A pink taxi

A pink taxi

April 24, 2011

Handsome and Smart

I read about James Franco a few months ago in a random fashion magazine, either VF or Tatler, at the most indulgent time of the week: a manicure at NBar! I sent two messages soon after. One to my husband was traveling in the USA at the time, asking him to buy the book  written by him entitled Palo Alto, and the other was to my cousin asking him about the movie 127 hours in which the same James Franco stars.

My cousin, who is a champion mountain climber, had  already seen the movie and had kept a  copy of it. We then organized a movie night and I bonded with him and my brother, confirming my dislike for chick flicks and my preference for certain types of guy-movies. How fun it was to watch the cool movie with the climber-cousin, two weeks before he left Dubai permanently, back to the American canyons he missed so much! I wasn't surprised that he was willing to see it again, because in his family, they watch movies to the point of overkill, like my son.

127 hours is so much better than Slumdog Millionnaire,  which was by the same producer! I found that Slumdog was replete with cliches of India, and I tend to prefer authentic Bollywood productions. 127 hours is a one man show and the single actor is no one other than handsome James Franco, taking on the character of a grungy carefree climber . I watched the theatrical film with awe, despite the fact that it had a Titanic feel to it, one with an ending we all knew. This lost climber, who gets stuck underneath a boulder in a cave, with no access to the outside world, ends up amputating his own arm to save himself. I was very impressed with the acting and the production kept us glued with suspense and entertainment.

Upon my husband's return from the US, I received James Franco's collection of short stories entitled Palo Alto, as promised. I was familiar with the town of Palo Alto because my sister is a Stanford graduate. Yet the book doesn't even mention Stanford University, except for its looming presence as an employer of some parents in the stories. The narratives instead focus on high school students. The stories occur in the late nineties, making Franzen's "Discomfort Zone" feel like the age of innocence in comparison. Franco writes to shock: this is American Beauty but X rated!

While there is much scandal to the stories, closer to Scream than to American Pie, there were some stories that really amused me. As you know me by now, I of course read excerpts to my husband out loud.

This is just a proof that a handsome actor, who happens to be a graduate of NYU film school like another cousin of mine,  can also write as he also received an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University.


  1. No one can ever criticize the blogger for not having an eccletic taste in music, films, and books. It's what keeps her reviews so fresh! You never know what she will review next.

  2. The blogger brings her children along with French movies for a night of popcorn and fun.Yesterday was the show for The Little Prince in an animated version which I guess was a little of a disappointment. La Gloire de Mon Pere and the Chateau de ma Mere along with Petit Nicola (who looks like one of my grandchildren)are more enchanting.
    As to the nomad cum banker of a cousin who left back(hopefully temporarily)to the US,he certainly felt like a fish out of water in Dubai,though quite successful in his profession as an Investment banker.

  3. Ok, I think one thing is for certain and that is that the blogger and I will never agree to go see a movie together. Somehow, the idea of spending 120 minutes watching 127 hours equals 2 mind numbing sedatives. How in the world can watching one man, who’s arm got stuck under a boulder, hack off his arm with a dull knife after breaking it be entertaining? I’m all for wonderful stories of the human will to survive but do I have to suffer through 120 minutes of it? But then again, this is our blogger who enjoys endless hours of suffering at the hands of Bikram and Pilates instructors and who enjoys turning off her AC to feel the heat of Dubai during the summer while she reads back dated issues of magazines.
    Slum Dog Millionaire was cliché, entertaining and fabulous. You left the movie happy, caught up in the excitement of the impossible becoming possible. Now that’s entertainment!