The Franco Files – #8


Welcome to September, and the eighth edition of The Franco Files! Still going strong here, folks. . .even despite my apparent inability to really get going on diving deeper into his filmography beyond the recent things that I have seen him in. Some fan, eh? I know, I know.

Here’s me reaching. Today’s entry is not Franco’s most substantial contribution to film, at least in terms of total screen time. But what he does here is still worthy of mention. Dramatic chops? Check. Actual chops? Yeah, he’s involved in some sort of scuffle here. Mutton chops? Well, you can debate his hairstyle all you want. I’m kind of getting away from my point. . . . Where I was going with this bit was, it’s interesting having seen Franco in all of these significant roles, taking the lead even in some instances, and then switching to watching him dutifully fulfill what’s required of a pretty minor supporting character. I’m sure many out there would prefer him to take on these sorts of roles more often. Me? Eh, I’m not one of ’em. I am, however, willing to take whatever I can get.


Francophile #8: Marty Freeman, The Iceman

Role Type: Supporting

Genre: Drama/Crime

Character Profile: Originally written for the part of a Softee ice cream truck creepazoid named Mr. Pronge (shudder), which was subsequently changed to a Mr. Freezy truck driver — same name — played by an incredibly effective Chris Evans . . . Franco’s role ultimately becomes that of an even less major supporting role as a meddling middle-man whose relationship with infamously brutal mob boss Roy DeMeo isn’t particularly clear but a connection exists nonetheless. Franco turns up the smarmy factor to effect a seedy character without having to do too much. (Although I wish he had a little more than this.)

If you lose Franco, the film loses (MAJOR SPOILERS): one of Richard Kuklinski’s most offensive moral backtrackings. The murder of relatively innocent Marty Freeman paints the contract killer in the most cold-blooded light possible, as Kuklinski first intimidates the hell out of and then demands a cowering Marty to pray to God before he pulls the trigger. Granted the scene is written fantastically but it still comes down to Franco’s ability to convince us of the terror associated with being on the wrong end of a gun, particularly in a moment as desperate as this.

Out of Character: [Michael Shannon, who plays the lead Richard Kuklinski, on meeting Franco for the first time:] “You know, James is very into poetry. I like James. I met him in Boston at a train station. I was just standing there one day waiting for a train back to New York and this guy walked up with a baseball cap and sunglasses and a big bushy beard and a trench coat. I kind of thought he might be—he wasn’t dirty—but he looked kind of like he might be homeless.”

Rate the Performance (relative to his other work):


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18 thoughts on “The Franco Files – #8

  1. Pingback: The Franco Files #11 | digitalshortbread

  2. Nice write-up, Tom! I’d heard Franco was good in this one! Was it…Zoe that wrote about it…? I think, but I’m not sure. Is this the one that Chris Evans looks really, really terrible in? Because I don’t know if I could handle that. Bahaha.


    • I’m not sure where the last review I personally read on The Iceman was, but it very well could have been on her site.

      At any rate, I think The Iceman is definitely worth seeing for a very VERY different Chris Evans 😀 Yes, this is probably that one. Creepo and a half. Originally the role Franco was supposed to play but this worked out way better. It’s crazy. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • We’ll see. I might give it a go one day. I just don’t know if I could stand for Chris Evans’ pretty to be marred. Lol.

        P.S. Look at you with your super professional black and white pic! You’re getting too classy for us, Little. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hahah Chris Evans is not all his Captain America persona here, which in way is what makes it better. He does have range. Even though I think Chris Evans is stiff as cardboard as an actor lol.

          Hahah thanks, classy is what I was going for. You stay classy, San Diego.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Oh man really?! I kind of love Chris Evans! Not an Oscar winner, perhaps, but I think he’s a pretty solid Cap. I can’t complain about him. But I’d also appreciate that pretty face a little more than you, I guess. 😉

            Lol. You tell ’em, Tom Burgundy.


    • I loved that quote haha. Paints such an image, and yeah that would be a pretty funny idea for a film, no? 🙂 I would definitely encourage adding this one to your list man. Shannon is incredible and Franco’s part is compelling. The story overall is nothing extraordinary but it’s more than good enough to get by on. I really quite liked this substantially brutal film

      Liked by 1 person

    • There ya go man, always glad to be a source of news for my peeps! 🙂

      He’s worth looking into this for man, won’t lie. Although it really is Shannon’s show. And he’s DEFIENITELY worth checking Ice Man out for, if nothing else.


    • Evans was positively creepy in this! And yeah I really think everyone got the right roles. Still wish James coulda been in it a bit more but the scene(s) he is in, particularly the one above are pretty damn solid.


  3. I skipped the spoiler section, because I’m a pretty big fan of Franco’s film work out there. I haven’t cared much for him in his real life recently, but I do love and respect a lot of his acting, and I hope he gets back to some better roles soon. He’s so talented, in my opinion, and I have enjoyed a lot of his older roles in the early 2000s. Fun idea for a post, Tom!


    • James seems like a pretty down-to-earth guy that I’d really like to meet one day. I know this humble old page ain’t likely to get me close but you never know, right?! 🙂

      Thanks Kristin, I’m glad I provided the Spoiler Alert there, cuz yeah there’s some info in there u would rather find out through watching. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on it if you get to seeing it.


    • Yeah, I gave it decent marks from what I remember but I too recall feeling like it could and should have been so much better. It boiled down to kind of a TV crime drama re-enactment. But Michael Shannon helped make it a good deal better. And, of course, my boy Franco. 🙂


      • Shannon was a big draw for me, and Chris Evans as Mr Freezy. I have never been the biggest Franco fan, though he does have roles from time to time that really stand out. I have seen his brother in quite a few things recently.

        A TV re-enactment… with great camera work, but that is a pretty damn fine assessment of what it was.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Right on. To be honest, yeah this is definitely more Shannon’s show and Captain America as a psychopathic freak-a-zoid here is a very very good reason to watch too. But yeah, like you mentioned earlier this movie just kind of dampened their efforts with a sub-par plot line. 😀

          Liked by 1 person

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