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James Franco, Critic, Takes on 'Gatsby' Detractors and Uses Annoying Character to Explain his Teenage Fingering Jealousy

Photo of Bryce J. Renninger By Bryce J. Renninger | Indiewire May 15, 2013 at 4:56PM

Jack of all trades James Franco has revived his burgeoning career as a cultural critic. We all know he got an advanced degree from Yale or NYU or Columbia or something, and we may have read his take on HBO show "Girls" last year.
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James Franco
James Franco

Jack of all trades James Franco has revived his burgeoning career as a cultural critic.  We all know he got an advanced degree from Yale or NYU or Columbia or something, and we may have read his take on HBO show "Girls" last year.

Now, Franco is reviewing "The Great Gatsby" for, of course, VICE Magazine.  

Most of the review is a defense of director Baz Luhrmann's choices in updating the material somewhat for modern viewers. "[I]f Luhrmann had used that [1920s jazz] music today," Franco says, "it would have been a museum piece -- irrelevant to mainstream and high culture alike, because they would've already known what’s coming."

Franco defends Luhrmann's use of 3D with a shrug and a "You just deal with it because you want to. It’s fun to watch."

The most exciting takeaway from Franco's review of "Gatsby" is his takedown of the character of Gatsby, who he finds to be annoying in both the novel and the film. On the character, he says, "Gatsby's desire is revealed to be that of a 16-year-old boy: not only does he want to win Daisy, he wants to control her affections. It reminds me of my high school relationships, where I tortured girlfriends for getting fingered by other boys when they were freshmen. Just move on, dude. We are obsessed by his obsession but aren't significantly moved by his accomplishment of the goal."

If you're looking for a ringing endorsement of the film, though, you won't find it in Franco's analysis.  He ends by saying:  "In the end, Luhrmann made it work, and that's all that matters. The movie held together. We watched the story, we felt things, we were transported, and we were engaged."

And so it was.  The whole thing's worth a read, only if you want to read Franco prove he's read at least two Fitzgerald novels and wax poetic about the vacuous nature of the role of the critic.  Full text available on VICE.

This article is related to: James Franco , The Great Gatsby