How’s that for a headline? Okay so this one is going to be a lot of fun to write up. I think the best place to start with this is with the film that this film is based on and just go from there.
So back in 2003, two amateur writer/actor friends, Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, decided to get together and make a movie and that movie was called The Room. Directed by Tommy Wiseau, produced by Tommy Wiseau, written by Tommy Wiseau and starring…wait for it…Tommy Wiseau. With Greg Sestero being the co-star.
Now I’m not going to go on about The Room here other than to say its regarded as one of the worst, if not THE worst film ever made. Often cited as being “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” and falls into that “so bad its good” sub-genre. The plot is laughable, the characters are hilarious (for all the wrong reasons), the acting is atrocious and its full of great quotable bad dialogue that has gone down in recent movie history and onto internet meme stardom…
Anyway, after the dismal failure of the flick and after it did the rounds on the interwebs in the mid 2000s with numerous reviewers tearing the film apart worse than Lisa did to Johnny – the film eventually gained cult status and is now seen as a gloriously-bad classic. There are screenings for fans that laugh along with the awfulness of the film, even Wiseau and Sestero have been known to show up to sign autographs and hold Q&A sessions embracing the fandom too.
But before the film did gain its cult status, Greg Sestero teamed up with American journalist Tom Bissell to write a behind the scenes, non-fiction book chronicling the making of The Room and Sestero’s ‘interesting’ relationship with Wiseau. That book is called The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made (and you thought the title for this article was a mouthful) and was released in 2013. After reading and thoroughly enjoying the book, James Franco purchased the rights to the book and turned it into a film…this film right here.
Okay so now the background is filled in, onto the film itself.
To be honest, I really wasn’t expecting too much with this one as I’m not one of those people who enjoy The Room for its awfulness – I just think its a effing terrible film. I watched it once just for curiosity’s sake and vowed never to watch it again. I have no interest in joining The Room‘s brigade of fans, ironically or otherwise. So the idea of a film about the making of a film I don’t like just didn’t appeal to me. But just last night, I decided to give it a go regardless just for ‘fun’ I guess…and I thought it was utterly brilliant.
First off, James Franco is mesmerizing as Tommy Wiseau and if you have ever seen Wiseau then you’d understand what a ‘strange’ person he is. His look, his voice and mannerisms are all captured flawlessly by Franco and there was even times while watching the flick when I wasn’t sure if Wiseau had just turned up on set and slipped himself into the film. Then playing Greg Sestero is James’ bother Dave Franco who also puts in a great performance and the siblings share an unmissable and charming chemistry on screen.
This is a ridiculous comedy film but one that is based on a real event. There are times while watching this when I had to keep reminding myself that this shit really did happen no matter how ludicrous it all gets. From Wiseau insisting they spend money to build a film set of an alleyway that is an exact replica of the alleyway outside of the place they are filming which they could use for free just because “this is a real Hollywood movie” as Wiseau says, to the filming of the awkward looking sex scene from The Room complete with J Franco/Wiseau’s butt-cheeks taking center stage. I mean, just check out the trailer…
Also featuring Seth Rogen as script supervisor of The Room who has many great lines as the man pointing out just how stupid the whole project is getting. A voice of reason in a world of madness. This film about the making of a film does a remarkable job of capturing the look and feel of The Room as specific scenes are replicated almost flawlessly. In fact at the end of this film, they show side by side comparisons between actual The Room footage and the scenes shot for The Disaster Artist, and they match up pretty damn well too. Its quite clear that J Franco had a real passion for the project as it shines through in the end product. Brilliant performances throughout in a stupidly bizarre but true story that (for me) was far more entertaining than the thing it was based on.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding the real Tommy Wiseau, no one really knows who he is, where he is from, his age or anything. Check out his Wikipedia page the guy has a more secretive and complex origin than The Joker. Some people have even suggested that Wiseau is possibly a character played by an actor. Whatever secrets Tommy Wiseau has, none of them are answered in this film as J Franco plays him just as mysterious as the real man is himself. James Franco deserves any and all awards he gets for this one, I raise a can of Red Bull to him.
With Franco as director, producer and star of The Disaster Artist – Its just a damn shame that he didn’t write the screenplay for this one as it would have mirrored real life perfectly what with The Room being directed by Tommy Wiseau, produced by Tommy Wiseau, written by Tommy Wiseau and starring Tommy Wiseau. It could’ve been perfect.
Also stick around to the end of the credits as a very special and amusing meeting of actors.
I really wasn’t expecting much from this film at all as I’m no fan of The Room or anything connected to it. But I have to admit to thoroughly enjoying this picture from start to end. Its a comedy of errors made all the funnier by the simple fact this really happened and these people exist. Highly recommended if you want a good laugh at some very stupid people who have gone on to become much loved and respected. An underdog story with a message that even the most awful of artists can succeed…so there is hope for my writing after all.
I enjoyed this one so much that I may watch it again later.
Tommy Wiseau: “I need to show my ass to sell this picture.”