Ever heard of a little film from 2003 called The Room, you probably have because it’s probably the most infamous bad film ever made. It probably would have faded into obscurity had it not been for the fact that the film’s writer, director, producer and star Tommy Wiseau paid a lot of money to have a two weeks screening in Los Angeles. I have now seen the film, it’s insane, it’s the epitome of “it’s so bad it’s good”, nothing about this film is right, nothing about film making is done to the correct standard with and it’s glorious in how terrible it is.
Now, granted, Tommy Wiseau is for the lack of a better term, an absolute raving lunatic and that’s what makes his persona. The film arguably could have faded into obscurity, however, another thing that he hasn’t quite realised is that the Internet has kind of made him famous. Yes, The Room was infamous beforehand, but the amount of people that got to see it through YouTube and critics talking about it, most famously the nostalgia critics review of it pointing out what an insanely bad film it is, has made this film a success and spread it worldwide. Till, later, Tommy thankfully put a take-down notice on the nostalgia critics review and threatened to sue him in open court for defamation. It has since been settled, they hugged it out and now the review is online for anyone to see. Got check it out, I would really recommend it, it’s one the nostalgia critics best reviews.
Now, The Disaster Artist was announced to be a biopic, based on a book that was written by the film’s co-star, Grace ??? and when I heard about it I was excited, especially considering this would also be the directorial debut of James Franco, who, much like the counter-parts that he is playing, would also be the main star. As for the writing team, we got Scott Neustadter and Michael H Weber, who are the writing team behind the adaptation of A Fault in our Stars and Five Hundred Days of Summer. Despite the fact that I am not the biggest fan of A Fault in our Stars, I felt they were the capable writers to do this story justice and believe me, I am going to say after that right now, whether you like this or you don’t, the story behind this film is just as insane as the movie it’s about.
Based on true events, the story tells the story of Greg, played by Dave Franco and Tommy, played by James Franco. Unable to really break into the acting world, they move to LA together and really give it a go. However, when their acting careers start to fail miserably and Tommy is told that it is almost impossible for him to break into being the leading hero and would more suit playing villains, he decides to cut his losses and write his dream script for The Room. However with his limited knowledge of how the film world works, he starts dictating the production to suit his whim and chaos arrives into it being an absolute glorious mess.
How else would you describe this film, it’s telling the insane story behind The Room and this film is almost as insane as that film. You really can tell how well researched this film is and how much it is pored over. You get several sense of the theomatic elements that inspired (in the loosest terms) the original film. However, it’s more than just that. James Franco clearly put a lot of effort into the shot for shots remakes of the scenes from The Room. In fact, he is so confident in them, that he actually placed them side by side before the closing credits. In fact, there were a couple of occasions where I had trouble telling which one was which. Now, despite the fact that Tommy Wiseau has become the most famous person to come out The Room’ wealth of success, (there is no other way of putting it), this really is Greg’s story, since Greg is kind of the outsider who Tommy wants to bring into his world and use any sense of him trying to break off and do his own thing as a sense of betrayal, which if it is to be believed, means that Tommy wasn’t exactly that far off his character in the movie. But if there is one reason why this film is so good, it’s its comedic value. This is one of the funniest films I have seen all year, I frickin loved this movie. This movie is just brilliant. I haven’t been this entertained by a biopic in ages. There’s a clear effort put in place to tell this story, and the reason why it works so well is because everything is placed so dead pan, so when something insane happens, it in real start contrast to the intents. Something that many comedy films get wrong by having insanity in intentional insanity. Which can work, however, it has to be very well written. I’m actually kind of surprised Tommy agreed to this film being made since he doesn’t exactly come out looking favourable by the end of it. In fact, he actually comes off as being a bit of a jerk. It is very clear, if you haven’t already seen The Room, that he has absolutely no idea how the film making process actually works and when anyone tries to point it out, he goes nuts.
The film really is about the friendship between Greg and Tommy and how both of them kind of start out motivating one another. However, Greg genuinely wants a career out of this and potentially feels that he is going to be hampered by this process. Now Greg initially starts out thinking that he has got nothing to lose since he is not getting any offers, however, when he realises that he does have something to lose with The Room, he starts turning his back on Tommy and begins to realise that the guy is a sketchy man. Considering the film never answers, and to this day has not been answered exactly how old Tommy is and where he is originally from. He still claims he is the same age as Greg and he is from New Orleans, which would mean, if he is telling the truth, that at this point in time, he is in his thirties. Just google a picture of him and make up your mind for yourself. It also makes out that he is a bit of a sketchy blagard, since the film also highlights that we still don’t know how he financed everything. The film reportedly cost $6,000,000.00, granted that’s a low budget, but considering that this was done by no production company, by an out of work actor and considering he had two apartments, in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, and had money to afford a big premiere and keep the film in cinema’s for two weeks, you really have to wonder. Where is this money coming from, none of the cheques bounced at all. Everyone got paid, it was all done. To this day, no one knows how this film was financed. In fact, if anything, this is my only problem with The Disaster Artist, it becomes so much about Tommy that it almost threatens to over-shadow Greg’s story, and arguably this film is his story. In fact by the time we do actually get back on track, it’s almost too late for that. That being said, it’s a minor nit pic and I can’t go too far into it.
This is a film that will have you laughing your head off throughout most of its run time and the great thing about this film is that unlike The Room, it never takes itself too seriously.
As for the acting, it’s once again just brilliant. Dave Franco, probably gives one of the best performance of his career so far, and I am hoping that he will start making more films like this, though I also kind of hope he starts breaking away too. I felt his performance is well deserving of some award nominations, he really plays it well. If James Franco does not get a nomination for best supporting actor it is a travesty!! He is the embodiment of Tommy Wiseau in this performance and honestly, it is probably one of the best performances, if not the best performance I have seen all year. Seriously, this man deserves an Oscar, if it is not for best director, he must win best supporting actor. The cast is also made up of some excellent supporting roles, including a brilliant performance from Seth Rogen, who I am convinced is breaking out well from his type casting to prove what a talent he really is. Ari Gaynor gives a good performance, along with Alison Brie, Jackie Weaver has a good cameo, I quite liked Zac Efron in this role, and there are some other great cameos, including Melanie Griffith, Joe Mande and even Jason Mantzoukas, who actually, for once is in a role where I can actually stand him. Oh, yes and keep an eye out because Tommy himself actually has a cameo.
The cinematography is fantastic, seriously, you have got to check this film out. These are some of the best shots of Los Angeles I have seen in a long time, even if they do kind of look like they are made for the tourist board.
The Disaster Artist is one of the best films I have seen this year so far. It’s utterly brilliant in how fun, over the top and dare I say even well acted it is. James Franco proves he can be an excellent director and I really hope this is not the last time he steps into the role, which I am pleased, to say, he has several lines down the line which he will be continuing. As I said, I think the film had a couple of issues towards the end and it worked as a whole. I don’t think I have laughed at any film this year more than this one and considering I only have one or two review to go, I think it is fairly evident it’s probably one of my best comedies. It is probably going to be in my best films of the year list. If this film doesn’t receive several Oscar nominations then that is a travesty, especially best supporting actor for James Franco.
Well, it’s time for the big one. Next time when you come back, for the third year in a row, we are capping off the year of the Axia film society with a Star Wars review. That’s right, it’s Star Wars Episode 8, The Last Jedi.
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