Is “James Franco” a real human being? Or is his existence some sort of confusing performance art routine (like how Joaquin Phoenix grew a Unabomber beard and pretended to be a hip-hop artist, or every time an actor gets too involved in Method Acting)? We might never know. What’s apparent, though, is that Franco enjoys making people feel weird.
To wit, his latest non-acting art thing: a poem about Obama. It’s not a terrible poem (yes, it’s terrible; it could be more terrible). But it does reek of Beat-envy and lots of weed. We knew those guys in college–they carried around dog-eared copies of On the Road and wore scarves–and while amusing at times, they mostly came off as pretentious or mentally ill. Franco played Allen Ginsberg in Howl. He also played Harry Osborn in Spider-Man (that kid totally memorized Ginsberg poems to get dates), and he references this in his Obama poem because, well, he can.
Watch Franco read “Obama in Asheville” from inside his little padded cell (just kidding. But seriously, is he being held hostage somewhere?). The full text is available here.