Movie Review: James Franco has directed some bad movies, but none as boring as In Dubious Battle

James Franco’s death march through the American literary canon continues with In Dubious Battle, a John Steinbeck adaptation so conventionally dismal that it makes one better appreciate the artsy, dawdling garbage that is the actor turned dilettante’s usual stock in trade. Every Franco personal project—from his unintelligible, low-budget adaptations of William Faulkner (As I Lay Dying, The Sound And The Fury) and Cormac McCarthy (Child Of God) to his novels and assorted experiments in self-fellatio—is born with a “Kick Me” sign on its back, begging critics to punt it in the keister for making artistic ambition look lame. This one even comes with a freebie: It’s got “dubious” right there in the title. But instead of being sloppily miscalculated (the “Franco touch”), this attempt at a Depression-era labor drama in the vein of John Sayles just bores its way through almost two hours of screen …

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