Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Finding beauty in “The Disaster Artist”

Every once in a while, a movie recommendation will come for a less than normal reason, something outside of the realm of the movie just being really good. Maybe the person recommending it has family acting in the film, or maybe they connect on a deeply personal level with the story. But more often than not, recommendations like this come because the movie is the type of grisly accident that just makes it impossible to look away from. Tommy Wiseau’s The Room is one of those movies.
In the following time, the film has garnered a huge cult following, selling out theaters regularly for midnight showings, and somehow miraculously turning a profit on the 6-million-dollar movie that made $1,800 on its opening weekend.
Now, 14 years after the original disaster’s initial release, James Franco is directing and starring in The Disaster Artist­—based on the book of the same name­. A true story about how this shambling, plot-hole filled, awkwardly acted masterpiece made it to movie screens in the first place.
Franco is pitch perfect as Wiseau himself, nailing the distracted, vacant look and indistinguishable accent so characteristic of the man. Franco nails the physicality of Wiseau as well, which Franco has said in interviews he achieved by watching every single hour of the behind-the-scenes filming that Wiseau had done on the set of The Room. Franco’s studying clearly pays off, as not a person in the theater wasn’t laughing when Franco’s Wiseau made his first sad attempt at throwing a football.
The rest of the star-studded cast brings their A game as well. Dave Franco is energetic and fresh-faced as Wiseau’s best friend and co-star in the room, Greg Sestero. Dave Franco’s performance as Greg toes the line perfectly between a fascination with and desire to understand Wiseau’s weirdness, and the struggles of being completely unable to deal with a man so seemingly willfully ignorant of reality.
Seth Rogen is also hilarious as script supervisor Sandy, the dripping with sarcasm foil to every one of Wiseau’s bizarre decisions. Zac Efron, Josh Hutcherson, Ari Graynor, Jacki Weaver, and Nathan Fielder all do an excellent job in smaller parts rounding out the cast of Wiseau’s bizarre movie.
The screenplay, written by Michael H. Weber and Scott Neustadter, isn’t necessarily a story nobody has heard before. Just last year, La La Land wowed audiences and critics with a story about trying to make it big in Hollywood. But, the acting dream story has never been told quite the way The Disaster Artist tells it before.
When Greg Sestero meets Tommy Wiseau, he’s intrigued by how bizarre he is, and eventually moves with him to LA to pursue acting. After facing rejection after rejection, Wiseau decides he will write, produce, direct, and star in his own movie, The Room.
The focus of the rest of the movie is the process of creating that film, and the eccentricities that occasionally throw it completely off the tracks. By the end though, what is left in The Disaster Artist is a genuinely heartfelt message about friendship, individuality, and not giving up on our dreams, even if those dreams don’t turn out at all the way we imagined. Because, even if we’re not remembered the exact way we wanted to be, we can still all be remembered.The Disaster Artist opened December 1st, 2017 in select theaters.

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Finding beauty in “The Disaster Artist”