Star Wars and James Franco: Two Recent Blockbusters

Aidan Levyne, Staff Writer

Rogue One, directed by Gareth Edwards, meets the expectations of Star Wars fans and general moviegoers. This was a much-anticipated release into the Star Wars franchise. As it is a prequel, creators behind Rogue One made sure to synchronize the movie with the original 1977 Star Wars film. They included characters, locations, and props to familiarize Star Wars fans and add more action to the plot of a famous movie franchise. To tell who they included would mean spoiling the story, so go out and see for yourself if you’re interested.

I also found it enlightening that this movie is the first installment of a new series created by Disney. Apparently, Disney is working on a Star Wars Anthology series. I was intrigued as to what is different in Rogue One as opposed to the prequels, but according to Entertainment Weekly, this series is comprised of origin story films. Origin story films introduce the past of a known protagonist or antagonist and document how they became who they are. Rogue One introduces a new crew behind the main story of Star Wars – most notably Captain Cassian Andor and Jyn Erso – and two more films under this category will be released in 2018 and 2020. For any fans of Han Solo, the 2018 anthology film will tell the story of how he became the prominent figure he is. I give Rogue One eight stars out of ten because I enjoyed it, but it didn’t break boundaries set by previous movies.

Another very worthwhile movie and probably my favorite of the two I saw is the comedy film, Why Him? This was my favorite because it stars some of my favorite actors and places them with characters that show their full potential. I’ve known James Franco ever since I first saw the 90s sitcom, Freaks and Geeks, where he played a hippie character similar to the one he plays in Why Him? Although James Franco has many roles similar to being a druggie, I feel it is because he excels at it. His pacing and general mannerisms allow him to become this character even though he is very much different from it in real life, having achieved an MFA from Columbia and a PhD in English at Yale. In Why Him?, James Franco plays the role of Laird Mayhew, a raunchy ‘online zillionaire’ with a heart of gold.

The second actor that attracted my attention was Bryan Cranston, also known as Walter White from the TV series, Breaking Bad. I believe Bryan Cranston has had the most surprising change in his acting career. He began by starring in many sentimental roles, most notably Malcolm in the Middle and Saving Private Ryan. But when garnering the attention of the public with his role in Breaking Bad, he shows off an effective ‘tough guy’ character. In Why Him?, he plays the role of Ned Fleming, a loving father that feels his daughter is better than Laird. I give this movie nine stars because it was hilarious and exceeded my expectations, but it also included a few romantic comedy clichés that kept it from being perfect.