Good news, he just may have found his most hipstery venture yet. It was announced that James Franco and his band Daddy will release an album of songs inspired by The Smiths. This follows the debut of a trippy music video for a reworked version of "This Charming Man," further validating what I've long suspected: Franco is totally that guy you kind-of, sort-of dated in art school.
I use the term "art" here loosely, of course, Franco has really branches across a spectrum of creative fields, but the metaphor is still valid. He's that pretentious pseudo-Renaissance man that's admittedly pretty good at one or two things yet insists on doing everything, not because he's talented, but because he has a severe identity crisis. He's totally that dude who lures you in with his good looks and charisma, but then ditches you to write that novel he's been working on for three years now. He is so that guy that has a non-break-up with you mid-semester through email, saying that he's just "in the middle of so many projects right now." And you're that girl, flabbergasted by this out-of-the-blue rejection, wanting to scream, "But none of them are even good!"
For what it's worth, I love The Smiths and I'll cop to the fact that Franco's a total babe. And hell, "creative" is right up there with "funny," "dark-haired" and "kind of gay-ish" when it comes to qualities I look for in a man. But like that guy-you-almost-dated-in-art-school, I can't decide ifeither a genius or a monster, and I'm either in love with him or he must be destroyed.
While I'm trying to figure that out, here's 9 specific times James Franco was totally that guy you nearly dated in art school
The Time He Wrote All Those Poems With Titles from Smith's Songs
Homages, really, but that doesn't explain the wack-a-doo pieces about Heath Ledger, Lindsay Lohan, and River Pheonix. At the time Franco told you that they're postmodern, semi-ironic pieces of work about the corruption of stardom. You sipped your expresso and nodded quietly, thinking to yourself, "How the hell can you be 'semi-ironic.'"
The Time He Taught at NYU
It's one of those great gigs that feel entirely undeserved. In Franco's case, he's like that guy who got his bachelors degree in English like a minute ago and somehow gets to spend an entire semester as a special guest lecturer. And you're like, "Why? Why? Why?" before it hits you: nepotism.
The Time He Wrote An Essay About The Pros and Cons of Grad Schools
On a related note, Franco is definitely qualified to weigh the value of different grad school programs. That's because Franco is also that guy who's like 28 and still getting his masters. He can look you in the eye and tell you that the creative writing program is SO much better than the film school, because he's literally tried all of them. His projected graduation date: a generous May 2016, and then he'll decide if he wants to go for his PhD or not.
The Time He Hit on a Teenager
It's something he kind of admitted sheepishly and made a slew of jokes about later. He was having a dark moment last Thursday, and just really needed someone to be there for him. You're really sympathetic until you remember you tried to make plans last Thursday and he said he needed "some space right now." Hmmm...
The Time He May-or-May-Not Have Dated Lana Del Rey
Okay, Franco posts some pictures of him with that one singer-girl on his Instagram, they're hanging out a lot, he's joking about how they got "married," you're hearing a lot of rumors that they may or may not be a thing. It's fine, it's cool, you're not the jealous type, right? Yet somehow you end up drunk, scrolling through her Tumblr, texting Franco at 3 am with "IT'S BECAUSE SHE HAS MORE FOLLOWERS THAN ME, ISN'T IT?"
All the Times He Played a Parody of Himself
Occasionally he realizes he's ridiculous, and in those moments he's totally endearing. That is, until he makes some reference about how he's really trying to make his work more "meta" and you just zone out of the conversation.
The Time He Did The 'Bound 2' Parody with BFF Seth Rogan
A hilarious satirical romp between bromantic buddies is always worth watching. Truth be told when he shared it on his Facebook newsfeed with the caption of "How me and Seth spent our Sunday <3" you watched it, and you laugh. But then you did a double-take and comment, "Sunday? You were supposed to meet me on Sunday but you never called." After no response you frantically follow-up with, "I WAS WAITING AT STARBUCKS FOR FOUR HOURS."
The Time He Created a Film Based on His Series of Short Stories About Hitting on Teenagers
All you know is that it wasn't about you, as you are a full grown-up woman. And again, not the jealous type, but you're somehow getting a little bitter that throughout his 8000 side-projects you're barely alluded to.
Each and Every The Time He Released Short Films Via Vice
He's so proud of them and makes you watch the entire anthology. As you two are sitting on the couch in his apartment, drinking red wine, watching Michael Shannon fuck a corpse, you finally side-eye him and say, "So, like ... are we going to hook up or something?"
Images: Giphy (4), Instagram/jamesfrancotv