6 Reasons To Feel Ambivalent About James Franco

This past month has provided a perfect sample of the man, the myth, the enigma, the bizarre riddle that is James Franco. We’ve been given Oz the Great and Powerful, which for many demonstrated the limits of Franco’s charm. The character of Oscar, aka Oz, is meant to be some sort of redeemable sleazebag, but Franco makes him pretty much all sleazebag, and this makes the witches’ shared infatuation with him more than slightly implausible. I can handle a fantasy land with munchkins and magic but the notion that Franco as Oz is remotely likeable was too much.

Then there’s Spring Breakers. While being very slowly rolled out in theaters following its opening at South by Southwest, this movie has been receiving enormous buzz, with some of the highest praise being awarded to Franco’s performance. Having not seen the movie yet myself, I can’t speak to it specifically. But the possibility that Franco is electric as a weirdo creep in this thing does not seem at all farfetched, given some really solid work he’s turned in previously in his career.

That’s not even mentioned all his extra-curricular activity, as an artist, a graduate student and lecturer, a soap opera performer, an essayist—he’s earned the right to be called a Renaissance Man and yet many use this term pejoratively towards Franco. Does he deserve it? I can’t decide for myself. Here are 6 reasons why I don’t know whether this dude is badass, or just an ass.

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