9 p.m., March 22
Is Zac Efron gunning for James Franco's title as Hollywood's enfant terrible?
WARNING: SORT-OF EXPLICIT MATERIAL AHEAD
The solemnity of the holiday aside, my colleague Mr. Marks has set the tone for today's material on The Big Screen, and I am obliged to follow suit.
Let us begin, then, with the obvious: James Franco is enjoying (has been enjoying, may continue to be enjoying) something of a moment in Hollywood. I can think of no other actor currently working who is being allowed so fluid a movement between mass-market blockbuster entertainment (Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Oz the Great and Powerful), middlebrow arthouse (Milk, Howl, The Broken Tower), lowbrow straight dude comedy (Pineapple Express, Your Highness) and gen-u-wine High Art (a stint on General Hospital, Spring Breakers, Dicknose in Paris). That's right, the host of the Oscars was also the star of Dicknose in Paris, the story (as far as I can tell from that clip) of a man wearing a prosthetic package on his face who wants to make a movie and impress Wes Anderson. And now? Now he's got not one, but two sexy sexy films at Sundance: Kink, a doc on a bondage-porn production outfit in San Francisco, and Interior. Leather Bar, which I suppose is pretty self-explanatory. Impressive. Most impressive.
Poor Zac Efron. How can he hope to compete? Everything he does is a pale echo of Franco. Mass-market blockbuster? Well, he was the voice of the kid in The Lorax. Middlebrow arthouse? Me and Orson Welles was okay, but mostly just because of Christian McCay as Welles. Lowbrow straight dude comedy? He did voice Anakin Skywalker on Robot Chicken, so that's something. Gen-u-wine High Art? Does getting peed on by Nicole Kidman in The Paperboy count? I think it should count for something.
But how to match the audacity of Dicknose in Paris? Dropping a condom at The Lorax premiere was good start. I am the Durex, I speak for the sperm/ That come spurting and squirting from out of your worm/ The sperm that wreak havoc if they get let loose/ By saddling your squaw with a crying papoose! Etc. etc.
Still, it just wasn't enough. So Efron upped the ante. Did Franco sport a fake member? Then Efron would pose in front of a whole bunch of 'em.
Alas, it appears that, at the last moment, his nerve failed him. Art is not for the timid, Mr. Efron.
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