Always "Room" for Improvement - The Disaster Artist (REVIEW)
For years I had heard about "The Room" from friends and got the gist of the film and just how awful it was. Then I heard they were making a film about it based on the book "The Disaster Artist" written by Greg Sestero, one of the actors in the film. I read the book and then watched the movie and I was so glad I did. It brought me into this wonderful world of Tommy Wiseau and what a great bad movie can be.
Now the question on everyone's mind, do you need to have read the book or seen the movie to enjoy this film? For maximum enjoyment absolutely. There are a few gaps that get filled thanks to the book that for some reason aren't entirely explained in the movie. Most of it is there, but like with any screen adaptation the nuance is a bit lost.
I am so in on the whole concept of The Room and the relationship of Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero that this film was a nice refresher of that relationship. It's a live action Cliff Notes of the weirdness of that film and it is also at times very touching and digs into the dynamic of Greg and Tommy and how they ultimately shaped and helped each other fall upwards into something truly special. While Tommy's feelings do take a fast turn around in the movie at the end I was just smiling and a tad teary watching Tommy's reaction to everyone else watching the film he had worked so hard to create against everyone's rejection of him.
I wish this film was longer so we could have spent more time with Greg and Tommy, that relationship is so important to the film that the actual Room filming isn't as interesting by comparison. However for the uninitiated that part is required to understand the craziness of what became The Room. James Franco absolutely kills it as Tommy. There were multiple times where I could 100 percent see Wiseau making the comments Franco says and selling it with the same energy and drive that Wiseau has and Dave as the very supportive Greg coming to Tommy when he needed it. They are partners working on a film together that happens to be the oddest of odd couples.
True stories about extremely driven people are my favorite films. ones like The Social Network, Steve Jobs, and The Founder and while this film isn't as good as those it expands the genre in a positive way. Where those are more dramatic and emotional charged films (a Sorkin script helps too), this feels like a love letter to a film that so many people now love in it's own quirky way and it's just fun to see these actors as these real life people celebrating something that has become such a cult hit. Honestly this film had a lot to live up to and I think it was a solid attempt at capturing the experience of "The Room". How do you make something about a film so terrible yet so beloved and do a good job of it? It almost goes against what The Room is and yet The Disaster Artist does a pretty bang up job of presenting this slice of Hollywood history of a film that still regularly sells out monthly midnight viewings and a friendship that would live on for years to come.
This film was a case of once again the book being better than the film but the film serves as a nice Cliff Notes version that keeps the themes alive while condensing the story and trying not to be too mocking of the source it is based on. This may be a bit too inside baseball for some and not quite specific enough for hardcore fans but it does a solid job walking that line. The Francos especially James give winning performances and watching the story of a very passionate man try so hard and fail upwards is a real treat.
An unbelievable Hollywood story, well told