In preparation for seeing this film, I decided to catch a late night viewing of The Room (the cult classic which The Disaster Artist is about) at an independent theater chain. Now if anyone wants to do this in hopes to get a neutral viewing of this movie, I would not recommend seeing it this way. The only people who go to see the annual screenings of The Room are people that have seen it a dozen times already, and they’re constantly loud, disruptive, and mocking of the film.
That said… I don’t blame them. Who in the world would want to watch The Room seriously? The film is so breathtakingly bad, and I had an absolute blast with the entire movie.
So now we have James Franco’s passion project, “The Disaster Artist”, and it was pretty good.
Undoubtedly, the best part of this movie is James Franco’s performance as Tommy Wisseau. It’s very evident that Franco not only wanted to give as much respect to the source material as possible, but he also wanted to be as honest about the series of events as he could.
The Room is to The Disaster Artists as sausage is to a sausage factory; Franco’s film serves as a lens to how the production of The Room actually went. The film does occasionally seem to paint Wisseau as a kind-hearted, misunderstood man, but for the most part, the film seems to characterize him as a selfish, narcissistic, petty monster. In fact, the film best works as a character study of this mysterious man with a brain that goes in millions of different directions at the same time.
Thus, the film is frequently uncomfortable to watch. It’s so odd that The Room basically portrays Tommy Wisseau as an angelic figure in a world full of assholes… but The Disaster Artist seems to show that Wisseau is the actual asshole who takes his disdain for people who don’t understand him out on anybody and everybody whenever he finally gets his own power.
Dave Franco gives his first performance I’ve seen that I didn’t hate. Until now, all the movies I’ve seen him in, it’s just Dave Franco playing Dave Franco. And while he doesn’t give Greg Sestero (co-star of The Room and Tommy Wisseau’s “best friend”) a large amount of depth, he’s undoubtedly good enough to be entertaining. Then again, maybe it’s just because his job was to play off James Franco.
There’s some small complaints I have with the film.
I don’t really know if James Franco was the correct person to show just how much older Tommy Wisseau looks like than everyone else.
I think they could have chosen a better cast that just a bunch of James Franco’s friends and family (not saying any of them did bad, but it’s not like Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, etc. were chosen because they were the perfect cast. They were chosen because they’re James’s buddies).
And the uproarious amount of laughter that happened during The Room’s premiere was embarrassingly unrealistic at times.
Also, for a movie that seems to be aiming at comedy, the only parts of the film that I remember laughing at were the ones that were actual scenes of The Room, and none of the stuff outside of that.
But the biggest problem I have for The Disaster Artist is how shallow it is. There’s not much more to the film other than being a passionate documentary of a cult classic, and a standout role from James Franco.
Aside from that, there’s nothing in particular that makes this movie special. Nothing about the soundtrack, the cinematography, the directing, the script, or anything points towards any greater purpose or reasoning for telling the story. If James Franco wasn’t so beloved by people, and if he didn’t do such a great job as Tommy Wisseau, then nobody would be talking about this movie.
This directorial mediocrity is undoubtedly because James Franco directed this movie. And while he certainly has some skill in acting, he has no discernible skill as a director.
When it comes down to it, I would be willing to pay money to see The Room a second, third, maybe even fourth time. I will probably never seek out The Disaster Artist again, even if I could see it for free.
With that in mind, I still think the film as a whole is a worthwhile experience. I enjoyed watching it, and I enjoyed the tenacity of the film to portray Tommy Wisseau in such an honest way. It accomplishes just enough to be entertaining, but not enough to be fantastic or memorable.