“Oh hai, Mark!”
The Disaster Artist, starring James and Dave Franco and directed by James Franco, was released in December to unexpected acclaim, scoring an impressive 92% on Rotten Tomatoes, and even received a standing ovation at its initial screening at the SXSW festival. The film is already nominated for several awards, most notably for two Golden Globes, one for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Musical or Comedy for James Franco as Tommy Wiseau.
The film is based on the book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, written by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. The book and the movie both focus in the making of the 2003 movie The Room, which is widely considered to be the worst movie ever made, due to its random subplots, awkward acting, terribly written script, and its obvious use of green screens. The Room was directed, written and produced by Tommy Wiseau, arguably the weirdest man in Hollywood, and he also stars as the lead character “Johnny”. The Room is about a love triangle between Johnny, played by Tommy Wiseau, Lisa, played by Juliette Danielle; and Mark, played by Greg Sestero (fun fact: Wiseau named the character Mark after “Mark Damon”, not knowing that the actor is actually named Matt Damon). The movie has a plethora of iconic yet awful lines, the most infamous one being “you’re tearing me apart, Lisa!”, which was added to pay homage a line said by James Dean in the 1955 movie Rebel Without a Cause. Although The Room is considered one of the worst movies ever made, it amassed a cult following over the years, spawning midnight screenings and Q&As with the actors all over the world.
James Franco plays the peculiar Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist, while his brother Dave Franco plays Greg Sestero. The movie starts off in 1998, the year when Wiseau and Sestero first met. Sestero is an aspiring actor with perpetual shyness and a lack of confidence and is inspired by Wiseau after he performs at the class. The pair, sharing a common dream; to make it big in the acting business, move to Los Angeles to kick-start their dream after becoming friends. Neither found any success, which motivated Wiseau to create The Room, taking matters into his own hands. The making of The Room was disastrous, having a ton of unorthodox and strange moments, examples being Wiseau buying two cameras instead of renting them (which is standard practice in shooting films), Wiseau being mad at the crew for laughing during filming, and taking 38 takes to say a simple line. After the film was completed and screened at a premiere, Wiseau becomes upset when the audience laughs at the film instead of taking it seriously, but Sestero convinces him that even though they were not taking it seriously, the audience is having a fun time. Although The Room only made $1,800 against its mysterious six million dollar budget, it became a cult classic.
Now, prior to watching the film, I thought The Disaster Artist was just going to be a hilarious comedy. Do not get me wrong, it is a hilarious film, especially with James Franco’s perfect impression of Tommy Wiseau, however, I did not expect the movie to be as heartwarming and inspiring as it was. We all can relate to Sestero and Wiseau since we all had a dream we desperately wanted to accomplish, and throughout the movie, I wanted to see them succeed. And even though The Room disregards all rules of cinema in the most bizarre way possible, Wiseau still chased after his dream, and never gave up regardless of what people told him. Most people give up on just acting or directing; Wiseau did all four roles (director, actor, producer, writer) by himself. In the beginning of the film, a couple of famous people in the film industry, such as J.J Abrams, Kevin Smith, Kristen Bell, Adam Scott, etc, talked about The Room in a positive way, acknowledging how although The Room is a bad movie, The Room is more memorable than any movie released in 2003, which I agree with 100%. The Disaster Artist made Wiseau a relatable person, and I felt sympathy for both Wiseau and Sestero throughout the movie, and I genuinely cared about the two.
In summary, The Disaster Artist is an unexpectedly uplifting movie, filled with hysterical moments guaranteed to make you laugh, and scenes that will pull your heartstrings. I would definitely give this movie a solid nine out of ten, and will highly recommend this movie to anyone. The Disaster Artist is showing at AMC Assembly Row, AMC Loews Boston Common 19, and Somerville Theatre.