Movie Review: The Disaster Artist – The Story Behind The Cult Classic
The Room is a fascinating film. Tom Bissell, co-author of the book, The Disaster Artist, describes it as such, “It’s like a movie made by an alien who has never seen a movie, but has had movies thoroughly explained to him”. The first time I watched it in its entirety I found myself asking “How did this get made?” several times before the credits rolled. The movie is so inept and poorly executed but it feels completely genuine and not intentionally bad. Unlike films such as Sharknado this movie was obviously intended to be serious which makes it vastly superior in the realm of bad movies. After seeing it twice in the theater with a crowd that knew every single line, it’s obvious why it has become a cult classic. What makes The Room so magical is that it has heart. Odd and often misguided heart, but heaps and loads of heart.
Now, thanks to The Disaster Artist based on the book co-authored by actor Greg Sestro and journalist/writer Tom Bissell, we finally have some answers about the creation of this work of art. Creator Tommy Wiseau’s origin still remains a mystery.
The Disaster Artist tells the story of Greg and Tommy and their struggles to make it in Hollywood. Throughout a series of missed opportunities, failed auditions and obvious jealously from Tommy, they finally decide to make their own movie. Tommy works tirelessly on the script and presents the concept of The Room to Greg. From this point on we get to see the creation of the iconic moments of The Room and gain more of an understanding of the film’s weirdest moments.
James Franco as Tommy/Johnny is remarkable. This is by far the best role I have seen him in. He somehow manages to perfectly capture Tommy Wiseau’s bizarre accent and the odd rhythm and cadence of his speech. His recreation of lines such as “Your tearing me apart Lisa!” and “Oh, hi mark.” were perfect. The performance ranged from hilarious to uncomfortable throughout the movie. Seeing how intense Tommy was on set took the movie in a direction that I didn’t expect. You could tell that production of The Room started out fun and ended with animosity and anger. Dave Franco was great as the naïve but well intentioned Greg Sestero. Seth Rogen’s portrayal as the script supervisor was a major highlight and gave the audience someone to relate to in this crazy world of egos and pipe dreams. This movie was masterfully cast all around. As a bonus at the end of the film they play iconic scenes side by side with the recreations and it is hysterical. The only complaint I have is some of the performances in the recreation of The Room were almost too good.
The Disaster Artist could have been played as a straight up comedy but I am glad that it wasn’t. Tommy’s quirky personality and cryptic past are played up very heavily for humor but overall that is not what the movie is about. This is a movie about broken dreams and missed opportunities, but even more about true friendship and creating your own destiny. Like The Room, this film has heart in spades, and really feels like a labor of love. I highly suggest watching The Room before watching this movie, but even if you don’t, this is a must see film. I give The Disaster Artist a 9 out of 10. It is easily one of my favorite films of the year.