Movie: The Disaster Artist
My Rating: 5 stars
By now, most people are familiar with the dumpster fire that is The Room. It’s Tommy Wiseau’s cinematic masterpiece about life, love, and betrayal. Of course, it’s written by, directed by, and starring none other than Tommy Wiseau himself. And, it’s a truly horrendous movie. I once overheard someone in an elevator describe it as a “friendship ending movie.” (I think one friend must have lent it to the other). And, The Disaster Artist gives us a dramatic account of how a movie like The Room may have come into being. I say “may have,” because any project like this comes with some degree of fictionalization. But, the story is based on the actual accounts of many of the actors involved in the original project. So, I think most of it is probably accurate.
The Room has become a phenomenon in the same vein as something like Rocky Horror Picture Show. People clamor to go see midnight screenings of the thing. Of course, the major difference between the two is that Rocky Horror was always intended to be campy, but this film was meant to be serious cinema. But, people just can’t get enough of this mess. Especially since Wiseau refuses to acknowledge it as a flop. It almost baffles the mind how a movie could turn out so badly. You certainly couldn’t design something like it on purpose. This kind of creation can only be accomplished through a one-hundred percent, good faith effort to make a serious film. And, that’s why this retelling works so well and is so amusing.
Now, a project this meta and self-referential may sound like a bit of a snooze to the uninitiated. But, all you have to do to cure yourself of that misconception is actually watch the original film. And, then you’ll be clamoring to hear the back story. This movie is as enjoyable as it is cringeworthy. It almost feels like a guilty pleasure. It’s fun to have a laugh at poor Tommy’s expense, but at the same time you can’t help feeling really bad for the guy. It kind of breaks my heart to see people with delusions of grandeur, who clearly have none of the tools necessary to accomplish their goals. But, at least this movie does humanize Mr. Wiseau a bit. In this story, he’s not only a punchline. I mean, he’s still a bit of a punchline. This movie is presented as comedy after all. But, I think this story helps us empathize with the guy a little better.
Go see this movie. It’s spectacular. But, see The Room first. Or, if you don’t have the patience to do that, at least go look up a “best clips” compilation on YouTube. It’s necessary to have some understanding of that movie in order to get the full benefit of this one. But, this movie is a really good time. It’s the kind of thing that had the whole theater laughing out loud (when they weren’t squirming through the distressingly long and detailed sex scenes). The cast is full of great comedians. And, James and Dave Franco really kill it as Tommy and his leading man Greg. Plus, it’s really fun just to see the two brothers playing off each other. You may regret having to watch The Room, but you’ll love this movie.