MovieBob Reviews THE DISASTER ARTIST

first_imgStay on target Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Finally, Tommy Wiseau Joins The Avengers in Marvel’s ‘The Room’Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero Are Still Best Friends center_img Is The Disaster Artist good?It’s fine, but really only anything more if you’re already big into The Room?What’s The Room?You probably don’t need to see The Disaster Artist.Oh. Okay, but… what if I want to see it anyway?Then you should see The Room beforehand.And The Room is…?The Room was an independently-produced drama from 2003 that is… a very, very bad movie whose “badness” manifested in that particular “Who thought any of this was a good idea and were they from this planet?” fashion that’s landed other stuff like Troll 2 or Night of The Lepus a cult-following. But what makes The Room unique is that conceptually it’s a bog-standard self-indulgent indie relationship drama whose compelling strangeness stems not from concept but from the subtle way everything seems just slightly… “off”.  This is with the exception of writer/director/producer/financier and lead star Tommy Wiseau. He’s an enigmatic figure whose unplaceable accent and air of near-complete mystery as to his age, place of origin and where he gets the apparently limitless cash supply he used to self-produce the film probably has as much to do with the cultural fascination as the film itself.So it’s a “cult movie” as in like a Rocky Horror type thing?Yes. People go to screenings to yell catchphrases back at the characters and throw random objects at certain intervals. It’s all a little tiresome, and without the extra subtext of LGBTQ self-expression that was such a huge aspect of why Rocky Horror blew up in the first place. This is more of a hipster-irony thing gone mainstream.Got it. So Disaster Artist is…?A comedy biopic based on the book about the bizarre circumstances surrounding the making of the film and it’s unexpected second life as pop-culture phenomenon by Greg Sestero, who co-starred in the film as “Mark.” He’s here played by Dave Franco opposite big brother James as Tommy Wiseau; who befriends Greg randomly and brings him to L.A. to pursue a film acting dream together. When neither of them can get much going on, they decide to make their own movie based on Tommy’s original script, and the production turns into a weird calamity mostly thanks to Wiseau’s outlandish personality – especially when he feels his friendship with Greg threatened by outside influences.Do we find out “what’s going on” with Tommy Wiseau? Because that seems like an interesting mystery.We still haven’t in reality, so no. The film also doesn’t have much of a stated theory, though there’s a scene where the cast and crew of The Room theorize about it.So… wait, what’s the movie actually about, then? Just making the movie?Yeah, it’s ultimately not much more than a “tribute film” more interested in continuing (indeed, becoming part of!) the mystique of The Room than getting any deeper into its subject. It eventually wants to posit the ironic enthusiasm of The Room’s midnight-movie fandom as a kind of “validating moment” for Wiseau and company – in effect, congratulating its makers and stars for BEING fans of The Room. Which is fine up to a point. But narratively it feels pretty hollow to reach the finale and realize that it doesn’t have much to say about the themes of creativity, drive, following your dreams and the general mania of the filmmaking process that it briefly dances up next to in the first and second acts.The reviews have been very positive, though…I mean, it’s NOT a bad movie – in fact, it’s pretty entertaining in spots! But I can’t help but feel like the over-the-top positive notices have more to do with how overwhelmingly The Room fandom intersects with the current status-quo of movie journalism. It’s a well-made, affectionate mash-note to the moment in time when the Los Angeles area “cool kid” hipster-cinephile scene was “discovering” this particular oddity and not much beyond that. And I kind of doubt that a similar effort that was this inscrutably “inside baseball” about a non-film-related object of backhanded affection would be getting the same rapturous response.Is James Franco good?What you’ve heard is true, James Franco is EXCELLENT in part and the main reason to see the movie even if you’re as tired of hearing about The Room as I am. It’s an uncanny impression that successfully gets across how oddly compelling Wiseau is said to be as a personality and even hints at a deeply needy, insecure psychology at play;  even if it’s ultimately an above-average SNL sketch caricature more than a three-dimensional characterization. I’m not sure I buy the Oscar talk, but he’s definitely the centerpiece here.But is it worth it at all beyond that?Sort of, yeah. The production backstory itself is strange enough, and Franco really is that good; so for a little while it feels like at least a worthy successor to Bowfinger (even if neither of them can touch Ed Wood.) But by the time the credits are rolling over side-by-side takes showing off how accurately they were able to recreate scenes from The Room itself, and we realize that doing THIS was the main reason they made the movie as opposed to having a coherent story to tell, I’d definitely had my fill.last_img