Everything is wrong with The Room from the dialogue to the acting, the lighting to the cinematography. Subplots are introduced and disregarded and character relationships are unexplained. All in all, it’s a terrible movie dubbed ‘the Citizen Kane of awful’. Despite this, however, people still talk about it as it has developed a cult status like no other. Midnight screenings are packed and Q&A sessions with director Tommy Wiseau are sold out as people ironically, yet lovingly, laugh their way through the stilted dialogue, terrible acting and nonconsequential plotting with a box full of plastic spoons in the arsenal.
Directed by James Franco The Disaster Artist is based on the book of the same name by Greg Sestero (who played Mark in the film) which tells the story of Sestero’s infamous collaboration with Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) in the creation of what is often regarded as the worst film ever made, The Room.
The cult following The Room does get can easily be seen as an ironic mocking of Wiseau’s film, but the crowd generally seem to love packing theatres and holler at the film and Wiseau laps up the attention. So, the careful line James Franco has to balance was not to be seen to mock Wiseau and his eccentric personality and terrible filmmaking prowess because simply mocking Wiseau is paramount to public bullying. However, the film avoids doing this (despite inviting you to laugh at the film’s awfulness and at Wiseau expense) as it paints him as a sympathetic figure where his oddball personality causes him to be plagued by ever present loneliness, envy of others and failure at every turn.
James Franco’s performance tows the line between playing the character for laughs and bringing a lot of empathy to role. Franco does embody the character of Wiseau, mimicking his awkward laugh and strange vocal patterns but his film and his performance serves as more of a salute to Wiseau than a two-hour roast. The film celebrates Wiseau’s ambition and empathises with him greatly as we share and experience his failures. The film also focuses on his often cruel treatment of his crew and his extreme jealously of his more talented, more normal and better looking friend, Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) who acts as the viewer’s main insight into the disastrous ordeal of making The Room
The Disaster Artist is a crowd pleaser on every level and whilst seeing The Room isn’t a requirement its heavily recommended that you both see The Room and watch The Disaster Artist with a crowd who would gladly pack out a midnight screening of Wiseau’s notorious “failure”. James Franco’s film celebrates Wiseau and whilst Wiseau’s film may be poor, The Disaster Artist salutes a man who gave it a go, which is a damn sight more than a lot of other people. Whist Wiseau is the butt of a few of the film’s jokes, it’s not a mean spirited roasting but a rather affectionate celebration of him in a bizarre sort of way.