After several less than stellar forays behind the camera, actor James Franco has finally struck gold with his behind the scenes take on the making of the infamous cinematic atrocity, The Room. The Disaster Artist, which relates that story, is similar to the now classic 1994 film Ed Wood, in that it thrusts us into the world of those with a creative itch who, unfortunately, possess none of the talent needed in order to undertake such artistic endeavors. The choice to play it as a straight comedy seems to work well when tackling this sort of subject matter and that’s the choice Franco and company have made with their telling of the tale.
The Room, which was released in 2003 and became something of a cult item along the lines of the aforementioned director Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space, is a film that has now reached the status of legendary. Its status, however, is not due to any artistic merits found in the film. Rather it’s because of the unintentional laughter derived from the inept execution of the film, and the joys to be derived therein, which have made it such an enduring favorite and will for sometime to come.
The central character in the film is Tommy Wiseau, the would-be auteur behind this mass of cinematic junk, capably played by James Franco in one his best performances yet. Tommy is a mystery man, whose nationality and financial means are unknown to all of those around him (so much so that it’s one of the film’s running jokes). When Tommy chances to meet struggling actor, Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) they move in together in an LA apartment that Tommy owns. Greg struggles to make it as an actor until Tommy comes up with a plan to make him a star by crafting a film around whatever talent that Tommy perceives Greg might have dwelling within him. Together they combine their creative juices in order to come up with a project they feel will be a certified hit and get them noticed. The duo eventually get the attention they crave but for all the wrong reasons.
The Disaster Artist is peppered with cameos and great supporting work from many familiar faces. In fact there’s so many it would take up too much space to recognize them all. Let’s just say that my favorite would have to be Seth Rogen’s turn as the exasperated script supervisor who is truly baffled and aghast at the ineptitude he’s forced to lay witness to on a daily basis. Having some knowledge of The Room is recommended but I wouldn’t say that taking the time to watch the entire thing is required. Just watch a few clips and let The Disaster Artist fill you in on the rest. You’ll have a good time.
The Disaster Artist is playing in Winston-Salem and Charlotte, as of Friday, December 8.
Image: Seth Rogen & Dave Franco in The Disaster Artist
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