Movies & TV / Columns

The 411 Douchebag of the Week: James Franco

July 17, 2017 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
James Franco

The 411mania Douchebag of the Week

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the latest edition of The 411 Douchebag of the Week. I’m Bryan Kristopowitz.


Is it me or are there too many “home” shows on TV? From home improvement shows, where people fix up houses and properties and whatnot, to shows where people look into buying new houses/retirement properties/beachfront condos/whatever the fuck, the goddamn things are seemingly everywhere. There are multiple networks devoted to the genre, and there are an infinite number of episodes. Now, I can’t prove that there are literally a limitless number of episodes of these various shows, but since being forced to watch them for hours on end the last month, I have yet to see one goddamn rerun. And I’ve had to watch daylong marathons of this shit. Day long marathons. Ten hours or more. Is this shit out of hand?

And why are all of these shows essentially the same, beyond the whole “It’s a TV show so it’s fixed, like pro wrestling” thing? Why aren’t any of the home improvement contractors incompetent? Why is everyone always happy with the results of the renovations? Why doesn’t anyone ever threaten to sue anyone over mistakes/failure to pay/the contractor skipping out? Everything seems to always work out on these shows. Every show ends with people happy about the results and the process.

And what the hell is the deal with countertops and high ceilings? You’ve got millions of dollars to spend on a house in Colorado that you admit you’ll probably only be in for like two to three months out of the year, if at all. If you like the size of the kitchen in general, why not drop a few thousand to get the tabletop that you want? And no one ever seems to explain why they like high ceilings. They just know they want them, goddamit!

Am I wrong about this? Do I just not get the home improvement/house hunting TV genre?

And now onto this week’s Douchebag of the Week.


This week, the 411 Douchebag of the Week goes to actor and celebrity James Franco, for allowing his lawyers to prevent a satirical play inspired by him from being performed. The play, called James Franco and Me, written by Kevin Broccoli, was set to be performed at the Peoples Improv Theater in New York City, but the theater canceled the play when it received a cease and desist letter from Franco’s lawyers. James Franco and Me has been shown publicly before, in Rhode Island last November where it played thirty times. Franco’s lawyers didn’t try to stop any of those performances.

Now, you’d think that an actor/performer/artist like James Franco would be okay with a play that features him/satirizes him/pays homage to him since he’s allegedly all about artistic expression and whatnot. Franco has been on a free expression binge the last few years, appearing in movies, TV shows, writing books, and obtaining various degrees (I believe he also taught several college classes). The man is a machine. And according to Broccoli, one of the things that his play talks about is Franco’s artistic output (“I’ve always been kind of fascinated with him because of how much product he puts out”). And, as a result, the play is really “about mortality and making the most of what you have.” That sounds like Franco in a nutshell, doesn’t it?

So why the hell would Franco allow his lawyers to stop this play from being performed? Why isn’t Franco doing the goddamn thing? I mean, when the show was performed in Rhode Island, Broccoli had a different actor portray Franco each time. How cool would it be to have the actual Franco do it, either advertised or as a big surprise? Doesn’t that sound like something James Franco would do?

Of course it does. If the real Franco is willing to do a Jason Statham movie (Homefront), General Hospital, The Mindy Project, a Stephen King mini-series, and uncredited work in the latest Alien movie, not to mention animated voice work (Sausage Party) and whatever the hell Making a Scene with James Franco happens to be, he would and should appear in a small play that is about him but isn’t about him.

And didn’t Franco appear in The Interview, the satire about American journalists being charged with attempting to assassinate the leader of North Korea? Didn’t he, along with everyone else in that movie, go through all sorts of shit fighting for free expression in light of the hacking attack/ scandal that erupted at Sony as a result of The Interview?

Yes, yes he did.

So what the hell is really going on here? Is it possible that Franco doesn’t know about this (the man remains busy, according to his imdb page)? Is it possible that this is just a case of a celebrity’s legal team acting out of some sort of extreme caution because Franco’s name is in the play and Franco, the real Franco, isn’t actually appearing in the play? I hope that’s what it is. That would make sense. Franco knowing about the whole thing and allowing his lawyers to prevent Kevin Broccoli’s satirical play anyway? That’s not cool, man, not cool at all.

Come on, James Franco. Tell your lawyers to calm down and allow James Franco and Me to be performed.

Now, apparently the play will be performed under the title ____ and Me, but what the hell does that mean? That’s a bullshit title. So, again, come on, James Franco, let the play go on, with its original name, and let art live and breathe.

And, yeah, show up and do the play. Show us you’re really in it for the art and not just “the brand.”


And now for this week’s honorable mentions…
-Actor and celebrity Shia LaBeouf, for those racist surveillance videos. Good God, man, LaBeouf needs help. Serious, serious help. He’s spiraling out of control. He keeps getting into trouble. What does he need to do to stay out of the scandal sheets and the gossip columns and the news in general? Should he just do another Transformers movie?

-Musical personality and Douchebag Hall of Famer Kid Rock, for his Kid Rock for Senate thing. At the moment, we don’t quite know what, exactly, this “Kid Rock for Senate” thing actually is. It’s either a publicity stunt for some bullshit he’s involved in, or he’s seriously considering running for public office. Regardless of what it actually is, it’s terrifying. The world doesn’t need another horrendous album from this guy (I’ve never understood his appeal) or the prospect of a freak show political campaign that he would definitely win because no one learns anything. Jesus Christ.

-Writer and director Frank Darabont, for those recently released AMC e-mails. Yes, AMC may have been terrible to work for and may have been involved in somehow sabotaging The Walking Dead, but those Darabont e-mails make Darabont come off like an unhinged prick. Who the hell would want to work for or with a guy like that? One e-mail I can understand, or two or three over the course of a long period. Stuff happens, tempers flare, etc. But this behavior sure seems like Darabont from beginning to end. Again, who would want to work for or with that?

Global Force Wrestling, for not removing the world title from Alberto El Patron in the midst of whatever the hell is going on between Patron and Paige. The early reports didn’t sound good, the ensuing accusations were even worse, and the audio of the incident that set this the whole thing into motion is exactly what the new Global Force Wrestling doesn’t need. Patron and Paige obviously need to work out whatever is going on between them, and hopefully it all ends well for both. But should the old TNA/Impact Wrestling just ignore this because it doesn’t want to strip its big star of its new world title? That doesn’t sound like a good idea at all. And, come on, if he’s “suspended indefinitely,” how can he still be champion?


Thanks for reading. Agree? Disagree? Sign up with disqus and comment. You know you want to, so just go do it.

Please “like” The Gratuitous B-Movie Column on Facebook!

Oh, and B-movies rule. Always remember that.