There are two distinct period in my life: Before The Room and After The Room. Widely considered the worst film of all time, The Room is a piece of cinematic history. I believe it is a masterpiece, not one of exquisite taste, plot or cinematography, but one of commerciality. Wiseau, who directed, produced, and starred in The Room set out to make a hard hitting picture of betrayal and its effects on the human psyche but ended up making something so dire that it was brilliant. This now consistently sells out midnight screenings all over the world and provides the lion’s share of both Wiseau and Sestero’s incomes. The Disaster artist is an excellent exploration of Greg Sestero’s ((“oh hi”)Mark in The Room) book of the same name. James Franco directed and starred alongside his brother, Dave Franco and his wife Alison Brie (Community, Mad Men, Glow).
The Room is a bad movie. No question. Whether or not it is officially The Worst Movie Of All Time is a matter of taste (countless films, from Sex Lives Of The Potato Men to Superman IV, could easily jostle for that crown of thorns), but cult status and midnight screenings have turned it into something else entirely: a latter-day Plan 9 From Outer Space, an icon of so-bad-it’s-good cinema, reaching beyond its meagre ambitions to become a timeless slice of outsider art. The question at its heart: how could a film so oddly incompetent ever exist in completed form? Empire
The Disaster Artist answers this question. It tells the story of how Sestero and Wiseau met at an acting class and became fast friends, ultimately facing mass rejection after moving to Los Angeles and getting the idea of making their own film. This is where the Room begins. One of my favourite scenes in the film is when Wiseau hands Sestero a script of The Room in a diner, Sestero’s expression goes from excited to frightened when Tommy asks him to read the entire script there and then!
Franco allows himself the occasional snark, mostly through Sandy Schklair, the weary script supervisor played by Seth Rogen, hat-tipping the irony that the original film is usually viewed through. But elsewhere, it’s a surprisingly serious ode to the Quixotic chase of the Hollywood dream. It’s like La La Land for losers, where following your dream leads to failure and ridicule instead of romance and success. Empire
The film’s making is unusually excessive. Wiseau spent some $6million on the production, choosing to purchase filming equipment instead of renting it, construct a set of a back alley identical to one directly outside the studio and hiring a full crew for the film’s production. The filming took place over 58 days and The Disaster Artist makes us privy to the beautifully incremental tension which builds between the two main protagonists during those days.
Ultimately, The Disaster Artist culminates in a screening of The Room, initially taken seriously but quickly succumbing to the unintended comedy (for example Lisa’s mother getting breast cancer “I got the results of the test back. I definitely have breast cancer.” – never to be mentioned again in the rest of the film). This comedic take on Wiseau’s work sustains it to this day and makes it the legend of B movie excellence that it is.
Overall, this is a moving tribute to one of the best worst films of all time. I cannot recommend this enough.