The Disaster Artist
Dir: James Franco
Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Alison Brie, Jacki Weaver, Paul Scheer, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, June Diane Raphael & Sharon Stone
103 mins | Comedy, Drama, Cult Cinema | 15
We live in an era where bad films are not only tolerated, they are adored. Thanks to the likes of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 and midnight screenings, the idea of purposefully watching a cinematic stinker is never frowned upon (beforehand at least). It can be a really good time, as is proven with Cardiff’s very own Bad Film Club, or even just watching with friends at a party. Dare I even say there is a market for making a bad film? Let’s enter The Room…
The Disaster Artist is the latest film from James Franco, featuring him as director, lead actor and producer. Never shying away from controversy (North Korea sure ain’t fans), this latest flick is a telling portrayal of passion and ambition through the vein of Hollywood’s vicious machine. They say that success is the wielding of confidence meeting opportunity. Whilst Tommy Wiseau acquired both factors for The Room, his creation would prove to be one of the worst films of all time.
The Room is howlingly bad, no question. Yet, what started off as a hair-raising production with shady dealings, it surprisingly became a bizarre runaway smash. The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Erasure Head now face competition with this travesty, in becoming a cult icon. It really does have to be seen to be believed.
The Disaster Artist sees Tommy (James Franco) encounter Greg Sestero (James’ brother Dave) at an acting workshop. They soon become friends, even if it appears to be a little on the odd side. Realising just how tough the acting industry is, they soon formulate the plan for making a film. Money is not an issue for Tommy (we never know how he makes his vast fortune) and the unprofessional time on set creates tension and the surreal like mood, soon to be captured on camera.
Based on the book of the same name by Sestero, he gives us all we can know about this strange film being made. It’s hilarious at times. You drink in just how absurd and unpredictable Tommy really is and formulate your own idea of The Room being a success, by default. The film has a focus on the Tommy and Greg and the acting dream being the driving force of the first act. It’s an inspiring case of “Can’t get the role? create your own!” The drive is clearly there, yet the finished project tests this believe intensely.
James Franco is a chameleon as Wiseau, at times feeling like every essence the part. Everything is balanced in the role to be the real deal the mannerisms, the bizarre nature of the man and his terrible acting ability all pour out of Franco. Even that little weird laugh is here. Dave Franco as Greg is also terrific in a handsome, ambitious role which feels perfect for him. The supporting cast are also charged with wit and energy (including several cameos). Seth Rogen is Sandy, the frustrated script supervisor, who can barely keep it all together without blasting Tommy for this monstrous creation. Though the film really does go to the Franco brothers though.
This film is comparable to Ed Wood, Tim Burton’s earlier take on another lousy director. Wood himself (here played by Johnny Depp) declare at the premiere of his Plan 9 From Outer Space: “This is the one they’ll remember me for”. Watching The Disaster Artist, you feel that the same goes for Wiseau.
*Notice* Those that stay after the film’s credits will be treated with an Easter egg, featuring a familiar face.
Side-splitting & bizarre.
Photo Credit: Toronto International Film Festival and IMDB