James Franco returns to his roots this week, playing a character in a movie in which he presumably just reads his lines and acts, without any extra layers of metacommentary, irony, or self-parody. We emphasize presumably, of course — it's possible that Franco's whole career has been an elaborate work of performance art, from his breakout on the beloved, short-lived Freaks and Geeks, to the 2011 Oscars hosting debacle, to this week's seemingly innocuous Oz: The Great and Powerful. Untangling the mystery that is James Franco is a near-impossible (not to mention obnoxious) task, but we thought we'd start with a few YouTube clips.
In yesterday’s New York Times, Bill Carter — the Homer of the late night talk show Odyssey — penned a depressing, reality-checking piece about the state of the desks. The takeaway: the era of glib, monologue delivering, band-having, big-chinned raconteurs is over. Comedy Central’s one-two punch of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert — with their innate ability to attract millions of savvy, young eyeballs with nothing more expensive than a brightly-lit set and a staff of nerdy, male Harvard graduates — was the epoch-altering meteor that sealed the dinosaurs’ fate. But according to Carter, the sea-change in entertainment — how we consume it and how much we have to choose from — is what’s hastening their demise. (If you’re a scientist, think of this as the sun-blocking dust kicked up by said meteor. If you’re Michele Bachmann, consider it the legion of diplodocus-hunting ur-men who re-claimed the Earth for the true children of Adam. Either way.)