Post Academic

Your latest James Franco update

Posted in Absurdities by Arnold Pan on September 26, 2010
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By now, you probably know that James Franco has started his Ph.D. program at Yale,  but that’s not all: Did you know that he’s apparently also taking classes at the Rhode Island School of Design?  Haters who’ve gone through some grad school might be inclined to be a bit skeptical about how serious our favorite celeb grad student is about getting his Ph.D. at a really top-flight program if he’s dabbling in another program of study.  Art + Auction’s “In the Air” blog is a bit dubious about Franco’s plans, thinking that “this is physically impossible (the schools are in different states)”; even if CT and RI are small states, that’s still 100 miles each way.  (Wait, maybe he’s learning to fly too — see photo below — to cut down on the commute time.)  That’s not to mention, you know, the actual coursework, though maybe he’s just auditing at RISD or something.

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a grad student..."James Franco Blue Angels", courtesy of the US Navy (Public Domain)

Still, despite its naysaying, In the Air does point out that Franco might just be taking his interest in art seriously, pointing out that he has been involved with some heavy hitters in the art world recently.  In particular, it notes that current LA MOCA Director and noted gallerist Jeffrey Deitch is on record telling the LA Times that, “I wish Andy were here to meet James Franco. Andy would have been so enthusiastic” — Andy being Andy Warhol.  And in a review of an installation art piece by Franco, the New York Times notes that Franco has had a life-long passion for the visual arts, even though it is less sanguine about his prospects as an artist, giving his exhibit a meh at best for its gratuitous violence and sex.  These lines pretty much sum up Roberta Smith’s mixed review:

Some people would probably feel better to read that Mr. Franco’s Clocktower effort can be dismissed as bad beyond redemption, an outsider’s naïve dalliance in things he doesn’t really understand. I initially inclined toward that conclusion, although in the end it turned out to be more interesting and complicated than that.

Despite the second sentence, you just get the sense that Smith really wants to be “some people” hating on Franco’s art, don’t you?

But I digress, because the big news for those of us interested in Franco’s foray into grad school is the big news making the rounds of the gossip columns is that Franco has admitted to earning a “D” in, get this, acting, while earning his master’s at NYU.  As he tells Showbiz 411:

“I did the work, I did well in everything else,” he said. “But the acting teacher probably felt uncomfortable with a working well known actor in his class. It was not the norm.” Also, as Franco pointed out, he missed a lot of classes because he was shooting “127 Hours.”

Excuses, excuses — though he might have a point, because a grad school “D” sounds like a pretty vindictive grade.  But is this what he’s gonna pull come December when his first round of papers are due and he needs to take incompletes to finish a film or something?   It’s time for Franco to buckle down on that Walt Whitman class he’s apparently taking, which, he tells Showbiz 411, has a “massive amount of reading.”  It must be this one taught by Michael Warner, so Franco better make sure not make the chair who accepted him into the Ph.D. program look bad.  In any case, his advisor at Yale might want to sit the school’s prized first-year student down and get him focused, provided s/he can figure out where Franco is, between New Haven, Providence, NYC, and Hollywood.

One Response to 'Your latest James Franco update'

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  1. Aw, c’mon, surely he can read his Walt Whitman scholarship while jetting back and forth between cities. Although I’d totally fail his butt too if he skipped that much class.

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