DIR: James Franco • WRI: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber • PRO: Evan Goldberg, Vince Jolivette, Seth Rogen, James Weaver • DOP: Brandon Trost • Ed: Stacey Schroeder • MUS: Dave Porter • DES: Chris L. Spellman • CAST: James Franco, Alison Brie, Zoey Deutch
“Everybody betrayed me! I’m fed up with this world!”
After 2016, we all are channelling Tommy Wiseau’s sentiment in some sense. For a moment, let’s revisit the wonderous time of 2003; a time when sexual harassment remained largely ignored/covered up; a time when everyone was too busy commenting on Britney, Cristina and Madonna smooching to worry about the war in Iraq; a time when Nokias were the height of sophistication; and when the collective world thought ‘W’ was the worst American president ever.
2003 was also when an unknown indie film, The Room, premiered in LA. Since then, this bizarre masterpiece has garnered much love as a cult classic – as well as holding the mantle of Best Worst Movie ever made. Allegedly based on the works of Tennessee Williams, this eccentric tale of love gone wrong remains the perfect fantasist escape – but only for the filmmaker Tommy Wiseau. For the rest of its viewers, The Room is an off-beat comedy. The Disaster Artist is based on a book of the same title. Written by Tommy’s co-star and classic Hollywood hunk, Greg Sestero, it tells the outlandish, true-life tale of how The Room was made.
First up, if you haven’t seen The Room, do so now. I promise, it will be worth it. To make the most of this experience, you must buy a pack of plastic spoons and go see a special screening. However, at the very least, check out a few of its greatest hits on YouTube. The Disaster Artist is a mass of in jokes about the strange dialogue, obscenely high budget and odd creative and technical choices that can only be enjoyed to the fullest by watching its predecessor.
Even if you had never heard of The Room, The Disaster Artist would still be an excellent watch. The film is half character study and half buddy comedy. James and Dave Franco give two stand-out performances as co-leads; Dave as the wide-eyed young Greg and James as the driven, mysterious Tommy. James’ take on Tommy and his mannerisms are spot on. It’s these, along with some very hard-working prosthetics, which allow for two such similar looking siblings to be cast alongside one another as anything other than related.
Still unconvinced this film is for you? Well, it has more cameos than a SNL highlight reel, with Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Zac Efron, Melanie Griffith and Sharon Stone amongst the familiar faces; the pacing is punchy as hell; it’s cringy yet well observed and warm – now that’s a fine tightrope to walk; and credit where credit’s due: James’ directing skills show an attention to detail that is second to none. The Disaster Artist proves through its onslaught of ludicrous scenarios, that truth can sometimes be much stranger than fiction.
Have you any thoughts? Feelings? Emotions? Well, as Greg Sestero says himself:
15A (See IFCO for details)
The Disaster Artist is released 1st December 2017