The Disaster Artist review
I’ll bet a million dollars that all of you have at least one movie that you’ve seen, one that is considered so bad or silly that you just can’t help but enjoy it for that reason. It’s a similar reason that we often like something that’s seen as “stupid”; its all about your expectations thrown off course. Sometimes it can be a scene in an otherwise bad movie. Sometimes it can be a sketch from Saturday Night Live or Monty Python’s Flying Circus. For an entire movie to work like that is accidental, from a misguided dreamer or a combination of bad luck or perhaps a little of everything. One such movie is The Room.
In 2003, an independent movie called The Room was quietly released in one theater in Los Angeles, but today remains a cult hit with constant midnight screenings and people wanting to seek it out. This is a movie where everything is done opposite with how they should be made. The writing, camera work, editing, and especially the acting from it’s main character contribute to it’s oddball nature that makes it such a curious piece of film history. Based on the nonfiction novel, The Disaster Artist chronicles just how such a strange movie was created and yet, how a dream was accomplished.
In 1998, nineteen-year old Greg Sestero (played by Dave Franco) is an aspiring actor who has some anxiety when performing in front of others. After witnessing a very offbeat but fearless performance by the long haired, heavily accented Tommy Wiseau (played by James Franco), he asks of they can do a scene together. The two have lunch, act a bit, and even start to hang as friends do. When Greg discuses his dream of moving to Hollywood, Tommy encourages he and himself to go just go for it.
Though money and finding a place to stay is no trouble (as it’s stated that Tommy has a large bank account), both guys have a hard time finding work. Greg is ignored by his agent and Tommy is constantly rejected for his poor acting skills. This only inspires Tommy to write his own script, which he claims is like Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams. When finished, Tommy funds the entire production and the shoot for The Room begins. Tommy thinks that everything will go grand, but the rest of the crew including script supervisor Sandy Schklair (played by Seth Rogan) does their best to translate a terrible script into at least a passable movie.
The Disaster Artist isn’t just a comedy and a tribune to one of the best bad movies of all time, but it’s also a nice story about one following their dreams…even if their severally misguided. This is a movie I’d recommend to anyone looking into going into the arts, especially filmmaking. A lot of that has to do with James Franco as Tommy Wiseau, who manages to capture the real life’s eccentric personality, giving away just enough to keep him just as mysterious as most people want to remember him by. A performance like that could have easily been seen as mean, but you get a feeling that James genuinely wanted to show the more positive side of Wiseau. He is definetly the star.
That’s not to say everyone else is to go unaccounted for. Dave Franco captures two elements; one of Greg Sestero, who seems like a nice guy who only wants to make his friends happy, and of the common aspiring actor, who discovers just how intimidating tinsel town is. We are a part of Greg’s persona as we navigate through the trials of making in Hollywood, and finding that success even if it’s different then envisioned.
Being someone whose seen The Room, I’ll say that The Disaster Artist does a great job recreating many of the key scenes that make it famous; the “Tearing me apart Lisa!” moment, the “Hi Mark” rooftop scene, and especially the “breast cancer” scene. A lot of care has been taken to replicate just how such moments could have occurred. While it’s not a hundred percent necessary to have seen The Room, as the movie explains enough, it does help to establish the context.
I’ll give this five Tommy Wieseaus out of five. The Disaster Artist isn’t just one of my favorites of 2017, but it’s definitely in my top five. This is a moment of Hollywood history that won’t be brought up on a studio tour, but it deserves it’s place amongst the stars and glitter as The Room has made people happy. The Disaster Artist captures all of that and then some. Go see it.