Illustration by Elena Griedel
Most people wouldn’t think that a film about the making of “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” would be so good, but it is. The Disaster Artist is the new James Franco movie based on the book of the same name. It follows the true story of Tommy Wiseau and the creation of his cult classic, 2003’s The Room.
The Disaster Artist is both hilarious and heartfelt, due to the incredible acting by the two Franco brothers, James and Dave. James plays Wiseau, while Dave plays Greg Sestero, co-star of The Room and aspiring Hollywood actor.
Both of them blend into their roles incredibly well, to a point where they aren’t actors, they are the characters. James is unrecognizable, and I truly believed he was Wiseau. One of his biggest strengths is Wiseau’s mysterious accent. While to this day nobody knows where the accent is from, Franco manages to replicate it almost perfectly.
Even die hard fans may have trouble distinguishing Franco from the actual Tommy Wiseau. This role is definitely career defining for Franco, and considering the efforts he put into his character, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a best actor nomination for the Oscars.
The other actors in the film were also great. There were so many celebrity cameos that were put into tiny roles, and it all just felt natural. Even incredibly recognizable actors like Seth Rogan and Josh Hutcherson became their characters, feeling distinct from their real life personas.
On top of just being good, the actors also had an incredible script to work with. It brought the unintentional comedy of The Room to life, both when they were directly replicating scenes from the original and when the characters were just sitting and talking at restaurants. The audience was constantly laughing, with a few breaks between the humor. The jokes, which mostly centered on Wiseau’s strange personality, felt like a breath of fresh air in the current film culture of repetitive and unfunny “humor.” This comedy brought a level of quality to the movie that saved it from feeling awkward or dry.
The movie is great for both die hard fans of The Room and people who have never heard of it before The Disaster Artist.
It does a good job of introducing Wiseau, and it shows enough replicated scenes of the filming so people can get the gist of the movie without being confused. This process doesn’t bag down the story for people who already know about the original, instead it adds to the experience and everything feels like bonus call outs and references. Perfectly catering to all audience members in a way that few movies are able to achieve.
The one problem with this movie is the cheesiness. It was over the top, but that seems to be an attempt to mirror the original’s insanity. The problem with the over the top cheesiness is in scenes that took place outside of the fictionalized version of the set. Often these scenes would feel like real life, until something slightly over the top, like Wiseau throwing a mailbox, or an entire theater of people crying because they’re laughing so hard, took the viewer out of the movie.
It fits with the general tone, but still, it could have been toned down a bit. This is also true with the emotional cues in the soundtrack which plays an essential part to the movie.
Looking past these small issues, the movie was award worthy, has high potential to become a classic, and James Franco’s performance will be talked about for decades to come. Ironically while the Disaster Artist is likely one of the best movies this year, The Room has been consistently cited as the worst piece of cinema in the history of film. The Disaster Artist was a fantastic example of entertaining comedy, while still maintaining some emotion and heart to keep the audience invested. This is a movie worth seeing for anybody who is a fan of James Franco movies, The Room, or anyone who just enjoys comedies in general.