James Franco Loves ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ and Ryan Gosling, Obviously

Not only did Derek Cianfrance’s epic drama The Place Beyond the Pines premiere last week but the trailer for Nicolas Winding Refn’s Ryan Gosling-led thriller Only God Forgives was unveiled this week, and naturally, Gos love is in full effect. And who else to better express this sentiment than endless hyphenate James Franco. 

Yesterday, the Huffington Post published a Pines review from the man of many talents, which praises all the actors in the film, but focuses on the first portion of the triptych film—the Gos-centered section—which Franco claims, "he wants to make love to." Calling the picture, " a damn long film for what it is: an earnest character study done in a realistic style with a Shakespearian frame of sins of the fathers being handed down to the sons," he describes it as "part Cassavetes, part Dardenne brothers by way of The Wrestler"—which I can totally get down with. But in articulating his love for the beginning of the film, he also had some choice things to tell you about it. Here are some highlights:

…pay close attention to all of Gosling’s clothes in whatever he does, he is a master at evoking character through dress: The Drive Scorpion jacket; the Blue Valentine two-tone leather, I mean, come on giiiiiiirl; and here a red jacket, more nondescript than usual Gosling but still cool — and then the cigarette comes out, but we only know this from the smoke that rolls back over his shoulders; as he winds though the dinging rides and flashing booths he is crowned by the chintzy glamour of the multicolored lights, and this is just so right, because this is what the character is: the smoking, brooding carnival king who will ride his motorcycle like no other into the burning twilight of legend; but the shot doesn’t stop, he enters a buzzing tent just as he is announced by the ponytailed MC; he mounts his bike next to two other riders; the camera moves back and forth across his badass face, the first time we see it; he has a cross tattooed below his left eye and some erratic squiggly writing below his neck — still no cut — and then the three riders enter a porous metal sphere, and they’re off; is it Gosling in there riding loops with the other two? 

….This role is a mix between McQueen in The Getaway and some ’80s metal head kids I used to know at summer camp. Yes, please, more of this. Look at how he smokes; look at the other t-shirts he wears inside out; look at the holes! Look at how he dances with the little dog; look at the homoerotic relationship with his partner in crime. 

Wouldn’t be a Franco anything without a mention of homoeroticism, now would it?

The rest of the film is great, but the following two sections can’t hope to burn with the same intensity of the Gosling section, they’re not designed that way. It’s not the actors’ faults, it’s just that Gosling was cast as the shooting star, and he sucked up all the oxygen. I could watch that first section over and over and over and over. Because it portrays a character who is beautiful because he has a ticking clock around his neck, he’s every James Dean-style kid, every burning hot rock star, Lenny Bruce mother, who speaks with his motorcycle and his style: the intelligence of style and behavior. A behavioral and sartorial genius.

I also loved how he described Emory Cohen’s wonderful performance as, "some young goomba whose connection with his character is so tight it’s magical, like a Jersey Shore thug contextualized by serious circumstances so that his personality isn’t played for cheap MTV laughs but instead for the terror such brutish and reckless superficial personalities can inspire."

Check out the review in its entirety HERE.

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