Way back in 2003, a close friend of mine brought a DVD over to my house and insisted that I watch it. The movie was The Room, and I had know idea what to expect. What I experienced quickly became my favorite “bad movie”. It’s one that I love to introduce to a large group of friends, provided they are willing to watch with a few beverages. It’s a film that definitely falls into that category of “so bad it’s good” for me. When I first heard that “The Disaster Artist”, a biopic about the making of that film, was in production, I was immediately excited. For starters, I had a brand new excuse to introduce The Room to even more people. Not only that, I had an opportunity to learn some of the mysteries behind the making of one of the most notorious pieces of art I’ve ever come across. While it still left many questions about Tommy Wiseau, the infamous director, I found the film deeply entertaining and delightfully humorous. I won’t be quoting it quite as much as I do the original film, but it’s still much more than it appears from its trailers.
If you’re not familiar with The Room, I recommend watching it before seeing this film. I can’t even tell you exactly what it’s about, but you’ll appreciate this biopic a lot more if you do. The Disaster Artist tells about Greg Sestero, a young, hungry actor with dreams of making it big in Hollywood. He meets Tommy at an acting class, a man who shares his passion for the stage. But Tommy has a very peculiar, distinct style when it comes to acting and…you know…functioning in society. The pair move to Los Angeles together to pursue their dreams and eventually decide to make their own movie together. Tommy writes a script for “The Room” and casts himself as the lead with Greg as another. After many trials and tribulations, their final product is released to the public. And the rest is glorious history.
At first glance, The Disaster Artist is a comedy. Yes, it has some very comedic moments, especially anytime Tommy says literally anything. But at it’s heart, this is more of a tale of friendship and determination to fulfill a lifelong dream. Tommy Wiseau’s movie may be one of the most ridiculous things you’ll ever see, but he still accomplished something that the majority of critics never will: he made a movie. There’s something to be said about that. Even though he didn’t get quite the kind of notoriety he wanted, Tommy is becoming a household name. He’s achieved his goal, and seeing that dream come to life in awkward fashion is surprisingly engaging.
The story may be solid, but the reason to watch this movie is James Franco’s portrayal as Tommy. The resemblance is uncanny. The voice, the mannerisms, the “out of it” stare…they’re all there, and he’s spot on. I got the impression that he truly wasn’t poking fun of Tommy, however. He delivers the performance with a certain air of respect for the man, despite making his audience cackle with each utterance. Franco’s brother Dave is nearly as impressive as the innocent Greg. The fact that they’re brothers helps, but you get the feeling that Tommy and Greg really were close friends.
The film also includes several cameo roles that make this a ton of fun. They include Seth Rogan, Zac Efron, and three podcasters who actually talked to the real Greg Sestero on their show. There’s even a special surprise appearance after the credits that you won’t want to miss. It’s clear that nearly everyone involved in the making of this movie has an unnatural love for “The Room”. Some make it a bit more difficult to draw the line between respect and homage, however. Still, you can tell that everyone is having a blast telling this story.
After the credits, you’ll get a glimpse into the amount of love and dedication that went into this production. The scenes from the original have been recreated with near-perfect execution. Even those who have avoided “The Room” thus far should appreciate the level of detail in The Disaster Artist. James Franco has proved that he has serious clout not only in front of the camera, but behind it as well. He’s earned my respect and has come a long ways since Freaks and Geeks.
“The Disaster Artist” Final Verdict
I went into this film expecting a comedy, and was pleasantly surprised with the dramatic storytelling I received instead. It’s most definitely a passion project, which is why I highly recommend The Disaster Artist. it’s completely fair if you don’t take Tommy or his work seriously. But I still think there’s something for any fan of film to appreciate here. It’s much more than the ridiculousness of “The Room” and its production. It’s about wanting something and never giving up on it until you’ve gotten it. I just happened to get more than a few laughs peppered in with this story than Mr. Wiseau ever intended. But hey, success is success, right? And this is a biopic with success written all over it.