I never knew that Tommy Wiseau was inspired by James Dean.
There was a lot shown to us in James Franco’s new movie, The Disaster Artist, based on the creation of Tommy Wiseau’s movie, The Room, which is considered one of the worst movies ever made. Franco, who directed and starred in this, did a very smart thing. He did not spend the whole film making fun of Wiseau and The Room. Instead, he showed us the humanity of the man and his dream.
Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) and Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) met each other in an acting class in San Francisco and Greg was immediately taken by Tommy’s passion and his ability to put himself out there. It was something that he was struggling doing, so, despite the fact that Johnny clearly did not have any acting skill, Greg went to Tommy and asked to be his scene partner.
A friendship grew from that unlikely meeting, as Greg and Tommy moved to LA to pursue their dream of becoming actors. However, as the pair found that it was not easy to break into show business, Tommy decided to skip the line and write, produce, fund, direct and star in his own movie.
What came forth was a movie that was downright terrible, but became a cult classic, including midnight showings that are consistently selling out. The filming of the movie had plenty of troubles, but the result of this is hilarious.
Playing a real life character such as Tommy Wiseau is a challenge, but James Franco is sensational in the role. James Franco morphed into Wiseau. His accent, his mannerisms, the way he is was just perfect. Franco did not create a parody of the man. He became him.
And Tommy Wiseau is an enigma. The fact is that we do not know much of anything about him. He has, what sounds like, a thick, perhaps, Eastern European accent, but he claims to have been born in New Orleans. It is not known where Tommy gets his money and how he seems to have an endless supply of it. He financed The Room, rumored to be over 6 million dollar, by himself. Tommy refuses to reveal his age, as Tommy tries to pass himself off as a much young man than he appears to be. The film does a really strong job of playing these odd mysteries off as more than just eccentric behavior. We never do find out the answers as Tommy refuses to give any straight answers to these questions.
The movie was really funny, but there was way more depth to it besides just the humor. The movie looked closely at the relationship between Tommy and Greg, and they were able to connect the audience to these people. Honestly, there were several moments in this movie where I truly felt for Tommy, despite the fact that he was ridiculous and very unaware of his short-comings. The scene where Tommy was at the premiere and the crowd was laughing, the film took several moments to focus on James Franco and his reactions were just crushing. That would not mean near as much if this was simply a satire of Tommy Wiseau and this terrible movie.
Fact is, it is clear that James Franco and everyone involved in The Disaster Artist has a healthy respect for Tommy Wiseau and the movie that he made, even if it is the worst film ever made. That respect comes through in the film.
Seth Rogan and Paul Scheer are in the film as part of the crew that questions the insanity that was everywhere. They were wonderful, and it might have been my favorite Set Rogan performance ever. They were the voice of the audience as we wondered exactly what was wrong with Tommy Wiseau. Rogan’s delivery was pitch perfect.
The movie also showed the other side of Tommy Wiseau as well. There were many times where Tommy was jealous or was vengeful. He wanted things his way and if there was anything that he did not like, he did not respond well to it. Petty things such as not allowing the crew to have water in the hot studio or verbally abusing the actors because Alfred Hitchcock did it too.
The Disaster Artist is a great movie. I loved it. There are so many great moments of heart and humanity, along with the humor and the oddity that made The room such a cult classic. James and Dave Franco are great in the movie, anchoring a cast of huge acting stars, including a group of filmmakers (including Kevin Smith, JJ Abrams etc) opening the film with words about The room.
And the Disaster Artist is not only funny, but it is strangely inspirational. Tommy Wiseau did not allow the problems circling him to stop him from reaching for his dream of making a movie. Despite it being perceived in a manner that Tommy did not want, no one could take that fact away from him.
The Disaster Artist is a great film about the making of a terrible one. I would recommend seeing The room before you go to the Disaster Artist because seeing The Room does help in certain moments. The end of the film features several of the most infamous scenes from The Room side by side with recreations in The Disaster Artist and this shows the level of commitment by this cast of actors.
By the way, stay through the credits to the every end as there is a post credit scene.
The is one of the best movies of the year. I was remarkably entertained.