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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

did James Franco’s poor Oscar performance tarnish ‘Your Highness’?

Brent Lang at TheWrap asks this ludicrous question. In a word, No. In another word, Bwahahahahahaha. Your Highness is just plain awful. It looked awful in the trailers and TV ads. Even many people who champion stupid movies thought it looked awful. Your Highness was always going to tank because it is a piece of cinematic shit, even when grading on the “cinematic shit usually makes a ton of money” curve.
But Lang isn’t so sure:

In the wake of the raunchy stoner comedy’s tepid $9.4 million opening last weekend, it wasn’t clear if withering reviews or James Franco’s Hindenburg of a hosting performance were to blame.

“I think we’d be looking at ‘Your Highness’ totally differently if he didn’t do the Oscars,” Phil Contrino, editor of BoxOffice.com, told TheWrap. “Usually there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but this is the rare case where there is.”

No, we would not be looking at Your Highness totally differently if Franco didn’t do the Oscars. There is no crossover between the “people who watch the Oscars” demographic and the “woman-fearing, pot-smoking, perpetual-adolescent” demo. There just isn’t. And if a woman-fearing, pot-smoking perpetual adolescent did happen to catch Franco’s Oscar performance, in which he appeared to be stoned much of the time, they probably would have loved it.

Lang can’t let it go:

Franco’s hosting whiff certainly didn’t help drum up enthusiasm for “Your Highness.”

I repeat: Franco’s hosting the Oscars was never going to drum up enthusiam for Your Highness. What a bizarre concept.

This is trending a little closer to reality:

But some studio insiders insist that Franco may have been too idiosyncratic for mainstream stardom even if he had hit his stride as an Oscar host. After all, critical raves couldn’t make “127 Hours” a hit, and the box office success of “Pineapple Express” is equally attributable to co-star Seth Rogen and producer Judd Apatow as it is to Franco’s scene-stealing role as a lovable pothead.

“In Hollywood we tend to anoint people stars, and sometimes we can’t force the public to like them no matter how hard we try,” a prominent film producer told TheWrap. “He’s a good actor, but I can’t figure out whoever thought he was a star.”

All good points. But that just means that Franco was never going to carry Your Highness, either.

And then:

In the case of “Your Highness,” many studio and marketing executives say the blame lies less with Franco than with the film itself.

Talk about burying the lede! (This appears towards the end of a two-page article, for which most readers won’t even have clicked over to the second page.)

And then, finally:

His Oscar performance “doesn’t play outside L.A. and New York — and not even in New York for very long. A momentary, ‘Oooh, the Oscars weren’t great,’ but the rest of the world forgot about it.” a rival studio marketing executive told TheWrap. “Frat boys in, I don’t know, Cleveland, all they know is that he was the host. They don’t care that he was the worst host in 25 years.”

I’m not even sure if frat boys in Cleveland knew Franco hosted the Oscars.

How did this even get to be a “story”? Does someone at TheWrap have it in for Franco?



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