[REVIEW] Disaster Artist (SXSW Premiere with Seth Rogen, James & Dave Franco)
"You are tearing me apart, Lisa!"
If you fancy yourself a cinephile, odds are, you've heard of Tommy Wiseau's "The Room." It is considered one of the worst movies of all time. Ironically enough, what makes The Room bad also makes it one of the most beloved cult films ever. Wiseau's disasterpiece, filmed on a not-so-small budget of $6 million, is so awesomely awful that it's been described as "the Citizen Kane of bad movies." It tells the story of Tommy (Tommy Wiseau) a banker who loses his fiancée, Lisa, to his best friend Mark (played by Greg Sestero). It's so unintentionally hilarious, you'd swear it had to be a satire. The only story that's more insane than The Room's seemingly endless unresolved subplots and bonkers narrative structure are the stories BEHIND the scenes, driven by the antics of Wiseau, himself, as the "mysterious" director, producer, writer and star.
The making of The Room was so troubled that co-star Greg Sestero wrote a book the production of The Room and Wiseau's strange behavior entitled, The Disaster Artist. The book focuses on the difficulties and odd experiences Sestero had behind the scenes and his unlikely friendship with Wiseau.
Now, who better to take the helm and direct (and star in) a biopic about one of the world's most beloved awful films than everybody's favorite oddball, James Franco?
James Franco stars as Wiseau, opposite real-life brother Dave Franco, who portrays Sestero. The film chronicles Wiseau and Sestero's bizarre journey from San Francisco wanna-be actors to producing the film they thought would put them in the limelight. Along the way, we are treated to the enigmatic Wiseau, who is painfully unaware of how untalented and frustrating he is. He sees his diva hijinks as justified due to his genius vision while everybody else sees him as a nutcase. Wiseau also attempts to live in mystery, trying to pass for a 20-year-old from Louisiana (even though he looks and sounds like a 45-year-old from France).
The film also stars Franco's real-life platonic lover boy, Seth Rogen, Paul Scheer, Hunger Games' Josh Hutcherson (whose wig game in this movie is unparalleled), Ari Graynor, Nathan Fielder, and Rogen's Neighbors co-star, Zac Efron.
Final verdict: The Disaster Artist is this generation's Ed Wood. It's an ode to bad movies and the people who love them. James Franco gives a brilliant portrayal of Wiseau. He's so damn good, they even showed scenes from The Room and The Disaster Artist side-by-side during the credits and they are almost indiscernible (except for TDA's obvious inclusion of comedy actors such as Alison Brie, Jason Mantzoukas, Hannibal Buress, and June Diane Raphael).
Rating: 5 out of 5 "Woah, what the hell?!" cameos from Bryan Cranston, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Judd Apatow, and Megan Mullally.
BONUS: Here's Rogen and the Franco brothers telling stories from when they were making the film, including Rogen introducing his grandmother to James, even though James remained in character as Wiseau for the entirety of filming (even when directing).