Based on the book of the same name by Greg Sestero, “The Disaster Artist” details the development and production of Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 cult-classic film, “The Room”. Riddled with narrative inconsistencies and flaws, “The Room” was such a bad movie that it has become known as “the ‘Citizen Kane’ of bad movies” (i.e. the “best” of the bad movies). Produced by James Franco, “The Disaster Artist” has already been nominated for 55 awards, won 20 awards, and nominated for an Oscar.
“The Disaster Artist” begins in San Francisco, circa 1998, when the insecure and scared Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) is impressed with the eccentric and courageous Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) during acting class. The two aspiring actors, with completely opposite personalities, become friends and move to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams of making it onto the big screen. As both continue to struggle in Hollywood, Tommy suddenly decides to make his own movie called “The Room,” with Greg as the co-star. However during production, Tommy prevents Greg from accepting another television role, ending their relationship and prompting Greg to accuse Tommy of being selfish and a horrible friend. Eight months later, Tommy invites Greg to the premiere of “The Room,” where the audience initially reacts in horror then laughter at the film. The movie ends with Tommy and Greg reconciled and on stage, basking in the standing ovation of the crowd and witnessing the culmination of their dream together.
Thankfully, “The Disaster Artist” as a film is unlike “The Room” whatsoever; it consists of a logical plot and a star-studded cast including celebrity brothers, James and Dave Franco, along with Seth Rogen (“50/50”), Alison Brie (“Community”), and Josh Hutcherson (“The Hunger Games”). Fans will also love the cameos of “Fresh off the Boat”’s Randall Park, “Breaking Bad”’s Bryan Cranston, and the ever-beloved Zac Efron.
The bright spot in the movie is undoubtedly the winner of the Golden Globe for the Best Actor of a Musical or Comedy: James Franco and his near-perfect portrayal of the iconic Tommy Wiseau. From Tommy’s abnormal accent and laugh to his bizarre actions and flamboyant dress, James Franco captures the essence of Tommy Wiseau’s character while inducing many laughs from the audience. Perhaps the more underrated and overlooked part of the movie is Seth Rogen’s hilarious role as a sarcastic script supervisor, hilariously pointing out and reacting in disbelief to everything wrong about Tommy’s film.
With that said, during the happy ending of the film I felt extremely conflicted. I sympathized with Tommy, who was constantly laughed at for looking like a villain and told that he would never make in the movie business, when all he wanted to become was a hero in a movie. However, that all changed when James Franco reveals the dark and disturbing side to Tommy Wiseau. He becomes consumed with jealousy towards Greg; he does not provide water to his crew, watches one of actresses faint, and criticizes Juliette Danielle’s (Ari Graynor) body in front of the entire crew. I lost all respect for Tommy, and without enough sympathy for Greg, Tommy and Greg’s success story gave me little satisfaction.
Ultimately, “The Disaster Artist” is still everything it advertises itself to be: a 104 minute autobiography about Tommy Wiseau, with moments of absolute ridiculousness, comedy, and drama. The 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes may be a little generous, but “The Disaster Artist” is definitely a movie worth watching.