Sunday, December 17, 2017

Movie with Abe: The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist
Directed by James Franco
Released December 1, 2017

The 2003 film “The Room,” written by, directed by, produced by, and starring Tommy Wiseau, is widely considered to be one of the worst films of all time. The stories behind the making of some of the best films in history are interesting, as are those about films that didn’t exist at all, like “Argo.” It stands to reason that the making of a film that has been universally decried as terrible, achieving cult status due to how unintentionally entertaining watching it has become, would be worth making a movie about, and it turns out that it definitely is.

Young actor Greg (Dave Franco) meets the inexplicably odd Tommy (James Franco) in acting class in San Francisco, and is drawn to his ability not to care what anyone else thinks of him. Though he speaks with a heavy European accent, Tommy insists that he is from New Orleans, and he refuses to divulge his true age or the source of his considerable funds, which enable him to pay for a spacious apartment in Los Angeles where he invites Greg to live with him. His interest in acting and his mysterious money inspire him to make his dream movie a reality, much to the bewilderment of every person involved who can’t hope to understand his vision.

I haven’t seen the cult classic film whose creation serves as the subject matter for this film, in part because I was hoping that this would stand up all on its own. Fortunately, it does, and this is absolutely a story that deserves to be told. Its presentation is rather straightforward, since Tommy is such a magnetic protagonist that everything in which he’s involved proves to be completely watchable. It’s not clear throughout the film just how bad the end product will truly be, but the process of making it is full of hints that Tommy doesn’t see the world the same way as others, and his ideas aren’t necessarily coherent.

James Franco, who has received numerous award citations for his performance, disappears into this wild character, and he doesn’t seem at all like most of his other excitable roles. He maintains a focus on becoming Tommy throughout the film, and his success is most evident in how different he seems from his real-life brother Dave Franco, who plays the straight man part of Greg, who might have been able to be a good actor had he not been tethered to this unforgettably awful film. A handful of recognizable faces, including Paul Scheer, Seth Rogen, Ari Graynor, Jacki Weaver, and Zac Efron contribute as members of the film’s cast and crew, but this film is first and foremost a look into Tommy’s brain made wonderfully possible by James Franco. A post-credits side-by-side comparison of some of the most iconic moments in “The Room” and their recreation with this film’s actors is stunning, confirming the fact that this wildly unbelievable story did (mostly) actually happen.


No comments: