MOVIE: THE DISASTER ARTIST
STARRING: JAMES FRANCO; DAVE FRANCO; SETH ROGAN
DIRECTED BY: JAMES FRANCO
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
The Disaster Artist is a comedy by unintentional circumstances. Honestly, I had trepidations about an approach of openly mocking the director of The Room and what that would look like. The jokes were not going to be in the punch lines, but in the ridiculousness of the man James Franco was portraying. On the contrary, The Disaster Artist is about much more, including the art of creation, and the relationship that was created between two unknown actors. Tommy Wiseau turned his cult catastrophe The Room into a multi-million dollar success, it now constantly plays at midnight screenings across the U.S., and Tommy even sells his own The Room-inspired apparel. It's all because he made the worst movie of all time. Anyone who surfs the internet or hangs around Chicago's Music Box Theatre, know what The Room is all about. To appreciate everything about The Disaster Artist, it might be best to see the film it's making fun of first, or read the memoir by actor Greg Sestero, which vividly captured his experience of making the film. Either way, you will still be impressed with The Disaster Artist, a funny and intentionally ironic film, including an impressive performance from James Franco who becomes the mysterious Tommy Wiseau and can say, “he make great Hollywood movie.”
In many respects, The Disaster Artist is a buddy comedy, about two dreamers who strive for their chance in Hollywood. Think of it as La La Land for Dummies. Greg (Dave Franco) is a lost teenager who lives in Los Angeles and hopes to make it as an actor. During one of his theater classes he is given some pointers on his performance by the teachers watching, but then a strange man with sunglasses walks to the stage and begins to bellow his best Stanley Kowalski from A Streetcar Named Desire. Instead of it being an impressive performance, it's more of a full body heave to the floor with loud groaning. That man is Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). He has visions of being the next James Dean, but he will be remembered for so much less.
What makes The Disaster Artist an impressive success is the narrative balance of both comedy and emotional resonance. Some may see James Franco's performance as no different than your best friends impersonation of Tommy, that's one of the films flaws, but what brings his work full circle is both the commitment, and consistency in his portrayal. It also helps that the script from Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber bravely focus on the behind the scenes making of The Room, which cost a rumored 6 million, yes, you read that right, and never forgets about the bonding experience that Tommy and Greg went through to make this awful film. Memorable scenes of the film are explained and recreated that are so funny, “It will tear you apart, Lisa!”
There is something so fascinating about the success of The Room. Only in this world can a movie this awful become an enormous achievement in the internet age. Now, it is that strange twist of fate that James and Dave Franco have piggybacked on and turned it into their own fantastic achievement. Much like Tim Burton's Ed Wood, The Disaster Artist captures the spirit of people who want to be an artist and reach their cinematic goals at all costs. There are plenty of other laughs earned by the entire cast, including Seth Rogan as a producer who can't believe he's involved in the project at all, and a group of other great actors, who's identities can't be disclosed because the surprise of seeing them in their roles is too damn funny to reveal now. There's nothing Disastrous about this movie at all.
Fans of The Room will throw spoons, laugh, cheer, and enjoy plenty about The Disaster Artist. James Franco has miraculously pulled it off, with whip smart direction, a spot-on performance, including a great delivery of the memorable, “Oh hi Mark.”, as he truly becomes Tommy Wiseau.
Written by: Leo Brady