In the annals of cinema’s long and storied history, one would be hard pressed to find a movie as bad as Tommy Wiseau’s ‘The Room.’ Released in the summer of 2003, this so-called “movie” still holds the dubious distinction of being the worst movie ever made, which makes its subsequent cult status as the ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ of bad movies all the more baffling. It’s so bad that it’s awesome? I didn't get it. But now I think I do, thanks to James Franco’s new mockumentary (or could it be homage?) ‘The Disaster Artist’ about the making of the notorious film and Wiseau himself.
In many ways, ‘The Disaster Artist’ is a charming, heart-felt and poignant portrait of friendship between the movie’s two main characters, Wiseau (James Franco) and Greg Sestero (his real-life brother Dave), two struggling wannabe actors who, like Mia in ‘La La Land,’ dream of making it big in Hollywood. With ambitions far outstripping whatever acting skills they possess (none to speak of), they found it hard—big surprise—to break into show business, so Wiseau decided that the best way to overcome this obstacle is to produce, star in and direct his own movie. Six months and six million dollars (bankrolled out of Wiseau’s own pocket because no sane person would even consider financing it) later, ‘The Room’ was the result and the world will never be the same for it.
James Franco was simply Fabio-lous as the eccentric and pathological Wiseau, a big baby who refused to be type-cast as a villain just because he resembled Dracula with his long dark locks and faux Transylvanian accent (he’s a hero!). Dave Franco was equally great as Sestero, the ying to Wiseau’s yang, as their (non-homo) bromance was put to the test by increasing difficulties and strains on and off the set. In our age of MST3K and Rifftrax, there will always be room (excuse the pun) for horrendously bad movies like ‘The Room’ among cinephiles and film geeks alike, but unlike its subject, ‘The Disaster Artist’ is “tearing us apart” not because of how much it blows (which it doesn’t) but because it is so subversively funny at times that it drives us to tears.