The Disaster Artist – Far From a Disaster. Anyway, How’s Your Sex Life?

Disaster Artist Review

Runtime: 104mins | Director: James Franco | Rating: 5 Stars

Oh. Hi, reader.

Before I begin my review of The Disaster Artist it feels only right that I begin with a brief discussion of the infamous film it’s based on - The Room – which is labelled as ‘the best worst film ever made’.

In all truth, I didn’t know about The Room until I saw the trailer for The Disaster Artist. When I then watched the trailer for it, I thought “what the f**k have I just watched…” Fast forward several months later and a friend (who happens to be a die-hard fan) berated me for not knowing about it and demanded that we watch it together the following week. I can safely say I had no idea what I was in for, and frankly, I’m not sure I’ve fully recovered since.

The Room (Directed, Produced and starred in by Tommy Wiseau) attempts to tell the story of a successful ‘all-American man’, Johnny, whose fiancé falls in love with his best friend, Mark (Greg Sestero), and then attempts to manipulate him. Whilst this is the basic plot, the film also has a lot of other plot lines which surface and then never reappear – an example of this is one of the characters getting cancer, announcing it, then it’s never referred to again. When asked about this, Wiseau simply replied “it was a plot twist”.  

Without seeing The Room, it’s hard to convey just what an incredibly insane rollercoaster of madness it is; predominantly though, it’s down to the fact the script is wildly amateur, the sex scenes (which last literal minutes rather than a couple of seconds) are gratuitous and self-indulgent, and the plot lacks any form of coherence at all.  That being said, whilst it truly is an abysmal film on nearly every level, it does have a certain je ne sais quoi to it which has made it unexplainably iconic, attracting audiences from across the globe to see it at midnight screenings. Whilst there, fans throw spoons at the screen (to honour the random picture framed cutlery which replace family photos), shout lines they know off by heart in sync with Wiseau, and dress up as the characters whilst tossing American footballs.

James Franco happens to be one of the adoring fans of the cult film which later prompted him to direct and star in The Disaster Artist – something we should all be very grateful for. Franco’s The Disaster Artist is everything Wiseau wanted The Room to be but failed at – namely, a “big Hollywood movie”, with a stellar cast and engaging plot.

Drawing inspiration from Greg Sestero’s book, also titled, ‘The Disaster Artist’, the film begins with both Sestero (Dave Franco) and Wiseau (James Franco) performing terribly on the stage at an acting class. After Sestero sees how brave/insane Wiseau is, he enlists him as his acting partner which leads to an unlikely best-friendship blossoming. Shortly after, the pair relocate to Los Angeles to pursue careers in acting, but when that doesn’t work out, they decide to make their own film together instead. Using the fortune owned by Wiseau (which to this day, no one truly knows how he accrued it) they buy cameras to film on, rent a film studio and hire a professional crew. Amidst filming, however, Wiseau and Sestero’s friendship begins to fracture which throws the film into jeopardy.  

The Disaster Artist is a triumph, mainly due to James Franco’s impersonation of Wiseau – not only is it good, but it is scarily good. At the end of the film, we are shown a montage of scenes from The Room which were then recreated by the cast of The Disaster Artist and are screened side-by-side for comparison. They are identical. Not only did Franco nail the look of Wiseau, but most importantly, he adopted every single mannerism, perfected his ever-changing accent, and did so with charm. Unlike many who would’ve used this opportunity to somewhat ridicule Wiseau, Franco treats him with genuine respect and seeming admiration.

Saying that, Franco doesn’t gloss over Wiseau’s darker side and simultaneously shows just how cruel he could be – one scene, in particular, highlighted this when he repeatedly called Juliette Daniel (Ali Graynor) ugly whilst she was performing a scene nude. This was a very tense scene and one I wasn’t expecting from such a seemingly comedic film. I admired that Franco portrayed this side of Wiseau as it made him appear a more rounded and down to earth person rather than just a quirky and somewhat insane fool, which he isn’t.

Not only does The Disaster Artist portray Wiseau perfectly, but it also raises some genuinely interesting questions about creative expression and what it’s like trying to ‘make it’ in Hollywood. Featuring a cameo from Judd Apatow, Wiseau confronts him and starts reciting Shakespeare in an attempt to get a shot in one of his next films – this backfires hugely and Apatow tears him to shreds saying, “You’re not gonna make it - just because you want it, doesn’t mean it’s gonna happen. It’s one in a million”. Despite all odds though, Tommy Wiseau has made it – the fact The Disaster Artist was made at all proves that along with all the sold-out screenings of The Room across the world, despite all its blindingly obvious flaws.

At the end of the day, The Room has something special to it that I don’t think anyone will ever be able to properly put a finger on – it’s a hysterically funny masterpiece and for all the wrong reasons. The Disaster Artist captures this beautifully and acts as an ode to dreamers who want to pursue an artistic passion, even if it ends up being (arguably) the worst thing ever made. As James Franco said in an interview, “I love The Revenant, right? It’s an amazing movie – but people don’t go and watch it for 14 years! There is something about this bad movie though [The Room] that makes you wanna keep watching.”

Anyone who reads this, I beg you to go and see The Room first, THEN see The Disaster Artist – they will take you on an unexplainable, yet hysterical journey that, not my, or anyone else’s, words could ever fully describe. You will laugh, you may cry, you will laugh even more, and you will most definitely be confused, but I guarantee you that you will be glad you did it.

As for The Disaster Artist itself, it is a brilliant film that is the complete contrast to its original. Featuring both the Franco’s, Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson and many more at their finest (and most insane), it’s not a film to be missed – you won’t stop laughing. I guarantee it. 


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