Movie Review: The Delightful Disaster Artist

Movie Review: The Delightful Disaster Artist
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Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins has been a reporter with Oakville News since 2016. Covering local news and live events, he specializes in film, theatre, and entertainment. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. Tyler is a proud graduate of Journalism and Performing Arts from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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There are hundreds of movies about making movies and movie themselves. It’s unsurprising to learn that the talented (and less so) people who make movies often like telling stories about the movies they make. But like the film that inspired it, The Disaster Artist is unlike anything before it.

New Line Cinema’s new comedy biography follows the real-life friendship of aspiring actors Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau. Played by real-life brothers Dave and James Franco, friends Greg and Tommy set out to produce their own Hollywood movie in 2002 Los Angeles.

That movie they made? It’s a cult classic called The Room. It’s known as “The best worst movie ever made,” whose making inspired a novel by Sestero, in turn inspiring The Disaster Artist. If you’ve never seen The Room…you’re missing something extraordinary.

Among film aficionados, The Room is known as a treasure. It’s filled with plot holes, erratic dialogue and behavior, and contradictory facts. Combined with no consistency between scenes, it’s as painful to watch as it is cutely hilarious.

It’s hard not to become obsessed with the ridiculousness of The Room. The 2003 film’s strangeness plus its famously awful writing and direction have made it infamous. And now, so has the story about the film’s creation.

But the most interesting element in this odd moment of Hollywood history is its central character, Tommy Wiseau. Deeply passionate, optimistic, and a compulsive liar, it’s impossible to silence his creativity and vision (however flawed it is.)

Photo: New Line Cinema.

Photo: New Line Cinema.

James Franco’s directorial debut in The Disaster Artist mirrors the exact arc of Wiseau making The Room. Both directors starred in their own films with intense dedication – and Franco’s portrayal of Wiseau is immaculate. He captures everything flawlessly from Wiseau’s indistinguishable background to his untraceable actions as a filmmaker.

While James’ performance will be remembered as one of his greatest character studies, as director he smartly focuses on Tommy’s friend Greg as the protagonist. Seeing Tommy’s ludicrous behavior through sensible eyes lets audiences see things with as much heart and empathy as they do laughter.

Franco’s movie is both a love letter to the art of making movies, but also an optimist’s love letter to ambition. For a comedy, it’s far more dramatic and occasionally plain instead of consistently funny. But when the laughs come, boy do they deliver.

Halfway through, in a recreation of Tommy’s first scene during The Room’s shooting, Franco stars in the funniest scene of the year. It’s a spectacle of acting that pays off handsomely. Like most of the film, it’s the best of actors effectively showing the perils of acting and the challenge of sharing their vulnerability with the world.

The movie’s themes and emotional impact will be far greater for real-life artists who come to see the movie. Beyond them and obsessive fans of the cult sensation, it may be hard to appreciate the intricacies of Franco’s work.

Being a true-life story, there’s more history than can be reasonably fit into a regular length movie. (Though they could cut maybe ten minutes of the first act.) To find The Disaster Artist truly funny, you need to be in on the joke a bit.

Audiences who see The Room will certainly find The Disaster Artist more rewarding. But all audiences who come to the theatre will be wholly engrossed and fully entertained. It’s a testament to the mystery and the completeness of souls when dreams come true.

And the real Tommy Wiseau can say he made a Hollywood movie. Again.

The Disaster Artist
3 out of 4 stars

14A, 1hrs 43mins. Comedy Biopic.
Directed by James Franco.
Starring Dave Franco, James Franco, Alison Brie and Seth Rogen.
Now Playing at Cineplex Winston Churchill.

Look here for more current movie reviews by Tyler Collins. For breaking movie news and reviews, you can follow him on Twitter at @MrTyCollins.


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