The Franco Files — #2

ffWelcome to March, and the second edition of The Franco Files! Last month I decided to expand this site with another feature, something that would closely examine the impacts one actor can or does have on the films that they are in. TFF is, simply put, a great excuse for me to wax poetic about the work of some of my favorite actors and what their work contributes to the films they are in. (I still can’t decide if I am going to limit this running feature to just one guy or not. . .we’ll have to see if I can come up with another creative name if I want to go with someone else. . . . .)

Last month we kicked things off with a bang with perhaps his best performance ever, in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, an incredible true story of survival. But just because it was a particularly effective performance doesn’t mean he hasn’t had other equally enjoyable, even if less empathetic/significant, roles over the years. This month we have one that is likely Franco’s second or third-most frequently Googled character name. It’s no doubt a classic and I can’t wait to get into some lively discussions about this one!


Francophile #2:  Saul Silver, Pineapple Express

Role Type: Lead/Supporting

Genre: Comedy

Character Profile: Mr. Franco shags out his hair for his role as Saul Silver, everyone’s favorite laid-back pot-dealer. He claims to be selling drugs to raise money for the care of his ailing grandmother, though we as an audience are left to make up our own mind about him as a series of ridiculous events unfold, mostly stemming, apparently, from his and his friend Dale (Seth Rogen)’s dealings with weed. Saul is neither a menacing nor a bad guy; he is perhaps just misled. Franco plays this wayward character with a charm that can’t be dismissed. He can’t be pitied greatly, either, however. It’s a role that can be easily pigeonholed into the cliché and/or stereotypical, and there is quite a bit of cliché writing, but thanks to Franco’s balanced and charismatic performance results in a character with more depth than some are perhaps going to expect.

If you lose Franco, the film loses: A lot of its wit, and the core friendship. I mean, Seth Rogen can only do so much on his own (yes I do support the guy — if you’re going to throw fruit, please throw it at your own computer screen 😉 ), but it is with Franco he manages to come off as a natural friend/acquaintance. I’m really not sure who, if anyone at all, could replace Franco in this stoner role. It seems like an easy task but it’s another example why recycled casts often do work. They generate (mostly) good chemistry. Franco and Rogen exemplify that in this smash-hit 2008 stoner comedy.

Out of Character: “I wore Guatemalan pants in the movie, and I was told that that’s what Woody [Harrelson] wears.”

Rate the Performance (relative to his other work): 


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21 thoughts on “The Franco Files — #2

  1. Pingback: The Night Before | digitalshortbread

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  3. Haha yaaayyy the Franco Files are back! I do have a soft spot for him in this film. He’s just so lovably stupid, and his bromance with Seth Rogan is simply magical. PLEASE tell me the Franco Files will include James Franco playing James Franco in This Is the End.


    • Hahaha!!! Excellent news to hear you say that, to say the least! I love the guy. He has great range and his chemistry (possible romance) with Seth Rogan is very fun to watch.

      I will most certainly have to include his role in This is the End — so very meta, so very awesome! I can’t decide when yet, there’s a couple more other awesome roles I am thinking of in the next one or two. We shall have to see. . .


  4. I really love this feature… Do it for another one when this is done! Or do two a month or something, just don’t stop, mesa loves it!

    Another great piece!


    • 😀 😀 Thanks so much! I’m having some fun with it. I’m trying to come up with a way to do one for Leo. . .It’d be cool to have some others throw some stuff in for them too, i was thinking. I think I know at least one person. . .who might be interested. . . 😛


      • alright!! awesome! yeah I think i would like to expand this feature; it’s too much fun to let it die with James Franco. I’ll def keep you posted Zoe!!


  5. Sheesh, is there anything that guy can’t do? This is a classic stoner role in the same guise as Brad Pitt from Kalifornia or Gary Oldman’s from True Romance and in a film that’s a lot better than it has any right to be.


    • That’s certainly true man, well put. I dig his vibe here completely. Franco is pretty versatile, or so I’ve thought anyway. Nice to see you appreciate that about him too.


  6. Hated what I was able to make it through. Then again I’ve never found Rogan funny. For me he is a one-trick pony. Franco was convincing but I found the film to be lame.


    • It’s low-brow for sure. While I really dug it, i totally see where it falls short of others’ standards, that’s for sure. 🙂 I really thought James Franco was the reason to see this movie; he is a pretty flexible persona in my opinion. And I even like Seth Rogan but he is very one-trick pony, that he is indeed. Thanks for reading another edition of TFF!!


  7. Rogan and Franco as best friends in real life… a fantastic combination. The chemistry they have in comedy films is almost unmatched and that is one of the reasons Pineapple Express was better than it had any right of being. Smoke on Saul Silver!!


    • hahah I’ll second that. Pineapple Express is definitely a guilty pleasure of mine, along the lines of the likes of Half Baked and Role Models and shit like that. Saul is such a good character, made most memorable cuz of Franco’s charm and whatever else he does to make him so appealing as even a wayward kind of guy! I love this one.


    • It has its fans and its detractors, so it’d be interesting to see what side of the fence you might fall onto if you do catch it at some point! I personally dig it quite a lot. Franco’s really pretty awesome here. 😀


  8. Not only would the film lose its core friendship without Franco, it would also lose its most interesting character. And best performance.

    Could another actor have played Saul? I don’t know. But I do know I think this Franco’s best work.


    • I personally think he’s had better (127 Hours is pretty tough to beat) but that’s great you think he’s in top form. He’s really the best part about this movie, in my opinion and while I really dig this movie I see why people have problems with it. Esp. non-Rogan fans! 🙂

      I think Franco made his character, if they had a different person cast for the same role the whole thing would not have worked I don’t think


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