Sunday, 7 January 2018

The Disaster Artist Film Review

I appeared to have missed the other Room, written by, directed by, produced by and starring Tommy Wiseau. But how delicious sounded A24's The Disaster Artist, and the making of the 2003 original. What a treat that tickles the funny bone as we gawp in horror at the car crash that is being filmed on the other screen. Except The Room is now a cult classic, and the actual story really quite sad. And hilarious.

Directed by and starring James Franco with brother Dave Franco, as Tommy and Greg Sestero, The Disaster Artist sees them playing would be actors in San Francisco. Blown away by Tommy's Marlon Brando, while waiting for Godot in acting class, Greg is mesmerised. Tommy is a dark mystery from New Orleans via deepest darkest Transylvania! He suggests to Greg that they move to LA to become actors, he has another apartment there. As you do. Let's say that Greg's mother is not impressed with this weird Mercedes car driving guy of indeterminable age taking her teenage son off to LA. But they're off for Tom and Greg's Excellent Adventure

Greg lands an agent and has potential, Greg who wrote The Disaster Artist is an attractive guy, Tommy not so much. Maybe a dark Dracula style role? But when neither get offered work, Tommy decides he's going to put the show on right here. He will write a script, direct the movie, star in it obviously, and put up all the money. Plus there's the role of a lifetime for Greg. Oh hi Mark.

And he does just that. Dreaming of James Dean greatness. With a cameraman documenting the masterpiece.

First thing they need is the camera equipment, well of course they'll shoot it on different film simultaneously. Normally you hire the equipment, but Tommy wants to buy the whole lot. A deal is done on the proviso that they shoot the movie at the studio where they buy the lights and camera. Result. A brilliant and experienced team is put together, with Seth Rogan hilarious as Sandy the script editor (you couldn't make this up), and wondering whether Tommy has even seen a movie, prior to writing, acting and directing this one. Even more blown away is his character when he goes to cash his pay check, surprisingly it doesn't bounce, and the cashier tells him that Tommy's account is a bottomless pit of money. But even today no-one knows where this money actually came from.

Given that The Room is described as the worst film ever made this was amazing. How many times do you go see a comedy where you laugh twice and wonder what all the fuss was all about. I have no idea what the original film was about while we watch the scenes being shot. Zac Efron played a very strange role. But Tommy cannot act, with 50 plus takes of Oh hi Mark. And his empathy level is below zero, as Greg describes an emotional moment, and his reaction is to manically laugh.

And of course finally the film is in the can, and although Tommy and Greg have grown apart, Greg was up for an woodsman role in Malcolm In The Middle, with an impressive beard and axe, (it's a long story), but Tommy wants his friend at the premiere. He hires a cinema for two weeks to make the film eligible for the 2003 Oscars. The cinema is full with cast, crew and expectant viewers. And of course it is a disaster.

There's a weird Friends vibe and an even weirder John Travolta one to the clips below. I saw it pre-Christmas but promise you won't be disappointed with The Disaster Artist.

It is nominated at the Golden Globes tonight for Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, so a good night for A24 with Lady Bird also nominated. Neither Lady Bird nor I, Tonya have opened in the UK yet. And James Franco is nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy. And I have seen all the actors nominated, and they are all excellent, so good luck to all.

But I wonder whether tonight might be Tommmy Wiseau's night, when the acting industry finally give him what he thinks are his long overdue rewards. He and Greg could be the biggest surprise of the night.

Fingers crossed that dreaming big can one day pay off.

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