THE DISASTER ARTIST, to be fully appreciated for how devilishly good it is, must be watched subsequent to its inspiration, 2003’s now-immortal The Room. Those lucky souls who have already entered the unique world of The Room will need no coaxing; they will eat up this 2017 valentine like Swiss chocolate. “Indigestion” rather than “inspiration” may be more apt for the source material, but in this bio-comic tribute they reversed the space-time continuum fractured by the earlier movie—they got everything right.
San Francisco, 1998 (right there you lose the dim half of the country). Fledgling 19-year-old actor Greg Sistero (Dave Franco) begins a strange friendship with a very strange fellow named Tommy Wiseau (James Franco), also trying to act (trying in every sense), yet with his wild/undead eyes on the bigger prize of making his own movie, one to rival the audacity of Citizen Kane. Over 104 brisk minutes, the Franco’s & company, with James serving as director, cover the pride and passion of
Welles Wiseau’s fever dream in the writing, casting, performing, direction, production, release and results of a movie as Bad as any ever made in this solar system. The Room almost defies categorization, eclipsing Awful into Atrocious, and ending with something like Art. This “making of” picture displays all the craft that eluded auteur Wiseau and his continually confused crew. Perfectly cast, beautifully acted, very funny and ultimately touching, Franco and friends deliver a silk purse charmer.
Scripted by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, from the book by Greg Sistero and Tom Bissell, “The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside ‘The Room’, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made”, written ten years after filming The Room, the impact of that King Turkey such that it took Greg a decade to deal with. In rapturous irony, the screenplay about a movie that was horribly written—horribly everything—was Oscar-nominated. Franco’s sleek, sly, and sympathetic creation from Wiseau’s multitudinous mess drew dozens of nominations and wins from film societies and festivals. Made for $10,000,000, it earned back $29,821,000. Both brothers are really good, and James was cheated of an Oscar nomination for his brilliant capture of one of the looniest of toons. *
In the cast: Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Hannibal Buress, Jacki Weaver, Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Judd Apatow, Bob Odenkirk, Megan Mulally, Bryan Cranston, Kristen Bell, Kevin Smith, Keegan-Michael Kay, Zach Braff, J.J.Abrams and Angelyne.
* It may well be that Franco was denied a nomination because prior to the Oscar nominee selection count, a pretty damning sexual misconduct story broke about the actor and female students he had in acting classes he conducted. Not looking good.