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Review: The Disaster Artist

Dave Franco and James Franco star in A24 Films' THE DISASTER ARTIST

Since its release in 2003, The Room has garnered praise for being one of the absolute worst movies of all-time. Yeah, that sounds like an awkward statement, but it’s one that makes sense when you’ve seen the actual movie and know at least a few things about the stories behind its creator and his creation. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can find out more about it by watching The Disaster Artist, a film being released nearly a decade and a half later that happens to be based on the book of the same name.

Focusing primarily on the relationship between Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) and Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), The Disaster Artist is a film about what it means to collaborate and reach for your dreams no matter what. After forming a friendship, the two Hollywood outsiders band together to pursue their dreams of making it in the movie business. To accomplish this, enigmatic Tommy takes the initiative and decides to write, direct, star, produce and finance a movie that was meant to express themselves artistically but winds up living in cinematic infamy.

The Disaster Artist represents a unique way to approach a comedy. We all know we’re here for laughs, but it’s not really done in the typical way that we’re used to. We’re used to seeing gags and hijinks carry the day and deliver the laughs, but that isn’t what we get here. While there are some things that can be seen as being the typical routine, the movie provides comedy in a manner that is everything except the conventional stuff that has been dished out to the masses for a while now.

Instead of relying on the usual, this movie depends almost completely on the personalities of the characters to get their jokes across. In many instances, you could probably play this straight and end up with a drama about friends trying to make it in Hollywood. But what happens here is that the characters are so unique and quirky that they provide their own form of comedy even if they’re technically not trying to.

Of course, no one is more crucial to this than James Franco’s version of the strange and secretive Tommy Wiseau. Seeing any video of the real guy is a pretty interesting experience. He’s kind of odd, cryptic, and has an awkward accent that may originate from a country like Poland although he points out that he grew up in New Orleans. These are some of the things that make him such a fascinating figure to so many and Franco intelligently makes this into a focal point of the movie.

What also makes this work is Franco’s actual performance. He does enough here to create an amusing interpretation of the actual person and does a fine job in emulating him. In doing this, he ushers most of the comedic elements to the forefront simply by playing up the real Tommy Wiseau’s actual personality and using many of the mannerisms that he possesses. This alone makes for an entertaining experience but the rest of what we witness during this short feature length picture helps build on that.

Since this is a “behind the scenes” look at the making of one of the most infamous movies of all-time, we also have some other stuff to get into here. This is also where some of the film’s most amusing parts come from. I’d imagine that a decent amount of this actually happened, so this makes it even more insane when you think about it. If this movie is as successful as it should be, it will also add to the lure of Wiseau and The Room as a stand alone picture. That’s another thing that’s rare about this entire process, but it also illustrate why making this was such a brilliant idea for so many involved.

If you don’t know anything about any of this beforehand, The Disaster Artist is a superb movie that gives you a reason to watch an atrocious movie that debuted to no fanfare when it was released back in 2003. If you’re one of the people who have already seen the picture it’s based on during this fourteen year period of time, this James Franco directed flick will entertain you while giving you an informative and amusing peek behind the curtail of the epic failure that turned into an epic success. Either way, I suggest you eventually get around to watching both of them and maybe even reading the book when you can.

Rating: R

Director: James Franco

James Franco
Dave Franco
Seth Rogen
Josh Hutcherson
Alison Brie
Zac Efron
Ari Graynor
Paul Scheer

Film Length: 98 minutes

Release Date: December 1, 2017

Distributor: A24 Films

  • Score - 7.5/10
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