‘THE DISASTER ARTIST’ (2017) Movie Review – A Spectacular Film About a Not-So Spectacular Film….
Oh hai guys….. The Disaster Artist is a biographical drama/comedy directed by and starring James Franco about the creative process behind the creation of what has been heralded as the best worst move of all time. Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 film The Room sits in that “so bad it’s good” realm and where it is a great film to watch and laugh at it also has a very intriguing story behind it, one that is fascinatingly fleshed out here in this phenomenal movie. And that’s what I love most about The Disaster Artist; it could have very easily been all about taking the piss out of the utter ridiculousness of The Room but it goes so far beyond that. Yes it very successfully highlights the crazy and hilarious factors that went into the making of the movie but it also explores Tommy Wiseau as a person, a unique individual with a dream to become an all-American hero. The performances across the board are absolutely incredible especially from James Franco who completely transforms into Wiseau to the point of being almost entirely unrecognisable. But most importantly this movie is absolutely hysterical.
The pacing of this movie is straight up immaculate, from beginning to end it moves along so damn well and as you move from one section of Tommy’s life to the next it all flows very fluidly. And there isn’t a dull moment, when it’s focusing on the more comedic side of things it’s hilarious and you’re enjoying yourself, and then when it switches to Tommy he is such an interesting person that his evolving relationship with Greg becomes just as fascinating. The core focus of the story is very much the making of this hilariously bad film and it is endlessly entertaining for a multitude of reasons. There is so much that went on behind the scenes that I didn’t know about to where learning about the production from the writing to the filming and all the way up to the release of the movie was a massive eye opener. This isn’t your typical movie-about-a-movie scenario here, the absurdity of everything going on makes this movie (just like The Room) unlike any out there.
I touched on the performances before but I need to really highlight the incredible amount of effort James Franco puts into playing Tommy. Everything about his performance from his body language to subtle mannerisms and accent is absolutely on point. If you closed your eyes and listened to Franco in this movie and then Wiseau’s voice you actually almost wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, it’s that spot on. Within minutes you forget about Franco and all you see is Wiseau in all his ridiculous glory, this completely sucks you into the story from the get-go. The casting of Dave Franco as Greg Sestero is also yet another absolutely genius move that works so damn well here. He has his own fantastic character moments which Dave sells beautifully but it is his chemistry with his real-life brother that really shines. Their relationship is so crucial to the development of this story that if it doesn’t work everything goes to shit. But I bought their friendship entirely and everything seemed purely authentic.
The rest of the supporting roles are pretty minor but just as well cast and just as well executed as James and Dave Franco’s. Seth Rogen contributes to some hilarious moments, Josh Hutcherson gets in there as well and there is a cameo from another A-list actor that is one of the funniest laugh-out-loud moments of the entire thing. But the bulk of the humour doesn’t come from explicit jokes, much of it comes through the surreal nature of things going on and the crazy things some characters say. I found myself constantly laughing and it almost never lets up right up to when the credits begin to roll.
I was very much looking forward to seeing this movie to see how it would explore the story behind the making of this notoriously bad movie but I wasn’t prepared for just how spectacular it would be. The performances are mesmerising, the story is both hilarious and seriously intriguing, the character arcs are strong and actually go places…. In other words they used a movie where all things things fail as the subject and used it to create a movie that excels in all of these departments. I very much recommend checking out The Room before watching this movie (and with a group of people) to get the most out of it. It’s endlessly entertaining, one of the best movies of the year, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this shows up at the Oscars.