we're not quite sure it'd Esquire material if you hadn't starred in Freaks and Geeks.

Joe sucks off his cigarette.