Director: James Franco
Writers: Scott Neustadter (screenplay by), Michael H. Weber (screenplay by)
Stars: James Franco, Dave Franco, Ari Graynor
When Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), an aspiring film actor, meets the weird and mysterious Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) in an acting class, they form a unique friendship and travel to Hollywood to make their dreams come true.
When “The Disaster Artist” hit the cinema last month a few critics and fans alike said to get a lot of the references in this movie you would have to view Wiseau’s “The Room”. Set around the early 2000’s Sestero and Wiseau develop a relationship for their love of film and acting. Greg’s biggest problem is being comfortable performing his abilities in front of an audience. Having witnessed Tommy perform at an audition in what can only be described as “expressing” himself. Greg is in awe on how much Tommy is liberated on stage and shows no signs of fear. This is the basis of their adventure to Hollywood and the big time….or so they thought.
I haven’t watched “The Room” and to be honest it didn’t stop me enjoying this movie. I ranked this my third best film of 2017 in our Movie Burner Podcast (Episode Twelve) and over the course of this review I will explain why.
The basis for “The Disaster Artist” is working around what lead Tommy Wiseau to make what is arguably one of the worst movies ever made. I can’t comment on “The Room” but there is something magical about the experience of “The Disaster Artist” the blend of naivety, humour and characters is what entertained and intrigued me. Tommy Wiseau is such an interesting guy in the sense you don’t know what’s coming next with him.
There were a lot of questions about him in this film that have been also asked in real life. Where is that accent from? He claims it’s a New Orleans accent. Where did he find the cash to have another home in LA and finance a film that came in at $6 Million? Does it really matter? In fact no it doesn’t.
James Franco continues to surprise me with his acting abilities and some of his recent projects he has worked on. Taking the Directors chair for this movie as well as taking the lead role shows Franco’s commitment to the film and his ability to impersonate or should that be embody the essence of Wiseau is stunning. His mannerisms and timings is what keeps you focused on the character and the actor deserves a lot of praise for this and his ability to laugh at (or with) Wiseau but sympathise with him also.
Dave Franco is also terrific as Greg Sestero. I previously reviewed both “Now You See Me” films and the movie “Nerve” and if I’m totally honest, neither of these performances from Dave stood out for me. In “The Disaster Artist” it’s a different story. Although Wiseau dominates the screen it would be ignorant not to recognise Dave Franco’s presence throughout this story. There appears to be a bit of guilt put on Sestero’s shoulders by Wiseau in the final third of the film. Tommy brought Greg out of his shell, he also took him to LA to stay in his house and have a strong role in his movie that he was financing.
Dave Franco displays this well in frustration and disappointment as a chance to appear as a “lumberjack” in “Malcolm in the Middle” after a chance meeting with Bryan Cranston is thwarted by Wiseau not allowing Greg to keep his beard (job requirement for a lumberjack by all accounts) as his final scenes in “The Room” required a clean shaven Greg for his grand entrance. You could be forgiven for thinking that wasn’t the real reason Tommy put a block on this as he comes across jealous and petty at this point.
Overall “The Disaster Artist” is a terrific film, directed well by James Franco. Both brothers just slot right into their characters and although I haven’t seen “The Room” I don’t think has hindered my viewing pleasure in any way. Neither do I feel the urge to go and watch “The Room” out of curiosity as my viewing of “The Disaster Artist” was fulfilling and satisfactory. Highly Recommend.