The Disaster Artist (2017)

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Director: James Franco

Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Alison Brie

Review Authors: Tony

Back in my college days, I used to browse the net for terrible movies and clips of dreadful acting to pass the time. Naturally, this past time led me to Tommy Wiseau’s magnum opus of incompetence, The Room. It was truly a sight to behold. What made The Room different was the genuine effort poured into the film by its creator, Tommy Wiseau. I was used to shlocky, Roger Corman type B movies with rubber monsters and copious amounts of gore and nudity; but here the rubber looking monster was its leading man, director, producer and writer. I became enamoured with this film, the cult following it garnered and the mysteries of Wiseau himself (how old he was, where he was from and how he financed this $6 million passion project). An obsession I appear to share with James Franco.

As amazing as every second of the 99-minute runtime of The Room is, it’s the stories about the production of the film have become almost more infamous than the film itself. Wiseau’s friend and The Room co-star, Greg Sestero, thankfully documented the madness behind the scenes in his memoir, The Disaster Artist. The book is a fascinating and hilarious read that gives a great insight into Greg and Tommy’s bizarre friendship. It was a book screaming to be adapted to the big screen in the vain of the next Ed Wood (1994).

In an acting class in 1998, timid and aspiring actor Greg Sestro struggles to reveal himself to his teacher and classmates for fear of ridicule. It is in this faithful class that fellow aspiring actor and full time oddball, Tommy Wiseau, unleashes a fearless but bonkers rendition of A Streetcar Named Desire. Greg is drawn to his fearless nature and Tommy is just happy to have someone enjoy him for being himself. They form an unlikely friendship and decide to pursue their dream by traveling to L.A to kickstart their Hollywood careers. Together they would create one of the most infamous films of the 21st century.

Franco’s performance is fantastic and well deserving of the Golden Globe he received last night. He captures Tommy’s accent and mannerisms disturbingly well and really gives a sense of depth to this mysterious strange man.

Surprisingly the film takes a bit of a sinister turn during the infamous shooting scenes. While I always thought of the shooting scenes and Tommy’s actions as trivial and comedic, he was genuinely a nightmare on set. Taking inspiration from hardline directors like Alfred Hitchcock who tormented his cast, Tommy berates and confronts his staff with harsh put-downs as chaos ensues due to his incompetence and insecurities.

If I had one major gripe, it’s the liberties the film takes with the source material. Sestero is portrayed as enthusiastic about the movie and pretty naive whereas he admits to being pretty cynical about the whole production and tried to distance himself from it. The film also omits a lot of hilarious moments from the book that would have been great to see on the big screen. Ultimately, The Disaster Artist is a very funny film about an unlikely friendship and a success made from what many would have conceived a failure on every level of filmmaking. Franco does an amiable job of adapting this insane story and keeps the laughs coming.

Rating: 4 / 5 Redbulls

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