a THE DISASTER ARTIST musing
Regarded as one of the worst movies ever made, THE ROOM, a wreck (or accidental masterpiece?) of a movie, is fascinating in so many ways. Characters make the weirdest decisions, they communicate with the most basic dialogue in robotic language and delivery, the actors seem like they’ve never acted before, etc. But behind it all is Tommy Wiseau, the star/writer/director and genius(?) of the movie.
Most “bad” movies (and I put bad in quotes, since everyone can have varying opinions on movies) have so many people giving input into the process, with the final product a mish-mash of creative voices. THE ROOM is the singular handiwork that emanated from the crazy, enigmatic mind of Tommy Wiseau, and THE DISASTER ARTIST sets out to show just how much of his life was put on film and its effect on his relationships.
Considering the way Wiseau carries himself in real life, that’s such a weird statement. James Franco embodies the mysterious Wiseau as best he can, making the character just as bizarre as you think he’d be. Franco puts so many layers into his performance, and, according to the cast and crew of DISASTER, even directed in character. This is one of Franco’s best performances, aided by his relation to Wiseau’s desire to unabashedly create. An actor’s emotional connection to their character only accentuates the performance.
THE DISASTER ARTIST is based on a book by Greg Sestero, who plays Mark in THE ROOM. James’ brother, Dave Franco, slots easily into playing Greg, an awkward but determined artist trying to make it big. The rest of the cast is rounded out by, essentially, Franco’s friends, with Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Hannibal Buress and the hosts of the “How Did This Get Made?” podcast. (I won’t spoil the other brilliant cameos…) Much of the casting of people portraying actors within THE ROOM are based on looks, and they work perfectly.
But the main thrust of the movie is the friendship between Tommy and Greg, the latter being the straight man in this comical, crazy duo. The amount of ultra-meta layers everyone in the cast is playing, much less these real-life brothers, is astounding. Tommy is like a privileged, odd child, being your best friend if you’re vaguely nice to him, and throwing a tantrum if he doesn’t get his way. Greg is driven by his desire to act, and when given the opportunity can’t let his friend down. The character dynamics are truly fascinating, and it’s all thanks to the acting of the Franco brothers.
It’s uncanny to see scenes from THE ROOM matched with THE DISASTER ARTIST’s cast recreating them. James Franco directed this ode to art with such love and respect to the artist who inspired this story. This movie could have been a disaster, but when viewed from this angle of two friends who just want to create (and supported by intelligent humor and stellar performances), it’s elevated into higher art.
RATING: BEST OF THE BEST
(Refer to rating system HERE!)