Movies that tell stories are all well and good, but movies that tell a story as well as entertain have become a rarity. Want to know what is even more rare? A cable movie that does all of the above. The TNT Original James Dean does this and more.
There is something about James Dean. I know I’m not the only one that has always secretly wanted to be this dark and mysterious character. His appeal was his rebellious attitude. He was the rebel, and who doesn’t want to be a rebel in some way? I’ve been more of a rebel with a cause, I think most of us feel that way as well, but not James Dean. He was the weird kid you either loved or hated. Those who hated him still couldn’t ignore his talent and those who loved him couldn’t ignore he that wasn’t like anyone else they knew. What the film James Dean does is give us more than his time on the silver screen. It introduces us to the man, not the actor. It tells us why he played the part of a troubled teen so well. I can’t imagine anyone will be surprised to find that he was troubled in real life by a father that wouldn’t return his love.
From the moment the camera focuses, you are ready to see James Dean. We all know what we look for immediately from a biography, and that’s whether or not the actor playing the subject looks, talks, or is anything like that individual. James Franco (Freaks And Geeks) is cast as the enigmatic James Dean. Franco doesn’t completely look the part, but once you get halfway through the film, that doesn’t even matter. It doesn’t matter if he looks like him, smokes like him, walks like him, or talks like him, and maybe he does. But it doesn’t matter. Franco tells the story. Hell, he sells it. He sells it so well that I’m watching it again this weekend.
Even if you don’t bring some sort of James Dean curiosity to the table, you’ll still find a story worth watching. James Dean proves to be interesting enough for a movie on his life and this film does the best job of providing that.
+ charlie craine