“The Disaster Artist”
Dir; James Franco. Starring; James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen. 2017. R. Color. 104 min.
As the title suggests, James Franco has created a movie that looks at a disaster with compassion, hilarity, insight, and honesty. This is the true story of a mad man who dreams of being a Hollywood movie star. It speaks to the core of every person who dreams of fame and stardom. Is a project you put your heart and soul into ever a failure? “The Disaster Artists” boldly says NO!
Tommy Wiseau is a fascinating human being. In 2003 he wrote, produced, directed, and starred in “The Room”, a film that has become notorious for being one of the worst movies of all time. Made for six million dollars out of Wiseau’s own pocket, it grossed $1,800 its opening weekend. The movie was a “disaster”. Over the years, it has become one of the most celebrated midnight movies in America. It is a charmingly awful cult classic, similar to “Plan 9 From Outer Space” or “Manos: The Hands of Fate”. Where did Wiseau get the money for the film? What country is Wiseau actually from? How old is this guy? Who knows, and he certainly will never give us the answers.
James Franco plays Wiseau, in the best performance of his career. He is neurotic, egotistical, and borderline insane. During a theater acting class, a shy dreamy-eyed actor named Greg Sistero (an excellent Dave Franco), watches Tommy give a ridiculous re-enactment of the “STELLLAAA!” scene from the famous Tennessee Williams play “A Streetcar Named Desire”. Wiseau’s acting is ridiculous, but Greg is awe-struck by the man’s boldness on stage. Greg approaches Tommy, and an unlikely friendship is born.
Tommy has a strange accent, claims he is only 22 years old, and insists he was born in New Orleans. He is clearly a liar, but his charisma is infectious. Desperate to break into acting, Greg agrees to move with Tommy to Hollywood. The two men make a pinky-promise, at the grave site of James Dean, that they will make it big. After months, both are being worn down by the process of trying to break into the Hollywood acting scene. The lies Tommy tells are becoming more evident every day for Greg. Then, one day, Greg suggests that Tommy should just make his own movie. A spark goes off in his head, and Tommy begins writing his “Opus”.
Production finally begins on “The Room”. It is a trainwreck. Tommy quickly becomes a dictator director. The crew whispers every day about how awful this movie is going to be. The only person who believes in the project is Greg, Tommy’s only true friend. Little did everyone know “The Room” would become so bad that, in a strange way, it was actually great.
Praise for this excellent satire belongs first and foremost to James Franco. Just like Wiseau, he is the films writer/director/producer/star. Acting wise, Franco is unrecognizable in this role. An Oscar nomination should be in his future. He gives everything to this character, and makes a seemingly awful person sympathetic and human. It is clear watching this film that “The Room”, and Wiseau himself, have a special place in Franco‘s heart.
“The Room” is so bad that one should not care about how it was made. James Franco does care, and he has made a fantastic movie about an unknown story. It is a beautifully hilarious reflection on what most would consider a failure. For all the dreamers out there, “The Disaster Artist” is the movie for you.
Suck Factor: 1 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)
Written by Byrd
*The Suck Factor! – How it Works
I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism. Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS! So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS! If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.
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