Oh, Hi James Franco: ‘The Disaster Artist’ review

The Disaster Artist

Cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep cheep.

The Room is notoriously one of the best worst movies of all, achieving a rare cult status that makes it so bad it’s good. So good, in fact, that the film — to this day — sells out midnight screenings across the country. There aren’t too many Oscar-winners that are ten years old that you can say the same thing about.

Still, the story behind The Room and how the film got made is even more interesting than the film itself. Tommy Wiseau — who is, by all accounts, a complete madman — made and funded the film himself, without listening to advice from anyone else.

And who better to document all the crazy, unbelievable stories that occurred on the set of The Room than James Franco, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg?

Directed by James Franco and adapted from the memoir The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made by Greg Sestero, The Disaster Artist takes place during 2001-2003 and focuses on the story of the man, the myth and the legend known as Tommy Wiseau.

No one may know where Tommy Wiseau was born, how old he is or how much money he has, but no one can deny the level of pure passion that the man has. Tommy wants to be an actor and, for Tommy, there’s no such thing as “too far.”

The Disaster Artist
credit: Youtube

Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) doesn’t share that quality. Greg also wants to be an actor, but he doesn’t have the rare fearlessness that Tommy has. When Greg is on stage, he’s constantly thinking how everyone is likely judging him.

The two of them first meet in an acting class, Greg asking Tommy to teach him some tricks. This sparks a friendship and, before long, Tommy invites Greg to come live with him in Los Angeles (which is just one of the apartments Tommy has, for some reason). Greg agrees, and the two head out to Hollywood to try and become professionals.

The city, however, doesn’t want them. Neither of them have what it takes, for different reasons, and they can’t find work.

That’s when Tommy comes up with his idea — if no one wants to hire them for a movie, they’ll just make a movie themselves. Tommy has enough money for it, after all, and he sees himself as a genius artist, so there’s no way this could be anything less than Oscar-caliber quality.

And thus, The Room was made.

The Disaster Artist
credit: Youtube

It would have been all too easy for Franco and Rogen to approach The Disaster Artist from a purely comedic angle, as they’ve been known to do in the past in such things like Pineapple Express and This is the End. However, while this is definitely still a comedy and had the audience in stitches at various moments throughout the moment, the genius behind The Disaster Artist is that there’s a lot more to it than that.

This isn’t just a movie that’s constantly trying to make fun of Tommy Wiseau, as that would be in poor taste. Rather, while The Disaster Artist fully acknowledges what a strange and unidentifiable persona he has, they also draw the humanity out of Wiseau. The Room, regardless of how the end product turned out, is something Wiseau cared (and still cares, if you’re reading his Twitter) deeply about. He wanted this film to be great and wanted everyone to love it. Obviously, that’s not what happened, and The Disaster Artist examines everything that lead up to that and what might have been going on in his mind.

Therefore, in a similar way to Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, The Disaster Artist is a film that celebrates creativity. Of course, they aren’t trying to say that The Room is — in any way — a good movie, because have you seen that thing? No, instead they’re shining a light on who Wiseau is as a person and why you should still care for him even if his movie is unintentionally hilarious in the best possible way.

 

The Disaster Artist
credit: Youtube

That being said, the way Wiseau is portrayed by Franco is a jaw-dropping feat at that. I predict Franco will be nominated for his role in The Disaster Artist, as he portrays Wiseau in an almost spot-on fashion. Dave Franco also does well at capturing Greg Sestero, as the relationship between the two — which ends in a terrifically written scene in a movie theater lobby — was some of the most interesting parts of the film.

Seth Rogen plays Sandy Schklair, the script supervisor on The Room who serves as the voice of reason and is constantly calling Wiseau out, and does so in a hilarious fashion. Jacki Weaver plays the actress who plays Claudette in The Room, and has a great scene around the midway point where she talks about what being an actress means to her. Then there are a handful of cameos and familiar faces that show up as well that I’m not going to spoil, none of which are given enough to do to the point where they steal the show or anything, but they’re all a welcome surprise.

The craziest thing about The Disaster Artist isn’t the comedy or the drama, it’s the dedication to accuracy. At the end of the film, they play a bunch of side-by-side shots from The Room and scenes they recreated for The Disaster Artist, and a lot of them are dead on accurate. At times, The Disaster Artist can simply become overwhelming just because it’s so hard to believe, yet it’s all documented and true.

The Disaster Artist
credit: Youtube

That doesn’t mean that The Disaster Artist has all the answers, though. There are still things about The Room — like why it ended up costing around $6 million to make — that we’ll likely never know. But the film has fun poking at these subjects, turning them into a joke. As to whether you need to see The Room before The Disaster Artist, I definitely think it helps and you’ll find the jokes funnier, but it also should be able to stand alone in that respect. That being said, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t see The Room because Wiseau’s creation is nothing short of pure gold.

The Disaster Artist is funny without being cruel, it’s heartwarming without being overly dramatic and it hits all the notes you want it too. Check out the trailer here, and let us know if you’re going to check this one out in theaters this weekend.

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Brandon Schreur

The fella over there with the hella good hair. Movies and TV are my jam, and the fact that I get to write about them on a regular basis is the bees knees.