March 2, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Geek Review: The Disaster Artist

James Franco made a movie about the making of a legendary bad movie.

I haven’t seen the entirety of The Room.  A friend tried showing it to me once and I got about twenty minutes in before I said I couldn’t watch any more of it.  I knew the movie by its reputation, that it has a faithful cult following and is known as perhaps one of the worst movies ever made, and it’s writer/director/star Tommy Wiseau claims today it was intended as a comedy, and he doesn’t seem to mind the fame of his movie.

But James Franco directed and starred in The Disaster Artist, fictionalizing the making of The Room with Franco himself in the role of Wiseau.  How did that turn out?

Here’s the thing:  Wiseau himself is such an enigma, he’s not really the main character here.  Instead, that goes to Wiseau’s friend and collaborator Greg Sestero (James Franco’s brother Dave).  Greg met Tommy at an acting class where Greg was struggling but Tommy, well, Tommy just screamed stuff and threw things and that impressed the timid Greg enough to approach Tommy about doing a scene together.

As it is, Tommy is an enigma.  He’s got a weird accent, but insists he’s from “New Orleans”.  He won’t say how old he is, and he furthermore has a lot of money, though he won’t say how much he has or where he got it.  He mumbles excuses that are obviously not true and insists Greg never ask about it or tell other people anything about him.  The two move from San Fransisco to Los Angeles to pursue acting careers and then they come up with the idea to make a movie.  Tommy writes it out and from there the friendship is tried as Tommy takes inspiration in his directorial styles from the worst aspects of people like Hitchcock and Kubrick and won’t accept any sort of backtalk even as it is obvious he may not know what he’s doing.

Though Wiseau himself has a cameo in a post-credits scene, this movie doesn’t exactly make him out to be a saint, and while there are a number of famous faces that appear at the start of the movie singing the praises of The Room, the movie also emphasizes that Wiseau only created any sort of classic as an accident.  Wiseau, as portrayed by Franco, is arrogant and temperamental, interpreting any action that Greg makes that might be a normal thing (like moving in with a girlfriend and out of Wiseau’s apartment) as the deepest of betrayals.  The movie is finished, though Greg and Tommy’s friendship will be rocked to its core as a result.

This movie, about the making of an awful movie, was a ton of fun.  James Franco didn’t give himself a particularly glamorous role, even if it is the most noteworthy one in the movie, and Dave Franco makes a credible “normal guy” opposite the eccentric Tommy.  The movie even ends with Franco’s recreations of The Room opposite the original movie’s scenes.  And let me just say…James Franco was scarily close to the real Wiseau.

Eight and a half accent questions out of ten.