The Disaster Artist (2017)

the-disaster-artist

INT. – Living Room – Night

Three men sit on a couch in a smoke filled room. JAMES FRANCO exhales a cloud of smoke and passes a joint to his brother, DAVE. On the television is the cult “classic”, THE ROOM.

JAMES
Oh man, this guy is great.
(imitating star Tommy Wiseau)
I did not hit her, it’s not true! It’s bullshit! I did not hit her! I did not. Oh, Hi Mark.

Dave takes a hit and passes the joint to SETH ROGEN.

DAVE
You’re pretty good at that accent.

SETH
You know, I read a book about the making of this, the guy is fucking insane.

JAMES
You still got that book?

And that’s how I picture The Disaster Artist getting made. James Franco gets his friends to help him with a vanity project based on the making of what is widely referred to as the worst film ever made. It’s amusing for sure, but does it have any artistic merit?

You can tell Franco respects…something about Tommy Wiseau. This isn’t a hit piece, but a truly honest attempt to show this man to the world and to celebrate his “uniqueness.” The fact that he is delusionally confident and not actually that talented is the raison d’être for the film in the first place. It doesn’t hurt that Franco does a mean Wiseau impression. If in doubt, the film even plays scenes from the original alongside their Disaster Artist counterparts after the story ends. Not only the acting (Franco aside, the rest of the cast nails their impressions as well), but the composition, lighting, and costumes are all spot on. A lot of care was taken to make their recreations look and feel like they came straight from The Room.

A spot on recreation is one thing, a film with value is another. Tommy Wiseau is a character in every sense of the word. That the original film ever came to be is a miracle in and of itself (the guy BOUGHT all his own camera equipment). But despite all the effort that went into making it, I still ended up not caring. About any of it. I get the cult status around The Room, and that Mr. Wiseau is prime to get made fun of (I mean showcase in a film). But I left feeling more amused at how bad The Room must have been than how good what I just watched was. It didn’t even make we want to seek out the source material, if anything it affirmed my choice to actively avoid it. One only has so much time to devote to trash. The Disaster Artist is an amusing, but ultimately unessential anecdote, a window into something that was probably best left to die.

7/10

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