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James Franco Slams 'Shame' For Depiction Of Sex Addiction & Gays

It turns out James Franco wasn't too impressed by the depiction of sex addiction in Shame from 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen.

In the midst of a op-ed piece for VICE where he reflects on 12 Years and one of its stars, Michael Fassbender, Franco knocks Shame writing:

He wasn’t such an addict in my opinion, though. I mean, what did he do? Watch porn and screw a handful of people a week? I could point to quite a few folks who do that. And that scene where he’s at his lowest point and wants to fuck and goes into a gay club, and it’s depicted like the seventh level of hell... I mean, it goes back to the horrible representations of gays in the 70s, where the gay club is meant to signify everything dark and depraved. Then the guy gets a minor blowjob, from, Oh no, a man! The horror! 

Franco's criticism--especially with regards to the Fassbender character's encounter in a gay club--isn't without merit. 

For those of you that have seen Shame (and weren't blinded by Fassbender's fassmember), what do you think of Franco's critique?

Comments

 I thought the movie was brilliant and was delving into a topic I have never seen explored well on film. I definitely felt he was an addict, just like a drug addict or alcoholic his life/job/relationships were falling apart in favor of his escape. He couldn't be intimate sexually with someone he cared about, he could only have disconnected anonymous sex. It was so telling when Cary Mulligan's character said, we're not bad people we just come from a bad place. There was clearly trauma, probably sexual that they had encountered as children. I didn't think the gay sex was necessarily the bottom, the threesome was pretty fucking awful, most men's fantasy shown as real and unsexy as I've seen. That whole night, was a bender and I think his need to 'get off' and avoid his life and feelings was shown with brutal clarity. If all James Franco saw was a guy who watched some porn and got laid then maybe he missed the point.

For goodness sake it,s a film don,t take things too literally it happens in the heterosexual world too 

For God's sake, films are a way of describing and educating people about any topic. If movies like "Grease", in 1978 reflected racism, or even 1933's "King Kong" movie, that's something we should reject. Gay people have been aggrieved too many times, showing their world like a filth and unworthy world. That must change.
Very clever observation by James Franco.
 

I had the same feeling when I watched that movie! seriously is the gay sex the rock bottom? especially for a sex addict! is it that bad?! It hurt more when apparently no one was noticing it... I am happy that James Franco is raising the issue. I love that guy! I wish we had more people like him in this world.

I feel what Franco is sharing is absolutely relevant and speaks to societal views of the Gay Archetype. Why does Fassbender's character getting a blowjob from a man have to be depicted as wrong, bad, derogatory, a man  "at his lowest point"? Granted, McQueen has his right to artistic freedom but this seems to suggest, whether consciously or unconsciously,  McQueen projection onto "GAY" and in a larger context contemporary Americas influence and opinion of a man finding

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I feel what Franco is sharing is absolutely relevant and speaks to societal views of the Gay Archetype. Why does Fassbender's character getting a blowjob from a man have to be depicted as wrong, bad, derogatory, a man  "at his lowest point"? Granted, McQueen has his right to artistic freedom but this seems to suggest, whether consciously or unconsciously,  McQueen projection onto "GAY" and in a larger context contemporary Americas influence and opinion of a man finding his bottom, no pun intended :).

As for the "sex addiction" piece mentioned in other comments, ALL "addiction" is a symptom of deeper underlying issues causing a person to act out obsessively/compulsively. A therapist is trained to focus on the process rather than the content when dealing with these issues. I appreciate the humanist article yet it comes down to style, labels, diagnosis, etc  Many times one must first accept and take responsibility for their "addiction" (compulsive/obsessive destructive behaviors) to help them in understanding and addressing the deeper underlying issues.

his bottom, no pun intended :).

As for the "sex addiction" piece mentioned in other comments, ALL "addiction" is a symptom of deeper underlying issues causing a person to act out obsessively/compulsively. A therapist is trained to focus on the process rather than the content when dealing with these issues. I appreciate the humanist article yet it comes down to style, labels, diagnosis, etc  Many times one must first accept and take responsibility for their "addiction" (compulsive/obsessive destructive behaviors) to help them in understanding and addressing the deeper underlying issues.

I feel what Franco is sharing is absolutely relevant and speaks to societal views of the Gay Archetype. Why does Fassbender's character getting a blowjob from a man have to be depicted as wrong, bad, derogatory, a man  "at his lowest point"? Granted, McQueen has his right to artistic freedom but this seems to suggest, whether consciously or unconsciously,  McQueen projection onto "GAY" and in a larger context contemporary Americas influence and opinion of a man finding his bottom, no pun intended :).

As for the "sex addiction" piece mentioned in other comments, ALL "addiction" is a symptom of deeper underlying issues causing a person to act out obsessively/compulsively. A therapist is trained to focus on the process rather than the content when dealing with these issues. I appreciate the humanist article yet it comes down to style, labels, diagnosis, etc  Many times one must first accept and take responsibility for their "addiction" (compulsive/obsessive destructive behaviors) to help them in understanding and addressing the deeper underlying issues.

