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Inside Job

If you’re like me, it doesn’t take much financial talk to put you into a coma. I flunked accounting in college, and have never been able to figure out exactly what it is that the Dow Jones average measures. When the financial system threatened to collapse in September 2008, I believe I was not alone in hearing in the phrase “too big to fail” an unspoken “too complicated to understand.”

Due Date

It’s a well-worn formula: Take two characters who are guaranteed to grate on each other’s nerves, force them together on a cross-country trip, and watch the sparks fly. Just off the top of my head: It Happened One Night, The Defiant Ones, Midnight Run, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. To that list you can add this unambitious comedy, which ran out of inspiration after casting Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis as the odd couple.


Early this year, James Franco approached the production team at the television soap General Hospital about a limited role on the daily program. The young actor had never been a cast member of a daytime drama series, and reportedly wanted to experience that challenge, but with one proviso: His duties couldn’t conflict with his classes at Yale, where he was enrolled in a master’s degree program in fiction. Franco got the role, and his degree. He’s currently pursuing a Ph.D. The preternaturally versatile and industrious performer—he’s been James Dean in a biopic, a villain in the Spider-Man movies, and Harvey Milk’s lover in Gus Van Sant’s Milk—recently found the time and energy—did I mention that he’s just published a volume of short stories?—to star in Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours (opening locally the day before Thanksgiving) and to play Allen Ginsberg in Howl, about the Beat poet’s composition of his famous signature poem.

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