The Disaster Artist is a movie about people making a movie.
Let me be clear: you CANNOT watch this film without first watching the movie it’s based on. You simply won’t appreciate The Disaster Artist if you can’t compare it to the bizarre and perplexing cult film, The Room.
Will The Room be easy to watch? No. You’ll cringe the entire time. But, human curiosity will suck you in.
You’ll start to ask yourself questions like, “Why did that scene even happen?”, “Where is this story going?”, and “What the hell is that guy laughing about?”.
When The Room is over, you’ll have so many questions. The good news is, at least SOME of those questions will be answered by The Disaster Artist. But don’t get your hopes up too high.
In The Disaster Artist, James Franco plays Tommy Wiseau, the man who once made a movie called The Room that was so outlandishly strange it has since become a cult classic. However, the reason for the cult following goes beyond its poor acting, weird storyline, and low production quality. The story of Tommy Wiseau himself adds a secondary layer: mystery.
In The Disaster Artist, we are introduced to Tommy as he participates in an acting class. It is in this class that he meets another aspiring actor, Greg Sestero. After watching Tommy act (if that’s what you want to call it), Greg believes he can learn something from Tommy, so the two men decide to work together.
Right off the bat, Tommy is weird.
He looks like he just jumped out of the sewer and yet he pulls up to Greg’s house in a Mercedes Benz…
He asks Greg (played by James Francos’ brother, Dave Franco) not to tell anyone anything he learns about Tommy while spending time with him.
When Greg asks where he’s from, Tommy says “New Orleans”, even though he has an Eastern European accent. When asked how old he is, he says he’s the “same age as Greg”…Greg is 28. Tommy is CLEARLY not 28 years old. To this day, no one knows where Tommy Wiseau is from or how old he is.
Even more intriguing, no one knows where he got the bottomless pit of money he used to fund his $6 million production of The Room. All of this plays into the uniqueness of who Tommy Waseau is, and that is the heart of what keeps you hooked on both The Room and The Disaster Artist.
Once you’ve seen the real Tommy Wiseau act, you will be sufficiently blown away by how well James Franco nails his persona. Scene-by-scene, point-by-point, James Franco IS Tommy Wiseau. He is truly magnificent. His brother, Dave, is also great as Greg. In fact, the entire cast and crew does a spectacular job of recreating the actors and the scenes of The Room. Literally, just look at this short clip and you’ll see what I mean.
Fun fact, I also learned there is a THIRD Franco brother in this film. Apparently his name is Tom and he had a smaller role. Seth Rogan and Zac Efron also have small roles, which they make the most of. Seth’s Rogan’s under-his-breath comments are my favorite.
So, anyway, the whole film is about how and why Tommy Wiseau put together this team to make The Room, and the mind-boggling weirdness that ensued as they filmed and premiered it.
I have to say, even though The Disaster Artist made fun of Tommy Wiseau and The Room, it wasn’t two-dimensional. They built compassion for Tommy Wiseau, and by the end of the film, began to reveal an uplifting and poignant truth: Art isn’t always a masterpiece. But, if you have the passion to pursue it without inhibitions, fear, or boundaries, it will always have significance.