Although The Disaster Artist is a straight-forward film, its genesis and its reason to exist comes from an impenetrably bizarre place. It seems like we all know about The Room, which was released back in 2003 and even to this day still enjoys screenings at Luna cinemas, as it’s now regarded as a so-bad-it’s-good classic.
The infamous behind-the-scenes details seemed even stranger than the film itself, which were written about in The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Film Ever Made, scribed by the film’s lead actor Greg Sestero. Although this film is an entirely different beast to the miraculous monstrosity that is The Room, it’s a suitable companion piece that illustrates and makes meaning of this surreal movie development that began with a friendship between two aspiring actors.
Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) is a struggling and aspiring actor who meets the very eccentric Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) in his acting class, where the two share both an aspiration for being renowned actors and their frustration at the competitive nature of the acting world in Los Angeles. The decision for them to work together to make a film called The Room is made, though there are many mysteries from Tommy, such as what his exact origins are, how he’s getting all the money for the project, why he wants to buy the equipment instead of borrow it, and how much of his film is autobiographical. Not many answers are given as shooting begins on what ends up being a masterpiece of badness – the cast and crew seem to suspect the film they’re making is purely inept, but they never expected it would register with an audience this large for so long.
It didn’t take too long for The Room to gain a cult following, and for Tommy Wiseau to be crowned the new Ed Wood, but this film focuses on the unusual circumstances that made The Room the disasterpiece it ended up being. This is the perfect film for lovers of cinema – films about filmmaking are a rather rare breed, and this is a top-quality entry of this specific genre.
The filmmaking scenes are a hoot, with most of the laughs coming from James Franco’s spot-on performance as Tommy, but it’s the scenes between himself and his filmmaking friend Greg that touch upon the core of the film; an unlikely couple whose shared ambitions have propelled them to success beyond their dreams – just a different kind of success than what they were expecting.