A Brief History
On December 1, 2017, the new feature film directed by and starring James Franco, The Disaster Artist: My Life in The Room, The Greatest Bad Film Ever Made, will premier across the United States. Although this reviewer was unfamiliar with the cult classic film, The Room (2003), there is apparently a cult following of this comically bad movie that is seen by adoring, laughing fans at midnight viewings in theaters across the country. The Disaster Artist is a film about the people and the making of that comically bad movie so many have come to love. Right off the bat, we have to tell you this film about a film is a masterpiece!
Based on a mysterious person (Tommy Wiseau played by James Franco) of unknown age and origin (for real) that befriends an aspiring actor (Greg Sestero played by Dave Franco), and the two new friends move to Los Angeles to make a movie, completing their dreams of becoming famous actors and movie makers.
James Franco will get an Oscar nomination for best actor for this film. He may or may not win the Academy Award, but a nomination is a virtual certainty. The character Franco plays is a socially awkward millionaire that claims to be from New Orleans, but sounds like someone from Eastern Europe (kind of a Tarzan, Frankenstein, Tonto way of talking). The incredibly eccentric Wieseau financed and made his movie, The Room, starring himself and his friend, Greg, and The Disaster Artist is about the comical, sad, frustrating, hysterical, emotional and bizarre journey the cast and crew of The Room embarked on to make a film meant to be serious, that turned out so abysmal that audiences take it for a comedy.
Of course, in order to complete the experience of seeing The Disaster Artist you must also see The Room, although in which order you watch the movies is up to you. Being familiar with The Room will allow you to get some of the inside jokes portrayed in The Disaster Artist, but even with no knowledge of The Room we found The Disaster Artist to be thoroughly entertaining and funny. The audience in the pre-screening we watched was laughing out loud right off the bat, apparently because of having the insight of being familiar with The Room. In spite of our lack of familiarity with The Room, we found ourselves laughing out loud, something we almost never do at a movie! As the film went on, the laughter in the audience grew to the point where before the ending the entire place was roaring. A side by side comparison of clips from The Room with scenes from The Disaster Artist show how eerily accurate the new movie depicts the making of the former film. The end of the movie brought more applause and hooting than any movie I have ever seen!
Our expectations for this movie were not high, considering our usual movie fare consists of more action oriented stuff, but we were blown away by how funny and poignant The Disaster Artist is. Often it seems the self-indulgent Hollywood penchant for making movies about making movies leaves us feeling the egotistical Hollywood types are stroking their own egos instead of reaching out to the common person audience, but in The Disaster Artist the everyman can see the struggle of wannabe actors and movie makers in human detail in a relatable way.
The Disaster Artist is undoubtedly the “sleeper of the year” for 2017 films. We strongly endorse this film and encourage our readers to see it in theaters to get the full movie going experience of sharing other movie goers’ reactions. (The laughter is infectious.)
Note: The main character in the movie, Tommy Wiseau, is a real life mystery. People have tried to find his place and time of birth with no success! Where he got his millions of dollars to make a film is likewise a mystery to the public. Speculation that he is of Polish origin and had lived in France are less than concrete.
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For more information, please see…
Bissell, Tom and Greg Sestero. The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made. Simon & Schuster, 2014.
Wiseau, Tommy, dir. The Room. Wiseau-Films, 2012. Blu-ray.