When you hear the word, “disaster” what do you think of? Devastation? Chaos? Destructive forces at work? One thing is for sure…you probably don’t immediately think of a film. Most of the times we classify movies into two categories–good and bad. But when it comes to The Room which was directed, written, and produced by Tommy Wiseau (who is also the film’s star) we are looking at an unmitigated disaster right in the face. The 2004 film which has been dubbed the “Citizen Kane of bad films” became a cult classic soon after it’s release in which it brought in $1800.00 opening weekend. The film known for disregarding just about every convention that makes a film coherent has become notorious for a jumbled and garbled script, zero to no plot development, surface characters, and absolutely atrocious acting. This is the type of film that achieves an unattainable and unmatched level of bad–so much so that it has garnered a worldwide following with thousands of people attending showings all over. There’s a certain level of fascination…like watching a 60 car pileup or the demolition of 50,000 seat stadium. It’s so bad it’s brilliant and what a better venture than to take that movie and director and do a behind the scenes biopic behind the phenomenon that’s known for being well—a disaster?
Enter James Franco, an actor who is known for his diversity in dabbling in acting and film-making who’s eye and vision for humor has been well cultivated through the years. Having done an extensive amount of research and in following the footsteps of the subject of the film, Franco directs and stars in his adaptation of the behind-the-scenes look of The Room entitled The Disaster Artist a film that speaks volumes about the pursuit of the artistic vision–even if know one else sees it.
Franco’s portrayal of Wiseau instantly makes the film a great success. I was unfamiliar with director’s personality and quirks (other than what I had seen in The Room) but Franco morphs into this odd yet lovable personality so well that I walked out of the theater feeling like I had known of Wiseau for years. The film centers around the friendship of Wiseau and Greg Sestero, (who is played by James’ brother Dave) and the movie they made together following Wiseau unsuccessful attempts to break through in the Hollywood film scene. With crisp and genuinely funny dialogue, attention to detail, and superb acting, The Disaster Artist is a winner through and through.
To me the best types of comedies are the ones that are satirical in nature and shed light on mankind’s tendencies in a light yet meaningful way. This movie accomplishes that in splendid fashion. The character of Wiseau in particular is so vulnerable and telling that despite the facades the character puts up, the audience is given a peek into his struggle to bring his vision to life and through the hilarity of the situational comedy presented, I believe we all can find a bit of ourselves in this individual and his accomplishment that he dared to reveal to a skeptical and judgmental world.
We’ve all had something we’ve wanted to try–something that we’ve always dreamed of doing but the fear of failure generally holds us back. Franco portrays a man who made up for lack of talent with an abundance of heart, plunging into a venture with reckless abandon while dealing with the harshness of rejection and failure. These hard-hitting and poignant themes are so excellently presented in this comedic biopic that it is well deserving of any accolade it receives–in fact I think that it is certainly in the contention for the Best Comedy at the Academy Awards.
If you’ve ever had a dream but were too afraid to pursue it for fear of failure this movie is for you. It will especially resonate if you’ve ever auditioned, directed, acted, or if you’ve ever had to go about an undertaking with a team of perhaps less than enthused individuals. So go see The Disaster Artist! You’ll laugh, be inspired, and be treated to an intriguing and enjoyable tour on the set of one of the worst (and ironically one of the best) film sets of all time!