8 cringe-worthy examples of James Franco's writing

"I also think that it's valid to ask what popular television shows say about us as a society." — James Franco, actor/writer/thinker

James Franco
(Image credit: John M. Heller/Getty Images)

James Franco is many things. Oscar-nominated actor. Ivy League scholar. Humanitarian. Awards show host. High Times' "Stoner of the Year." One-time NYU film teacher. Noted rapper impersonator. The list goes on.

Indeed, if you've been following the former Freaks and Geeks star's career closely, you'd also know that he's something of a wordsmith, having earned an MFA in writing from Columbia University and a prestigious National Entertainment Journalism Award nomination thanks to his popular blog at the Huffington Post. It was revealed Monday that Yahoo News asked Franco to pen a poem dedicated to President Obama's second inauguration. In the video below, the poet showcases his five-minute #humblebrag art, titled "Obama in Asheville," by reading sentences into a webcam. Here's an excerpt:

Then we waited in a private room with the likes of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and Claire Danes. When Obama entered, the crowd converged. Finally, I got to shake his hand. He knew me from Spider-Man. I asked him for advice. I was scheduled to give the commencement speech at UCLA. And there were some undergraduate knockers against me; he had been denied the usual honorary degree by Arizona, because he hadn't accomplished enough. So I wondered how he dealt with detractors. He smiled his smile, and said: "Humor."

Assuming that you're ravenous for more, here are more actual sentences penned by James Franco:

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James Franco on politics and Todd Akin:

The election stuff is pretty cool. It feels like we can all exhale for a minute. I know a few people who got raped, and they were waiting to find out if it was God's will or not. Good to know it wasn't. (Via the Huffington Post)

James Franco channeling his inner Jack Kerouac:

I love driving down an empty dark freeway, lit up intermittently by the lights at the side of the road, and when I see the lights, I think of all the little worlds out there, all the little animals living in their habitats out there, and how we could pull over and have an adventure at any one of these forgotten pockets of the world, just nothing zones, backwash refuse property in the wake of the great freeways... (Via Esquire)

James Franco on Girls:

A young woman who does it all on a show that is on everyone's lips — that sounds pretty great to me. Still, I'm aware that not everyone thinks it's great, that many people — especially non-white women — have said they feel unrepresented by the show, whose lead characters are all white. This is a pretty hot topic, and one I like to ask my female friends in New York about. On the graduate-school circuit, the answer I usually get is that it's a controversy over nothing: people just need something to write about on the Internet. I agree that Internet discussions about nothing are all too prevalent these days, but I also think that it's valid to ask what popular television shows say about us as a society. (Via Huffington Post)

James Franco on death:

My father died in my Jesus year,He was sixty three and I was thirtyThree. He'd managed a few thingsAnd so have I. I drive a bus.

(From a poem titled "My name is Paterson" published in James Franco's debut poetry collection. Order it on Amazon now.)

James Franco on reading:

I also found this strange book by Joe Wenderoth in my stack to read and opened it not knowing what to expect. I think this is exactly the way to read this book: Come at it with an open mind, because it defies categorizations of fiction and verse, high and low levels of reference, and often sanity. (Via the Huffington Post)

James Franco on Twilight and teen pregnancy:

After dinner A_____ and I walked down the block to see Breaking Dawn 2 in Italian. Before I fell asleep I saw Bella running at supersonic speeds, I saw Taylor Lautner take his shirt off, and I saw his character "imprint" on a baby. They were speaking in Italian, but I knew that "imprint" stuff was coming, so I was ready for it. It reminded me of the old radical Mormons in Krakauer's book, Under the Banner of Heaven, who select young women for their brides before the girls are even through puberty. But hey, it's just werewolves and vampires, right?

At least the last movie started to own up to how sexual the whole series is. She's a teen mom! She could be on a reality show. Except, unlike the real teen moms, she gets the deux ex machina of immortality, so everything is fine. But I guess those teen moms who get to be on TV are given something similar — they get attention and praise and money for being as screwed up as possible. As long as it's interesting, they get the cushion of fame. (Via the Huffington Post)

James Franco on death (again):

In fifty yearsMy sleep will be death,I'll go like the rest,But I'll have playedAll the games and all the roles.

(From a poem titled "Nocturnal" published in James Franco's debut poetry collection. Order it on Amazon now.)

Special thanks to TheWeek.com intern Monica Nickelsburg for her help.

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