James Franco delivers loving lampoon pseudo documentary fitting of The Room with The Disaster Artist
KEY CAST MEMBERS: James Franco, Dave Franco, Paul Scheer, Ari Graynor, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron and Seth Rogen
WRITER(S): Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (screenplay); Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell (book, The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made on which the film is based)
DIRECTOR(S): James Franco
Striking up a friendship with Tommy, Greg soon comes to discover his eccentricities: There’s his unique accent, which rings more European than New Orleans as Tommy claims to be … There’s his seemingly endless supply of money despite having no discernible source of income and the apartment in L.A. that Tommy just says Greg should move into when they head to Hollywood to make it big. But while Greg lands a few small roles with a possible shot at the big time, Tommy is not so lucky … Which leads the latter to coming up with an idea that will change both of their lives forever: Write and star in their own movie to show Hollywood they can make it on their own.
If you’ve seen the actual movie they made – The Room – you know what they made. What you may not know, however, is just how crazy the film’s shoot was and how it has become what is often referred to as “the Citizen Kane of bad movies,” but you will …
SO IS IT GOOD, BAD OR JUST AWFUL? James Franco was nominated but ultimately did not win the award for Best Actor when 127 Hours was released back in 2010. His performance, which chronicled the near demise of Aron Ralston, the hiker who had to amputate his own arm in order to survive an ill-fated trip to Blue John Canyon in 2003. The film required Franco to channel what was arguably his (at the time) most serious effort on celluloid.
With The Disaster Artist, Franco could earn his second acting nomination while earning his first directing one – for The Disaster Artist is a comedic, loving homage made to a film that likely should have never been made that fortunately inspired one of the most entertaining releases of 2017.
Make no mistake about it: The Room is a bad movie. Like, really bad. Like “How in the world did someone think this was a good idea, let alone reportedly sink $6 million of their own money into it?!” bad. But it was done with such earnest sincerity that while it is incredibly easy to make fun of, there is (dare I say) an all-American “can-do” spirit to it that one almost has to admire it – or at least now can from afar. Capturing this spirit is what Franco (James more so than Dave only because the elder brother also directs the picture) do so well with The Disaster Artist: Showcasing just how bad and insane everything was at conceivably every turn while yet capturing the simple dream of making something that will be a classic that Wiseau (and Sestero) had hoped to make.
An obvious student of the film, Franco lets no nuance or moment go unnoticed (a fact which makes the post-credits montage so entertaining) while at the same time carefully riding the line between roasting and showing pity upon its two main subjects. From the insane wardrobe to the unnecessary sets/bad camera work to the weird dialogue, fans of the original Room will be thrilled to watch the moments recreated by the in-on-the-joke Franco and company that Wiseau was blissfully unaware he was creating. Whereas the younger Franco brings all of Sestero’s concerns to life in empathic fashion, Franco nails every moment as the completely unaware yet admirable for his efforts Wiseau, down to his body movements, reactions and his unmistakable vocal inflections.
Throw in great supporting performances from Rogen as an utterly confused crew member and others as equally stymied cast players and The Disaster Artist is part lampoon and part pseudo-documentary, building to an ending that shows how Wiseau ultimately did what he set out to do … Even if it was not how he imagined it all.
But if you’re looking for a film so creative it’s no longer becomes hard to imagine anyone being willing to make one about one of the worst movies of all time, The Disaster Artist proves one man’s trash is audience’s treasure if the right amount of love and lunacy are present.