The Disaster Artist (2017) – Review

James Franco delivers a career best performance in the best comedy of the year.

Hollywood is a dark place at the moment, now more so than ever, but there is a shining light and it comes in the most unexpected of places. The Disaster Artist is in many ways, the true fairytale ending for this “real Hollywood” story; taking inspiration from a film that was a massive flop-turned actual cult phenomenon, into a serious contender if awards buzz is anything to believe.

The Disaster Artist is of course a film about the making of “the best worst movie ever”, The Room, inspired by star Greg Sestero’s memoirs of the same name, as he experienced first-hand the weirdness and wizardry of the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau. After making a measly $1800 on its opening weekend, it was destined to fade into nothingness, however it later attracted a huge cult following at midnight screenings, something akin to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Fans would show up in costume, armed with plastic spoons, and every witty heckle imaginable, and screenings of The Room still sell-out across the world.

It has, up until now, remained just that; a cult movie with a fanatical but still niche audience. The Disaster Artist sees this turned on its head however, and James Franco in particular is already receiving some buzz about his performance as director/producer/writer/star of The Room, Tommy Wiseau.

Fact is, Franco’s performance is an absolute work of art, reputedly he was so deep into his method acting, there were times that he directed the movie (The Disaster Artist) as if he was Wiseau. His mannerisms, voice, and particularly that trademark laugh, are absolutely uncanny, and great care and attention has gone into ensuring that The Room‘s most beloved scenes and moments are recreated with pinpoint precision.

There is evidently a huge appreciation for the source material, and it is likely this film will be two different experiences based on whether you have seen The Room or not. For fans of The Room, this is everything you could ask for and so much more and just the very fact this film exists is exciting all on its own. For people who have never seen or heard of The Room, there is still enough depth and purpose to this film to make it entertaining. At its core, it is a story of friendship, of dreaming big, and of striving to achieve your dreams no matter what obstacles stand in the way; and this has resonating powers beyond The Room.

With their real-life friendship remarkably still in tact, it is fitting that the pairing of Wiseau and Sestero be played by the Franco brothers; they have a chemistry which is natural and they simply light up the screen together. Dave Franco as Greg Sestero, provides the perfect straight-laced balance to Wiseau’s madness, very much as it is for the real pair. The supporting cast and cameos offer endless treats as well, with Seth Rogen, Paul Scheer, Allison Brie, and Zac Efron, the latter of which arguably steals the show.

James Franco is undoubtedly the most in-tune with his character, and there’s more parallels between Franco in real-life and Wiseau that make this a match made in heaven. Franco’s films are frequently experimental, doing his own thing in the way he wants it, and often met with critical opinions. Whilst the mysteries of Wiseau’s wealth may never be answered, he is equally a man who plays by his own rules, and it is for this reason that Franco is such inspired casting.

Consistently hilarious, surprisingly heart-warming, and irresistibly charming, The Disaster Artist is unquestionably the funniest film of the year, and in the most unexpected (and roundabout) of ways, The Room might finally be destined for the awards attention Wiseau so craved. Truly a “real Hollywood movie” and an utter delight. Oh hai Oscars!


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