“The Disaster Artist”- Movie Review
You can’t call yourself a true movie buff if you haven’t at least heard about The Room. The film-written by, directed by, starring, and produced by an interesting figure named Tommy Wiseau- has achieved legendary status in the movie world as the ultimate so-bad-it’s-good flick. And I mean it. The film’s been the subject of countless reviews and celebrated at midnight screenings. Its fan base has grown over the past several years, and people often question how something like The Room could’ve been made. Did the people involved know what they were making? What was Wiseau thinking? Thankfully Greg Sestero, one of the film’s stars, wrote a book called The Disaster Artist, which detailed Sestero’s experiences making the movie as well as his friendship with Wiseau. Even more thankfully, James Franco has brought that insight to life.
In 1998 San Francisco, aspiring actor Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) is struggling to get his foot in the door. After a disastrous presentation in his acting class, he meets a mysterious man named Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). The two form a close friendship, and they soon decide to move to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams. Things don’t go as smoothly as expected, with both men experiencing failure and disappointment at every turn. One day, they decide to make matters into their own hands and make their own movie, and from there we get an inside look at the insanity that resulted in The Room.
The Disaster Artist could have gone one of two ways. On the one hand, it could have taken itself way too seriously and thus sucking every morsel of hilarity that’s to be had with telling this story. On the flip side of things, it could have put its star, Tommy Wiseau, up on a pedestal for us to ridicule. As director, James Franco wisely refuses to swing the pendulum either way, instead settling on a middle ground. The film never shies away from the absurdity of The Room‘s behind-the-scenes antics and Wiseau’s bossy behavior. At the same time, however, it always keeps the relationship between Wiseau and Sestero at the forefront.
While they may not look exactly like the people their portraying, both Franco brothers do a marvelous job. The fact that they’re siblings makes the chemistry feel one-hundred percent authentic from the get-go, and as the film goes on you completely forget they’re even related. James gives an especially transformative performance as Wiseau. He gets the voice and mannerisms down to a tee. His acting chops, both in terms of the comedy and the drama, are top notch here. But it’s the humanity he brings to the character that really makes it something special. Tommy is never portrayed as some insane cartoon character, but rather a passionate- albeit misguided- man went after and achieved his dreams.
Seth Rogen is hilarious as Sandy, the understandably frustrated script supervisor, as is the rest of the cast. If I do have one problem with the film it’s that I wish certain elements of Sestero’s book got translated to the screen. For example, I would’ve liked to see when Sestero scored a less-than-minor role on Patch Adams, or the frenzy the entire crew was put in when Tommy forgot to distribute pay checks. Little things like that would’ve been nice to see. But really, it’s a nick pick.
Now one last question remains- do you have to have seen The Room in order to enjoy this movie? My answer is yes and no. If you’re going into this movie blind, then you’ll probably be shocked, in awe, and slightly confused as to what you’re seeing. But seeing it does enhance the experience, as it builds your anticipation and gives you a better understanding of the situation. No matter how you go into it, The Disaster Artist is a cinematic treat. It’s an emotional yet inspiring look at how two people who made their dreams come true, even if that dream didn’t turn out as they’d expected. If it’s showing anywhere near you, go see it immediately. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Cosmic Grade: 4.8 out of 5 stars