“What a Story Mark!”
In 2003 Tommy Wiseau created The Room, a movie considered to be the worst film of all time. The acting is bad, the script doesn’t make sense, and its execution is just plain bizarre. This begs the question of how and why such a bad movie was even made? That’s the task that director James Franco aims to answer in The Disaster Artist which tells the true story of how Tommy and his new friend Greg Sestero created this tragic masterpiece of a film.
It is particularly ironic that a movie this good is based on another movie that is considered horrendous. The Disaster Artist is more than just a story of how The Room was made. It is a story of friendship, believing in yourself, and never giving up when things get bad. While this undoubtedly provides some big laughs with self-aware humor, it still has heart and remembers to respect the man Tommy is and never aims to make fun of him.
The Disaster Artist is based off a book that Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) wrote that chronicles the events of how he met Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) and their desire to make it big in Los Angeles. Each opportunity shuts them out and when they feel down on their luck, Tommy believes that they can make their own movie with their own vision and show people how wrong they were about them as actors. With a ton of money at their disposal thanks to Tommy’s mysterious wealth, the two embark on a pursuit to create a cinematic masterpiece.
James Franco gives one of the best performances of his life in portraying Tommy. He captures everything from the bizarre mannerisms to the weird accent to make you truly believe that he is playing this man. He acts so weird and quirky that it is at times hilarious to watch how one person could be this obscure. Yet, Franco plays Wiseau with respect and never uses his role to laugh at him. Tommy is narcissistic but also can show compassion towards his friend Greg and Franco successfully encapsulates the essence of this eccentric misunderstood man.
Dave Franco is also strong in his role as Greg Sestero, Tommy’s best friend who he met in acting class. Greg starts off shy and reserved and sees Tommy’s confidence as an inspiration for him to break out of his shell. Tommy at times becomes very frustrating on set and seeing Greg deal with these situations provides good humor and tragedy as the film progresses. Even though Tommy’s ideas are bizarre, Greg still trusts him and it is that friendship with which the movie rests on.
This is really more a story about friendship than it is a documentary about the making of The Room. Greg sees Tommy as a driving force to help get his acting career started where Tommy sees Greg as someone he can share his life with. It is extremely touching to see these characters bond through similar movie interests, spontaneous trips, and common failures. They push one another to succeed even when all the parts don’t necessarily line up the way they are supposed to. Even when they are on set, you can feel some tension start to rise and their friendship is tested and how that unfolds provides for some great moments.
But in its essence, most people are going to see this film because it is about The Room, a film that has gained cult status and a wide variety of fans despite its obscurity. You can tell that Franco had a true passion to make this movie as he clearly shows fans what they wanted to see. How does a movie like this get made, and what on earth are the people on set thinking? From forgetting lines to the commentary from the other members of the cast, seeing the production of this movie is a true treat. We get to see how iconic scenes from the film were made, and how the actors and production team react to Tommy’s bizarre vision. This provides some non-stop laughs as the movie portrays the reactions and decisions in the making of the film.
It is also at times cringe-worthy and a bit sad to see the decisions Tommy make. He makes this movie on a huge budget, putting money into things that are not even necessary. He treats his crew with disrespect at times, and you can see the insecurities within himself seeping through. You feel bad for the guy, someone who is working so hard to carry his vision through ultimately make some poor choices. While some decisions may be over dramatized, the essence of the moment still remains allowing you to sympathize with Tommy.
What adds to the sympathy is that The Room is not like most terrible movies these days. This is not your Transformers or Pirates of the Caribbean, movies clearly made just to get money. Tommy made this film to send a message and portray that to the world. It is inspiring but also heartbreaking to see how his film did not turn out the way he wanted it to. It sends a message to individuals about how the world may see you differently than you see yourself, but you keep on moving through the rubble to make something of yourself. Tommy’s movie, all though tragically terrible, provides some hidden meaning to those people looking to make something of themselves.
With all of this, The Disaster Artist presents a truly memorable story about a man who never gave up. James Franco clearly has a respect for the movie and the individuals involved and he translates that perfectly in this film. He encapsulates all the best parts of The Room to deliver some great laughs and give audiences the answers to questions they have had for years. But he also conveys a message about believing in yourself and how the world is not always a welcoming place. Everything works beautifully in the film to deliver an enjoyable experience for both fans of The Room and general audience members to enjoy. Highly recommend this one, but know that viewing The Room beforehand only enhances the experience that James Franco offers.