The Disaster Artist is a new A24/Franco movie about the making of the legendarily-awful 2003 movie, “The Room”. And boy, is that not really enough to wrap up everything this movie is.
“Disaster Artist” Entertains Even Casual Film Fans
To call “The Room” a bad movie is to truly underscore how much of a classic this movie is; to this day, entire screenings are held for this cult classic for the ages, a comedy wrapped up in Drama Drag.
But it was never meant to be funny—no, no, its creator, the stranger-than-fiction man called Tommy Wiseau, (which I can’t be 100 percent confident is his real name) fully believed he was making an Oscar-contender of a drama.
No one knows for sure where Wiseau is from or how old he is – though he claimed to be a 19-year-old from New Orleans. Nowadays, his film has made its money back, but before that happened, his bank account was a huge mystery
When it comes to this review, I really wondered what to talk about. A movie about making a movie is already a bit of a hard thing to mull over in your head—if I talk about “The Room” too much, then it might overshadow the actual movie I’m here to review. So let’s get to a basic summary of the Room and its phenomena, as it has become a large part of the culture of movie critics and fandom.
“The Room” was not good. It was abysmal. For a few years, it was largely forgotten, but it would find itself revitalized with a cult following that adored the movie for how insane it is; the movie is hilarious to watch. With the internet critic craze that hit in 2008, it only became more infamously enjoyable, and has since more than made back its money.
James Franco stars as Tommy Wiseau in “The Disaster Artist,” and he gets the mans-near-alien mannerisms and accent down to a T. Franco also directed and wrote this movie, all to appropriately get into character—at the end of the film, they play clips from “The Disaster Artist” and “The Room” side-by-side, and it is incredible how well Franco plays this man. The film lends most of its laughs to this spot-on portrayal of Wiseau.
Dave Franco plays the Greg Sestero, a struggling actor enthralled by Tommy’s well-intentioned attitude, whom Tommy takes under his wing to teach him acting. Thus, begins a friendship that is both parts enduring and awkward as the two set out to Los Angeles to make a movie together.
This is where the movie really begins to take its many interesting turns; Greg starts to lead a normal life, as a normal man would, and Tommy begins to get in his way out of some strange form of jealousy or envy. Tommy’s dual dynamic as both a creepy villain, and an inspiring voice of chasing your dreams really puts the crux of the movie’s emotional punch on its back.
As the movie goes on, Tommy is relentless in his pursuit of his dream, and he does not let Greg lose sight of his own. This is heartfelt, and you really do understand Tommy in these moments, not the bizarre person, but the spirit of someone who will do anything. Greg and Tommy also play off each other on a bromance level that is equally enduring.
But Tommy isn’t all sunshine and roses—during the film, Tommy is confronted by many people telling him he is just not cut out to be an actor, and as his insane drive pushes him to more uncomfortable ends, he is eventually forced to believe he isn’t going to make it. But Greg finally sticks up for his new friend, and the two embark to make “The Room.”
In a way, I was hopeful more of the movie would focus on “The Room,” but the entire production, while still a major part of the film, seems almost glossed over.
It’s hard to knock “Disaster Artist” for this. In terms of actual storytelling, it’s much better to set up characters and motivations and play them out without getting bogged down in details that don’t matter to the narrative. But as someone who has always been curious about the making of “The Room”, I felt almost let down by the amount of time spent on the production.
But the craziest moments from filming are there, including the most famous lines and most haunting tales of the movie, where things start to really elevate some intriguing heights. While the focus is on Tommy’s go-get-‘em attitude and relentless spirit, a decent amount is to show what a jealous, and oftentimes mean, person he could be, including several scenes where you swear Tommy will break out an axe and start murdering people.
This dualism might come across as bad character writing in other pieces, but the reality of “The Room” and of the subjects of “Disaster Artist” end up making the whole thing more real and heart-wrenching. Tommy comes across as a real person, a really strange real person, but a real one nonetheless.
As the movie nears its end, you really do want to join the world in cheering on this man for doing what so few other people have done. He did follow his dream, and that should be an inspiration.
Perhaps the greatest testament to “The Disaster Artist” is how beautifully and honestly this is all portrayed, a truly sincere project with many people putting in 110% to make this movie absolutely amazing. It will entertain anybody with even a vague interest in film, even if they haven’t seen “The Room”—though I would recommend watching it after, just to really have your mind blown with how absurd that movie is.
James and Dave do such an incredible job, and the entire movie comes together to make you laugh, and hopefully inspire you to get out there and do what you want to do, no matter how terrible you are at it—like becoming a movie critic!
“The Disaster Artist” Review Summary
tl;dr: Entertaining and Well Crafted
Recommendation: Enjoyable by anyone who likes movies and film