The Disaster Artist [Celluloid Hero]
The Disaster Artist (2017)
Two years ago, I was finally indoctrinated into the world of "The Room", and my life was forever changed. In my review, I said that it seemed like everyone involved had no idea just how bad this movie would be; they all seemed to play it straight, with no acknowledgement of the problems with the script and directing and everything else. Watching "The Disaster Artist", it was interesting to see that, yes, there were behind-the-scenes issues; while Wiseau had his vision, the rest of the cast and crew were just going along with it, with emotions ranging from hopeful to unsure to apathetic to embarrassed.
After "The Room" exploded as a cult phenomenon, actor Greg Sestero wrote a tell-all book about the making of the movie. It starts with Sestero as a struggling actor, meeting Tommy Wiseau in an acting class, moving to Los Angeles, and finally deciding to just make their own movie. All the questions the public has about Wiseau (where he's from, how old he is, where he gets his money) are asked by Sestero, and none are answered in the movie or in real life.
James Franco won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Wiseau, and it was well-deserved. He nails the indistinct accent, but is able to go beyond a simple impression. When I watched 'The Room' I just thought Wiseau was a hack, but this shows that he genuinely wanted to succeed, he wanted his friend to succeed, he wanted to be great, and believed this was his path. Franco was able to put some vulnerability into his character, then flip a switch and turn into a raging asshole then flip back. Dave Franco is strong as Greg, someone who is caught in the middle of defending his friend and seeing the damage that is being done. The rest of the cast is made up of plenty of familiar faces like Seth Rogen, Paul Scheer, Ari Graynor, Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, Megan Mullally, Jason Mantzoukas, Bob Odenkirk, Judd Apatow, and more.
My only complaint is that the movie takes a while to actually get to the 'making of' aspect. I get that you need to introduce the characters, give some backstory, explain how they go to the point of making "The Room"...but it's something of a waste because I don't really think anyone who hasn't seen "The Room" would be interested or enjoy "The Disaster Artist".
The truly admirable thing was just how much insane detail went into recreating "The Room" - beyond the easy things like mimicking the lines and recreating the wardrobe, the entire set was dead-on accurate. The decor of the living room, the dresser in the bedroom, everything exact. We get to see the making of plenty of iconic scenes, but during the credits, we see even more shots that kind of made me think they just re-shot the entire movie for fun, which honestly is something I would watch on its own.
[Celluloid Hero] gives "The Disaster Artist" a 7 out of 10.