Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Disaster Artist: Movie Review


Hysterically funny real-life nonsense.
After just a few funny scenes of The Disaster Artist, I started getting antsy, that maybe I shouldn’t be laughing at one man’s lunacy, but there are two good points to keep in mind. As much as this is a comedy about the making of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (it is – and a very funny one at that), it’s mainly about friendship and the pursuit of dreams, and Tommy Wiseau is all for it. 2017

Directed by: James Franco

Screenplay by: Scott Neustadter, Michael Weber
Based on book by Greg Sestero, Tom Bissell

Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco

Tommy Wiseau is completely out of touch with society, but he does at least recognize that his film is being mocked. However, that also means that his film, something he poured his heart and soul and a lot of money into for years, is being watched, and how many people can say that?

The film opens in a San Francisco area acting class. Young Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) wants to be an actor but he’s not good at emoting or opening himself up to others, but then Tommy (James Franco) comes bounding from the back of the room, screaming “STELLA!” while writhing on the floor and hanging from the rafters. Greg is in awe of Tommy’s unabashed performance, unfortunately, doesn’t recognize it for the nonsense that it is, and wants to be tutored by Tommy in the art of acting. Soon the pair are off to Hollywood with Tommy’s money (which nobody knows how much he has or where it comes from).

Tommy’s few attempts to make it big are pretty funny – including a restaurant scene with a reasonably considerate Judd Apatow until Tommy makes it through multiple stanzas of a laughably bad attempt at Shakespeare. The true comedy comes when Tommy realizes that to make it in Hollywood, he’s going to have to make his own movie. With absolutely no clue how it’s done, or even with enough common sense to write a coherent movie, he has purchased himself a “real Hollywood movie set” complete with professional cameramen and script supervisors.

Some of these scenes truly make this the funniest movie of the year; Tommy attempting to act even though he can’t remember any of the lines that he wrote – he can’t even get the context right let alone the words right; and not to be outdone by himself, Tommy also directs himself in an hysterically funny, epic death scene.

The heart of this film lies completely with Dave Franco as Greg Sestero. I always found Greg the more interesting of the duo because while it’s easy to just label Tommy as weird, there’s more to Greg. It was a bit of naivete that had him pair up with Tommy in the first place, but he’s a good looking guy, and a teachable guy, it’s quite believable that he could have had an actual Hollywood career with just a bit of patience and persistence. Not so with Tommy, and when he presents Greg with a finished script and a leading role in the movie and complete faith that it will get made and seen, it’s hard to say no.

Viewers stick with the film in a similar way that Greg sticks with Tommy: he cares for him, and we can’t wait to see the actual, real-life nonsense that the disaster artist gets into.
Best of 2017