We feel safe in declaring James Franco one of our national treasures. The enigmatic actor is celebrating his 35th birthday today (so close to 4/20, brah!), and while he is certainly a polarizing figure in many regards, there is little doubt that both Hollywood and the world in general are a better place thanks to his presence. So, in honor of his special day, we here at VH1 Celebrity figured now is as good a time as any to celebrate the 35 Most Awesome Things About James Franco.
1. Freaks And Geeks
We, along with the rest of the world, first learned of Franco’s charms when he portrayed one of the show’s “freaks,” Daniel Desario. His character might have come from the wrong side of the tracks, but his smile and sensitive soul seemed like a near-perfect match for Lindsay Weir(d).
2. He falls asleep in class
Franco isn’t a typical Hollywood dropout actor. He did post-graduate work at both NYU and Columbia and, well, Gawker snagged this picture of him back in 2009 fast asleep during one of his classes. Before you call him a slacker, ask yourself this question: Have YOU ever fallen asleep in class? Thought so! (We definitely have.)
3. His laugh in Pineapple Express
Franco’s portrayal of the epically stoned pot dealer Saul in Pineapple Express was one for the ages, especially when he laughed during this rerun of Good Times.
4. Daytona 500 Grand Marshall
Lest you think that Franco is some sort of high-falutin’ intellectual snob, he was the Grand Marshall of the Daytona 500 in February 2013, something even Ricky Bobby would be proud of. [Photo: Getty Images]
5. The self-amputation scene in 127 Hours
Franco earned a well-deserved Best Actor nomination at the 2011 Academy Awards for his work in Danny Boyle’s tremendous film. If you can stomach watching the scene above, you’ll understand why.