THE DISASTER ARTIST Review: 8 out of 10 (Movie hits the...Oh, Hi Mark!"
THE DISASTER ARTIST is a passion project based on a passion project. An odd idea, no doubt. Produced and directed by James Franco, the film is based on Greg Sestero's non-fiction book and chronicles the making of Tommy Wiseau's 2003 cult film THE ROOM, widely considered one of the worst movies ever made. The film stars brothers James and Dave Franco as Wiseau and Sestero, respectively, alongside a supporting cast featuring Seth Rogen (who also produced), Alison Brie, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, and Jacki Weaver.
So the first question most people might ask is this: "Well, if I haven't seen this terrible cult movie THE ROOM that this film is about, should I bother?"
Yes...you should. Actually, you might be further ahead.
The film chronicles the beginnings of Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) who is struggling with his beginnings as an actor. He lacks confidence and is trying to find something...anything to give him some additional inspiration. Enter Tommy Wiseau--an odd and strange man who talks like a walking inspirational poster but looks a lot like a vampire in designer jeans. He has a strange accent, lots of money(from an unknown source), and quickly befriends Greg. Together they move to LA to pursue their dream of acting. When the glitter factory rejects them both, Tommy decides to write, produce, and direct his own movie--inspired by Shakespeare and Tennessee Williams. It isn't long into the process, however, that the film, the production, and the friendship is coming apart at the seams.
THE DISASTER ARTIST chronicles the making of the "best/worst" movie ever made, but much like ED WOOD and its relationship to PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE it offers a lot more than that for the audience. James Franco's performance of the infamous Tommy Wiseau is pitch perfect here--giving the audience moments of hilarity at points and strange uncomfortable sensations in others. But more than just another movie-about-a-movie, this film offers an unabashed optimism to following dreams and achieving something. In a time where Hollywood has had quite a bit of tarnish, THE DISASTER ARTIST celebrates independent filmmaking--despite it being awfully misguided. Wiseau is a preposterous individual. He is also unabashed, unashamed, and unbridled in what he wants. That sort of idealistic vision in Tinseltown is more of what is needed in time where big budget uninspired blockbusters are the order of the day. A happy coincidence that the new (ridiculous) JURRASIC WORLD trailer drops on the same day that this film moves into wide release. THE DIASTER ARTIST is an experience that glorifies a vision and commemorates a movie that bucked the system and found success. It might have been ill-advised, but the Franco brothers offer up Wiseau and Sestero as champions of the Hollywood underdog. And I love an underdog story.