The Disaster Artist
The 2003 film The Room is widely considered the worst movie ever made. Many dubbed it as “the Citizen Kane of bad movies.” The incredible character of Tommy Wiseau is the writer, director, and star of this film; his journey has been brought to life by James Franco in his behind the scenes dramatization of the making of this infamous film.
The Disaster Artist follows Greg Sistero (Dave Franco), a largely untalented actor in San Francisco who, in an acting class, meets the unique and weird Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). Together they strike a friendship and move to LA where, after failing to break through in auditions, decide to make their own movie: The Room.
While pitched the film might have the feel of an Ed Wood-inspired biopic, but The Disaster Artist walks a finer line between absurdity and reality, mostly because its title character did many of these ridiculous actions in real life. Franco directs this film as well, and is able to bring an incredible depth to a character that has for so long been a caricature in pop-culture. The mystery to Wiseau’s past (no one really knows where he’s from, or how old he is, or where he got the near $6 million to fund The Room) proves an engaging hook and a wealth of possibilities for Franco to draw on to make sense of his character; he certainly gives one of his best performances in years, if not his best performance yet.
Franco, being a popular actor in Hollywood, is able to pull in many of his other celebrity friends for this film to play small roles; from Zach Efron and Melanie Griffith, to cameos by Sharon Stone, Judd Apatow, and Bryan Cranston. And then there’s Franco’s own brother Dave who plays the second lead in this film and is largely the audience’s guide through this story. The brothers are able to use a subtle chemistry between each other so that their absurd relationship seems believable. Nevertheless, the role of Greg played by Dave feels too unexploited. In the hands of a more experienced actor the role will have surely garnered Oscar buzz; Dave, however, still needs to grow further as an actor. This isn’t to say that Dave’s acting is bad – it certainly doesn’t affect the overall quality of the film – it just leaves the audience feeling like the role was not fully juiced.
The pacing might be a bit slow during some parts of the film that focus on rather awkward character development. This could be on purpose by James Franco, showing the incredulity of his story, but it somehow doesn’t play as well with the audience’s entertainment expectations.
Nevertheless, The Disaster Artist is a wonderful film about the passion and determination of following one’s dreams. It’s a true Hollywood fable gone horribly wrong. Not enough praise will go to Franco as he manages to pull an incredible performance as well as his best directing outing to date. While The Room might be considered the worst movies in history, The Disaster Artist is certainly one of the better movies of this year.