Oh hi, reader. Biopics about directors in Hollywood aren’t a new thing. Whether you have talent or not, movies like “Ed Wood” and “Hitchcock” show how difficult it is to make a feature film. With “The Disaster Artist”, James Franco takes a close-up look at Tommy Wiseau, the producer, star, writer, and director of “The Room,” which is infamous because it’s considered the “best” worst movie ever made.
“The Disaster Artist” follows the making of “The Room” and the bizarre friendship between Wiseau (James Franco) and Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), the cult film’s line producer and co-star. Greg and Tommy meet at an acting class in San Francisco and become quick friends. They both have ambitious of becoming major Hollywood actors like James Dean. They move to Los Angeles, but have trouble landing roles in film and television. Tommy creates an opportunity for both of them by writing the screenplay of “The Room” with the hopes of producing and directing it. He invites Greg to be the co-star and the pair get the ball rolling with casting and putting together a crew.
A lot of the comedy in “The Disaster Artist” comes from the unintentional comedy of “The Room” itself. I’m not completely sure if you can get the same kind of enjoyment of watching “The Disaster Artist,” if you haven’t watch “The Room” (or at least watched its greatest hits on YouTube). In that respect, James Franco does a fine job recreating the scenes with a good performance as Tommy Wiseau.
However, the film runs into trouble pretty early on with testimonials from real-life Hollywood actors and directors like Kristen Bell, Adam Scott, and J.J. Abrams talking about the ironic brilliance of “The Room” at the beginning of “The Disaster Artist”. I don’t know if this was completely necessary, as it comes off like an inside Hollywood nod to an inside joke. It almost feels self-important and self-congratulatory. I think you can take this section out of the movie and it would still play out well. But as it stands it left a bitter taste in my mouth that thankfully the rest of “The Disaster Artist” washes away.
At its core, the movie is about the friendship between Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero. It starts off on the right foot, but slowly becomes sour when Greg starts to find a little bit of success outside of making “The Room.” He’s starting to find his own identity, while Tommy becomes jealous and alone. It’s really a bizarre sight when the two characters are pouring their souls to each other, but it’s tough to feel pathos for the pair when you’re laughing at Wiseau’s silly accent and mannerisms. The laughs are tart when you’re caught between Tommy and Greg.
I feel that perfectly sums up “The Disaster Artist.” It’s a sour look at the creative process of making a movie. James Franco does a really good job in front-of and behind the camera of an incomprehensible man who is just as lonely as he is sad. While there are plenty of laughs in “The Disaster Artist,” it’s also very bitter and hard to watch at times.
Story – A-
Acting – A-
Technical – B+
Overall – A-