Back in pre-school when the other kids were learning their letters and numbers James Franco was brooding in the corner, disheartened by the state of America’s educational system and how he got a splinter from the seesaw during recess. James Franco’s never been content to conform, he marches to the beat of a different drum. Which is why I had to check myself for being surprised when I saw that James Franco had penned a heartfelt love letter to fast food giant McDonald’s, and published that letter in the venerable Washington Post.
I highly suggest you click on over at some point to read James Franco’s love letter to McDonald’s in full, but for now here are some excerpts from James’ ode to the Golden Arches:
“All I know is that when I needed McDonald’s, McDonald’s was there for me. When no one else was.”
Deep. As. FUCK.
I didn’t have a car, so I tried to get a job at all the restaurants within walking distance of my post-dropout Valley apartment. (I shared it with two other aspiring actors and slept on the couch.) I had very little work experience. In high school, I was fired from a coffee shop for reading behind the counter and from a golf course for reading while driving the cart on the driving range. All the waiter jobs were taken by more experienced actor/waiters.
Someone asked me if I was too good to work at McDonald’s. Because I was following my acting dream despite all the pressure not to, I was definitely not too good to work at McDonald’s. I went to the nearest Mickey D’s and was hired the same day.
I was given the late shift drive-thru position. I wore a purple visor and purple polo shirt and took orders over a headset. I refrained from reading on the job, but soon started putting on fake accents with the customers to practice for my scenes in acting class.
While you’re reading this I want you to keep a few things in mind. James Franco has an MFA from Columbia’s prestigious writing program (his first ivy league graduate degree), and he’s a PhD student in the English program at Yale University, one of the top programs in the world. Yet here he is, taking time out of his day to write a love letter to McDonald’s for being there when he needed them the most.
I had been a vegetarian for a year before working there because I was obsessed with River Phoenix, a staunch vegetarian — he actually cried on a date with Martha Plimpton when she ordered soft-shell crabs. But as soon as I got to McDonald’s and was paying my own way, I started eating the cheeseburgers that were headed for the trash after being under the warming lamps from more than seven minutes. I would also sneak frozen apple bars and eat them in the freezer, still frozen — great with coffee.
I hate to whistleblow, but everyone ate straight from the fry hopper. You’d walk by and snag a fry and pop it in your mouth. So easy. I also put tons of salt on the fries because that’s how I like them. I don’t know if the customers ever complained.
Has there ever been a MORE James Franco statement than ‘I’d been a vegetarian because I was obsessed with River Phoenix’?!?!?!?!?
I got hit on by the hamburger cooker. He wanted to hook up in the bathroom, but he didn’t speak English, so he had someone translate for him.
No-fucking-crap you did, you’re James ‘I’m sexually ambiguous at all times Franco’. If you’d stop putting out the vibe to everyone maybe everyone would stop hitting on you.
After three months of working at McDonald’s, I booked a Super Bowl commercial for Pizza Hut. Because it was for the Super Bowl, it was very elaborate: a computer-generated Elvis singing and serving the new Deep Dish pizza. From that point on, I could support myself through acting.
I was treated fairly well at McDonald’s. If anything, they cut me slack. And, just like their food, the job was more available there than anywhere else. When I was hungry for work, they fed the need. I still love the simplicity of the McDonald’s hamburger and its salty fries. After reading “Fast Food Nation,” it’s hard for me to trust the grade of the meat. But maybe once a year, while on a road trip or out in the middle of nowhere for a movie, I’ll stop by a McDonald’s and get a simple cheeseburger: light, and airy, and satisfying.
I get where James is coming from, to him McDonald’s is more than a restaurant, it occupies a place of comfort and nostalgia within James’ deep, deep, oh-so-deep mind. But why he felt the need to take his expression of love and respect towards McDonald’s to the pages of the Washington Post is beyond me. Anyways, CLICK HERE to go read it in full.