In The Disaster Artist, James Franco reconstructs the making of The Room, a film that is so astonishingly bad that you can’t but laugh and let your imagination run wild. Is that disaster tourism?
The Disaster Artist is author-poet-director-screenwriter-actor James Franco’s – the guy from Spider-Man, Oz the Great and Powerful, and Milk – most entertaining film. He usually directs decent film adaptations of books to which few people pay any attention.
Franco entertains his audiences with a reconstruction of the making of The Room, commonly considered the best worst film ever made. He plays Tommy Wiseau, the odd duck who directed and financed The Room.
Everything about this man is strange: his voice, the way he moves, his reasoning, his motivations, his language, and his inability to see his own shortcomings. It is consequently not entirely clear if Franco is attempting to emphasize Wiseau’s clownish characteristics. He makes you laugh, but also seems to ask for your empathy for the eccentric.
Delusions of grandeur
It was never Wiseau’s intention to make a guilty pleasure, he does not revel in the tasteless and grotesque intentionally. The Room is an unironic, sincere, and passionate attempt to make a semi-autobiographical relationship-drama about getting cheated on by your lover and best friend. His failure is hilarious but also touching, just like his delusions of grandeur and need for attention and recognition.
Franco details the chaos, gawkiness, and insanity that characterized the making of the film with verve, as well as its catastrophic première. And yet something is wrong. The Room is special, while The Disaster Artist is just well made and entertaining.
Perhaps the problem is that Franco underestimates what makes The Room so special. It is not only the film’s strange prehistory and appalling result, but also how cult-loving audiences have appropriated the film.
During screenings, viewers steal the show with ritualized interactions: laughing like Tommy, throwing plastic spoons at the screen, shouting Unfocus! when Tommy’s hairy ass comes into shot… But Tommy Wiseau has come to love these conventions.
> The Disaster Artist. US, dir.: James Franco, act.: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen