I give James Franco a lot of credit. He works very hard for a big-shot Hollywood actor. He is ambitious in ways that no one from his generation even comes close to being. He’s fearless in his choices and will do practically anything that sparks his creative muse. He is constantly working on film projects, making sure that he includes big-budget blockbusters, but his real passion is a string of micro-budget experiments. He just starred on Broadway in Of Mice And Men. He has won Golden Globes, and he has been nominated for Oscars. He also pursued simultaneous degrees at numerous institutions. While pursuing his acting career he graduated from UCLA with a GPA of 3.5/4.0. He moved to New York City and pursued course work at Columbia University, completing his MFA in writing. He also attended New York University Tisch School of the Arts in filmmaking, Brooklyn College for fiction writing, an MFA for poetry at North Carolina’s Warren Williams College, Rhode Island School of design for art, and PhD studies in English at Yale. Many people consider this an insane amount of hubris. I have to believe he is serious, but I don’t see how he does it. He does lots more than that besides. He has directed movies like Child of God, and plans are in the works for much more. I’m just trying to set the scene for the movie The Color of Time.
The Color of Time, also known as Tar, is an experimental film portrait of the Pulitzer and National Book Award winning poet, C.K. Williams. It grew out of a course on turning poetry into film that Franco was teaching at NYU, so the film was actually directed by 11 graduate film students. Their work is presented as a unified whole instead of separate segments, and they all seem to have been influenced by Terrence Malick. I guess the film’s cohesiveness can be attributed to the two editors, but it does have the feel of a Malick film. The footage has that dreamy, somewhat fuzzy flow through time and space. The years flow back and forth on each other, and the poet is played by four actors at different ages including Franco, and C.K. Williams is also seen from time to time reading his poetry. It also stars Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain, Zach Braff, and Bruce Campbell.
The poet C.K. Williams has actually won many, many more awards, literally too many to mention. He maintains a rigorous publishing schedule and is highly regarded by everyone who holds poetry in esteem. James Franco is obviously one of those people. He handles his role seriously, but I have noticed that Franco has no problem adapting to a project no matter whether it is low comedy or high art. I am trying to portray Franco as someone who passionately cares about art in its every form. He has had many hits, but he has had even more misses. Most people will probably consider this a miss, since it is a rambling experiment. Again, I give credit to Franco for constantly experimenting. There just aren’t any other people to compare him to, so most look on him as a joke at times. I only look on him as a joke when he wants to be a joke, which is actually quite often, like the recent The Interview or This Is The End or Pineapple Express. I see him as someone who is more concerned with developing and growing than about what people think of him. I think he sees the process of art as a constant attempt to learn and grow. I think eventually he will become very accomplished. I think he is actually well on his way.
The Color of Time is not much of a movie if you are looking for a strong plot, but it was definitely a worthwhile effort. It definitely has a worthwhile subject in portraying Williams and his poetry. I give the movie and an A for effort, but a C in execution and follow-through. I think Franco has other literary adaptations coming soon. I am anxious to see them.