Good afternoon, Marcus.
The Disaster Artist is a James Franco-directed and acted movie about the making of the “greatest bad movie ever,” The Room. The Room is… Well it’s a… It’s hard to describe. The place to start would be the main focus of both movies, Tommy Wiseau.
Tommy Wiseau is a very mysterious man. No one knows where he’s from (he claims Louisiana), how old he is, or how he got his untold riches. All we know is that one day he got the idea to make a movie, so he sat down and wrote the single greatest script ever written in the history of humanity. It’s seriously become a legend in the film industry. If you’re a filmmaker, or trying to become a filmmaker, The Room is mandatory viewing along with Citizen Kane, Psycho, Fight Club, all of them. Not because it’s good, no. Because it’s awful. Because it’s so beautifully, wonderfully, exquisitely terrible. And I love it.
James Franco saw this movie, and like many others, fell in love with it. Then Greg Sestero (Tommy’s friend who was heavily involved in the making of the film) wrote a book called “The Disaster Artist,” and this kickstarted Franco’s brain to make a movie adaptation. It was the perfect setup. He loved the movie, he loved the book, and he could do a pretty great Tommy Wiseau impression. A24 picked up distribution rights, and with the approval of Wiseau himself, he went about to make the movie. It’s truly a passion project for Franco, and while that’s clearly visible throughout this film, is it good? Yes.
This movie is carried by Franco’s performance. He is the only person who could successfully pull off an accurate Tommy Wiseau impression for an entire movie and have a deeply emotional performance to go along with it. He manages to balance the silliness that comes with a Tommy Wiseau impression and the careful sensitivity that is required when playing someone like this. Sure, everyone else is doing a fine job, but Franco is the star.
While Franco is exceptional, not much else is. The writing, while entertaining, isn’t good at ending plot lines. The camerawork is serviceable at best, but it’s all handheld. There’s no visual variety, if it weren’t for Franco’s antics, this movie would be very uninteresting to look at. I can’t remember if there was any score (there probably was), but it wasn’t that memorable. The direction is… fine. James Franco, while he’s a great actor, is not much of a director. I feel that his direction works a lot better here than it does most other places because a sizable chunk of it takes place on a movie set. They basically had to re-enact everything they were already doing do make the movie, so the direction feels natural there. Everywhere else, though, is all just people standing and talking. Nothing about the direction makes me think “wow, that must have been difficult to pull off” or “wow, this was cool to look at.” I’m not the best at critiquing direction, so forgive me if this paragraph didn’t make a lot of sense. To sum it up, I feel like the direction of this movie is flat.
Despite the problems I have with this movie, I had a great time watching it. I don’t know how much of my enjoyment was derived from my love of The Room or how good the movie was, but I don’t think I care enough to think about it too hard. I had fun, and in this case, that’s enough for me.
This review isn’t as long as my usual ones, which is why I’m not publishing this at my usual time of 4pm ET. I have a lot of reviews in the pipeline, so I don’t think waiting til next Tuesday or Wednesday would be very beneficial for me.
Up next: My very first spoiler review.Connect to me