The Disaster Artist Review
The Disaster Artist (2017) Film Review, a movie directed by James Franco, and starring James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogan, Alison Brie, Paul Scheer, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, and Jackie Weaver.
The Disaster Artist (2017) is a love letter to Tommy Wiseau’s disasterpiece, The Room (2003). The Disaster Artist is the true story behind the making of perhaps the worst movie of the 21st Century. Tommy Wiseau writes, directs, produces, and stars in this unintentionally genius melodrama. A film so bad, it’s good. Finding accidental success years after its release, The Room has since gone on to become a pop culture phenomenon; with a cult following, sold out midnight screenings to rival that of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), and elevating Wiseau to Ed Wood level infamy.
The movie follows Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) and the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) as the two form an unconventional friendship over their shared dreams. An aspiring actor living in San Francisco, Greg first meets Wiseau in an acting class. Where his fellow classmates find Wiseau’s “performance” of the “Stella” scene from A Streetcar Named Desire (1950) to be painfully awkward, Greg is Inspired by Wiseau’s fearlessness. Quickly forming a bond, the pair move to Los Angeles to take on Hollywood.
Upon moving to Los Angeles, Sestero quickly finds success; his future in the industry looking bright. Wiseau’s future on the other hand, appears bleak. His impossible-to-place European accent, delusions of grandeur, and outrageous antics leave him an outsider. With an ego bruised by Hollywood, Wiseau confides in Sestero how he feels rejected and misunderstood. At this, Greg suggests they make their own movie. That leads Wiseau to write The Room. As Sestero and Wiseau set out to shoot it, Wiseau’s outlandish behavior takes center stage.
James Franco stars and directs this sincerely heartwarming (yes, I went there) biopic with sensitivity and a meticulous commitment to detail. What makes this movie so compelling is that it doesn’t rely on cheap jokes at the expense of Wiseau to work. I half expected the creative duo behind Pineapple Express (2008) and The Interview (2014) to phone it in with a shot for shot remake of The Room or an SNL-like performance ridiculing its writer-director-producer-star. Instead, The Disaster Artist lovingly celebrates Wiseau’s film rather than mock it. It would have been too easy to simply villainize Wiseau or make him the hero. And while we as the audience sympathize and even root for the otherwise pathetic Wseau, Franco’s portrayal doesn’t shy away from examining and highlighting the complexities and glaring personality flaws of his character, either.
Both Franco brothers deliver solid performances. Dave giving a charming, sincere, and optimistic portrayal of Sestero; while beneath a mop of vampiric black hair, makeup, and prosthetics, James delivers a tour de force performance. I would be genuinely surprised if Franco isn’t nominated for an Oscar for this role. “Oh hi, James.” Sprinkled with celebrity cameos, and rounded out with a stellar supporting cast; much of the films humor comes from the deadpanned and bewildered reactions of the cast and crew.
Whether you’re familiar with its source material or not, The Disaster Artist is wickedly delightful from beginning to end. At its core, it’s a film about friendship and never giving up on your dreams. It’s a hilarious celebration of absurdity and the baffling story that would be impossible to believe if it weren’t true.
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