Just finished Child of God

This topic contains 16 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Peter Josyph 2 years, 10 months ago.

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  • 20 Mar 2015 at 10:37 pm #6697

    Peter Josyph
    Member

    Raymond and I are available to perform my theme from the sitcom WHERE’S LESTER? at your next wedding, football tailgate, or anniversary party, and if encouraged we will consider, as an encore, the theme from THE GARDENER’S SON including alternate verses banned from radio broadcast…

    Meanwhile, I am surprised to see so little discussion of James Franco’s adaptation of CHILD OF GOD. It has merit.


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    20 Mar 2015 at 11:37 pm #6700

    Compost777
    Member

    Scott Haze’s performance has merit and while the audacity of Franco to attempt this film is praiseworthy, the film tries too hard to make Lester sympathetic and the botched ending (among other key scenes, omitted or otherwise) is a letdown. IMHO.


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    21 Mar 2015 at 11:56 pm #6707

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    Compost: Scott Haze told me that they had actually filmed most of the key missing scenes, including Lester turning himself in at the psychiatric hospital and commenting “I think I belong here.” Our experience with pig’s breakfast postproductions like the one that plagued All the Pretty Horses leads me to withhold judgment of Franco for, at the very least, ending the film on such a truncated note. He may not, finally, have been the one who gets to say, as it were.


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    23 Mar 2015 at 10:44 am #6715

    Mike
    Member

    I am not trying to stir the pot, but, truly, where did Franco get credibility as a reader of lit or a filmmaker? If he’s done any great film, I haven’t seen it. Has he written anything impressive? Is there anything available on the net?


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    23 Mar 2015 at 11:56 am #6716

    Peter Josyph
    Member

    1. Franco’s AS I LAY DYING is superb. Tim Blake Nelson is outrageously fine in it. I look forward to seeing his THE SOUND AND THE FURY.
    2. Franco’s portrayal of Ginsberg in the film HOWL is spot on. I’ve met Ginsberg, and Franco, especially during the interview sequences in HOWL, is very like.
    3. Franco’s first film, THE BROKEN TOWER, loosely based on Paul Mariani’s biography of Hart Crane, is not everyone’s cup of tea but it’s an interesting and stylistically daring first film that was shot on a very low budget. Mariani is in the film briefly. Of course it was nearly universally not so much reviewed as insulted. I guess the critics prefer all of those other fine films about Hart Crane……
    4. Franco’s first collection of short stories, PALO ALTO, is also not to everybody’s taste but it’s a fierce portrayal of California kids that is every bit as valid as Marilynne Robinson’s portrayal of a Congregationalist minister… although I suspect I’ll be slaughtered for saying that!
    5. Franco’s first collection of poetry, DIRECTING HERBERT WHITE, is honest, skilled, and at times quite compelling.
    6. Franco has written copiously on the net about a wide range of literary topics including Steinbeck, McCarthy, Shakespeare, and the poet Frank Bidart.
    7. Despite a problematic central performance in CHILD OF GOD, I see many virtues in the film, including, once again, Tim Blake Nelson’s standout performance that practically steals the show, as well as the very fine and interesting cinematography of Christina Voros, who shoots most of Franco’s filmwork and under severely restrictive low-budget conditions.
    8. I have no problem with the way that CHILD OF GOD concludes and given the lack of studio involvement in the movie, I doubt Rick’s surmise that additional scenes were cut due to outside forces. Ending the film at that point seems perfectly consistent with Franco’s approach to adaptation, however much it might disappoint some of McCarthy’s readers. In general, I believe that more filmmakers should tackle McCarthy with a much freer hand.
    9. When superstars focus on trash, we Believers in the Book tend to say, in effect, if only he’d/she’d try to make something that’s not sheer garbage, such as work with some of the great literature of our time. Franco’s been doing that for a decade now, and it’s an understatement to say that he is given scant credit for his endeavors. His films have to beg for funding, fight for distribution, and expect the world of criticism to heap scorn on them.
    10. I saw Franco in OF MICE AND MEN on Broadway. Performances were mobbed, and Franco, along with Chris O’Dowd, probably brought as many young folk to Steinbeck during the course of that run as have many a schoolteacher during a lifetime. He is currently shooting IN DUBIOUS BATTLE, an interesting and seldom discussed short novel by Steinbeck that would probably never see the light of cinema if it weren’t for Franco’s enthusiasm for literature.

    Incidentally: I also enjoyed THE INTERVIEW, which I saw in one of the few theatres to show it on Christmas day. The theatre got a call from a worried FBI but the screening was packed and a good time was had by all…


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    23 Mar 2015 at 1:51 pm #6721

    Mike
    Member

    I just googled. I found his piece on directing Shakespeare in a prison, nothing else. Please, post any addresses where I can read something he’s done on literature. As for AILD, I didn’t think much of the coherent, consistent narrative. Taking the time to do a piece on Hart Crane impressed me enough, but I didn’t find it to be anything spectacular. His upcoming project is on one of Steibecks’s most under appreciated, under read books, so I’m looking forward to that one.


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    27 Mar 2015 at 8:22 pm #6759

    Peter Josyph
    Member

    Mike

    Franco Tweets everything he does anywhere, so if you find his Twitter account and scroll downward, sooner or later all the links will appear. He’s written a lot for a site named VICE. He’s put out reading lists, posted some of his PhD work – lots of things available. Here’s the Twitter address: @JamesFrancoTV.


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