We reviewed The Disaster Artist from the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. With the film hitting theaters this weekend, we’re rerunning our review.
Honestly, I could watch four more hours of The Disaster Artist right now.
I’m one of those weirdos who has never seen Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. (Or, maybe I’m the normal person and all of you are the weirdos?) There was a passing thought of watching The Room before I came to the Toronto International Film Festival because I knew I’d be seeing The Disaster Artist, but I decided against it because I’m in a unique position and I wanted to see how it played for those of us who have never seen The Room. The answer is: I laughed so hard during The Disaster Artist my throat hurts. (Or, I may be getting sick. Oh crap, I think I am sick! That’s not good. Anyway, the fact remains that I laughed a lot.)
Tommy Wiseau: What a weird human being. The thing is, to this day, not a lot is known about Wiseau’s early life. He says he’s from New Orleans, but researchers seem to think he’s from Poland. Regardless, James Franco (who, fittingly, directs and stars in The Disaster Artist) has to work with the little information about Wiseau he has.
Franco’s Wiseau is an enigma. He’s wealthy, but won’t talk about where his money comes from. He’s impulsive. He’s obviously a liar (at one point he tries to claim he’s 19). Also, he’s a terrible actor. (The producers of The Disaster Artist were contractually obligated to include a cameo from Wiseau. This scene takes place after the end credits.) Why anyone would try to befriend Tommy Wiseau is beyond me. But, it does happen as young Greg Sestero, (Dave Franco), who plays Mark in The Room, becomes friends with Wiseau at a San Francisco acting school and the two decide to move to Los Angeles together and give the whole “let’s be famous people” thing a shot.
The real treat happens when production on The Room begins. Right before the end credits, we are shown side-by-side comparisons of The Room and scenes of The Room recreated for The Disaster Artist, and it’s pretty uncanny. Franco paid attention to each and every meticulous detail in order to recreate a movie that had little details or planning. It’s kind of insane, but Franco pulls it off.
Gosh this is a fun movie to watch. I can envision, in the future, double features of The Room and The Disaster Artist and I would buy a ticket right now. In one stand out scene, script supervisor Sandy Schklair (Seth Rogen) points out that Wiseau spent money to build a set of an alleyway – when there’s literally an alleyway right outside the studio they could have used. This whole back and forth just delighted me to no end. And there are a lot of scenes like this. You’ve probably seen the trailer, which shows Franco’s Wiseau blowing his whole, “Oh hi, Mark,” line over and over again. This plays even better in context and it goes on forever. I could honestly watch Wiseau blow that line 100 more times.
The Disaster Artist is just a total delight. I mean, sure, we get a couple of scenes in which we’re supposed to feel sorry for Tommy Wiseau because no one believes in him. And that’s fine, I guess – then he immediately says something else unintentionally funny and we are back at it again.
People are going to love The Disaster Artist and if you are a fan of The Room, The Disaster Artist is everything you think it will be and more. We don’t really learn much about Tommy Wiseau, and that’s actually great. Even if we knew what he did as a child, I don’t care. I want to watch Tommy Wiseau act like a weirdo and try to make a movie that turns out so poorly everyone who sees it loves it. The Room appears like something that will just keep on living forever. I can only hope that The Disaster Artist has anywhere near that kind of shelf life.
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