North Texas Daily

The Dose: ‘The Disaster Artist’ pays respects to a cult classic

The Dose: ‘The Disaster Artist’ pays respects to a cult classic

The Dose: ‘The Disaster Artist’ pays respects to a cult classic
March 22
00:01 2017

Sitting down in Austin’s Paramount Theatre for its premiere of “The Disaster Artist,” it was clear from Seth Rogen and the Franco brothers’ intro that they wanted to document “The Room” in an affectionate way. Granted, the making of “the ‘Citizen Kane’ of bad movies” is ripe for biting satire. But James Franco – who directed – culled some amazing talent to tell this absurd story through a genuine love for the film and its creator. And it’s absolutely wonderful.

Based on Greg Sestero’s memoir of the same name, the film centers on him (Dave Franco) and his early friendship with Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). A young man with aspirations of acting, he quickly connects with Wiseau’s Hollywood ambitions – despite Wiseau’s eccentricities, outdated hair and ambiguous accent that he attributes to Louisiana.

After meeting in San Francisco, they both move to Los Angeles to jump-start their careers, only for Wiseau to realize that his best bet is producing and directing a movie all by himself.

Unlike other movies about behind-the-scenes filmmaking, James Franco’s decision to make this a buddy comedy blends sincerity with the requisite chaos we all know and love him for. Fortunately, his direction is subtle enough to complement the slice-of-life nature of the story, while his artsy sensibilities are sparingly saved for onscreen texts that jab at how serious movies handle temporal transitions.

For the first movie to star both Francos, the leads throw themselves into their roles, with James Franco delivering his most career-defining performance since “127 Hours.” He reportedly studied Wiseau’s voice in his car for hours, akin to how the real Wiseau studied James Dean in his formative years prior to funding “The Room,” and his performance completely nails the cult legend’s cadence, presence and warped views of filmmaking.

Dave Franco, who’s the heart of the film, does a really solid job of making Greg Sestero a relatable human being that just wants the best for his comrade. Even if his comrade doesn’t quite jibe with the rest of reality.

For hardcore fans of “The Room,” the film has this “Ed Wood” meets “Boogie Nights” vibe that works to its advantage. Oscillating between recreations of classic scenes, and coworkers mocking Wiseau’s vision, “The Disaster Artist” is an hour and 40 minutes of nonstop hilarity.

Thanks to some great supporting performers, such as Seth Rogen as the script supervisor, Zac Efron as one of Wiseau’s actors and Hannibal Buress as a co-owner of the stage itself, this is a zany true story told by some of the best in the business.

Since it was written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber – who wrote the hits “500 Days of Summer” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” as well as the underrated “The Spectacular Now” – their mastery of comic character depth makes this one of the strongest Franco/Rogen efforts. Unlike their previous efforts “Sausage Party” and “The Interview,” where improvisation superseded refined running gags or a concrete plot, the tight script from Neustadter and Weber reigns in every comedian and keeps their humor on topic.

Whenever the final cut hits theaters, go see “The Disaster Artist” big and loud. If you’re a fan of cult cinema, like so many of us who gave the film a standing ovation, this is the most fun film since “Ed Wood” to detail that subculture. You may even want to play football afterwards.

Featured Image: Dave Franco and James Franco as Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau in “The Disaster Artist.” SXSW.

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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  1. Filmflack
    Filmflack March 22, 18:42

    Good article Preston Mitchell….. It was an amazing pleasure to be a consultant to James Franco for his upcoming motion picture The Disaster Artist, based on the best selling book with the same title, about the making of the worst motion picture ever made-THE ROOM. . But before this, there was an experience I will never forget, being the publicist for Tommy Wiseau and the original roll out marketing campaign for THE Room in 2003. My scars have healed. LOL. Congrats to Tommy Wiseau and Good luck to all involved. Read Greg Sestero’s book The Disaster Artist. Fascinating..and they even spelled my name right. lol. Edward Lozzi, ,

    Reply to this comment
  2. James Crowley
    James Crowley March 29, 18:31

    My friend saw it at SXSW and loved it.

    Reply to this comment

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