I feel

I feel what Franco is sharing is absolutely relevant and speaks to societal views of the Gay Archetype. Why does Fassbender's character getting a blowjob from a man have to be depicted as wrong, bad, derogatory, a man  "at his lowest point"? Granted, McQueen has his right to artistic freedom but this seems to suggest, whether consciously or unconsciously,  McQueen projection onto "GAY" and in a larger context contemporary Americas influence and opinion of a man finding his bottom, no pun intended :).

As for the "sex addiction" piece mentioned in other comments, ALL "addiction" is a symptom of deeper underlying issues causing a person to act out obsessively/compulsively. A therapist is trained to focus on the process rather than the content when dealing with these issues. I appreciate the humanist article yet it comes down to style, labels, diagnosis, etc  Many times one must first accept and take responsibility for their "addiction" (compulsive/obsessive destructive behaviors) to help them in understanding and addressing the deeper underlying issues.

Who Hasnt Given a str8 guy head b4¿

I'm all fairness to the director, Quo (the gay club in the movie) was in my humble opinion "the seventh level of hell." And there are a number of other clubs with a similar aesthetic. But there are also others which are completely different. I guess it depends on the intention of the director. Was that club meant to represent all gay clubs or just a particular type? Franco seems to suggest the former which to me isn't necessarily accurate. 

Franco was absolutely right. He wasn't an addict, he was just a weak man. I know tons of guys that have more sex than him. And why is his plummeting part of the story in a gay bar. Oh, he sank so low he had sex with guys! WTF? Guys simply do it better. He was plummeting, he was just realizing what he was doing wrong all along and felt stupid for it!

I love Franco and he is completely right.. Tough fasbander was great.. There is something wrong with the director's way of looking at gay world and gay clubs... 

I'm with Franco.

I want that printed on a shirt, actually.

When did he get so amazing?

James Franco is right. A blow job is a blow job is a blow job. Straight guys don't mind one bit where it comes from; as long as you keep your mouth shut about it later, you just might get seconds, thirds & fourths. And I should know. Word.

I like James Franco, but I think he missed the point of "Shame".  I'm not sure if "sex addiction" is a real thing, or not, but I do think that some people search out sex obsessively, to the point where it impacts their lives negatively.  "Shame" however, is less about the sex acts & more about how Fassbender's character feels about himself.  It's more his own self hatred that is destroying him.  There are so many nuances in that movie that illustrate his self loathing.  There is barely any dialog in the film, but so much is said.

I agree that, as a single act, getting a blow job from a stranger, a man, is not so very terrible (trust me, I am a fan of that), but it was a clear way for McQueen to show the audience that this was a low point for the character.  In the character's mind.

Fassbender's performance was incredible in that movie.  I think Steve McQueen did an amazing job.  I also enjoyed Fassbender's penis.  ;0)
 

You really have no clue what you are talking about. Be quiet child.

Yeah. That movie was horrible. And Franco is right

Well said James.

Franco is correct. Hated that movie.

Franco has turned into a pompous prick these past few years. This just proves it. I've seen the movie and can say that how he describes it is not accurate. The movie shows this guy plummeting into a dark place in his life. How he goes to extreme lengths to get something he wants. Well not want but feels the need. In no way does it depict it in the way that he says. 

Just because your an award winner and you do so many things in life and your the king of hipsters and because your so fascinated by the Gay and lesbian community but your too afraid to just come out, does not mean you can make such harsh comments on a movie that is really good. If you don't like the movie just because you don't like it, than just say that. But don't make something like this up. 

What makes it ok for you to use make such a harsh judgment of him?  Are you somehow more qualified to comment so negatively on Franco and what you believe he should or shouldn't say about a movie?  Are you the greatest film critic in existence, that you can dictate what someone should and should not say about a movie?  You speak as though you have an inside line into his soul, and are therefore qualified to not only criticize what he says, but also to tell us all why he said it.  Bah!

Anything in media that attempts to capitalize on the current "fad" of the fake, snake-oil diagnosis of "sex addiction" is suspect.  Read this:  http://thehumanist.org/july-august-2012/you%E2%80%99re-addicted-to-what/

I didn't see the movie but it is a low point whenever someone goes out of their sexual orientation to satisfy an addiction or a need for conformity. It is easy to understand that if a homosexual man marries a woman just to conform to the norm it is a low point. It is easy to understand that if a lesbian has sex with a man to make money for drugs, it is low point. 

I couldn't agree more..

James, I love you brother. Whether you are gay or not... you stand up for the LGBTQ community on nthe regular and I soooooo dig that. We need more MEN- (brave, outspoken, courageous, masculine humans with a penis) regardless of sexual orientation to call bullshit on bias and stand in truth without worrying about what others may think. BRAVO!

I would def have to agree with Franco.  

He's of the same opinion as myself. I was disappointed that sex with a man was shown as a low point. If he's that active sexually, of course, at some point he's going to come in contact with another man. Why did it have to be the low point?

I think Franco is spot on. 

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