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An award-worthy performance from James Franco and a fantastic script make The Disaster Artist one of the year’s best films.

Summary

This release is an adaptation of Greg Sestero’s “The Disaster Artist” which details the making of Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. James Franco directs and plays Wiseau while his brother Dave portrays Sestero (Tommy’s producing partner). Franco has roles for some of the familiar faces we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in his films (for example Seth Rogen plays script supervisor Sandy Schklair), what makes this release unique is the amount of laugh out loud cameos it has.

The Disaster Artist

What Worked

Franco’s performance as Wiseau was fantastic. It wasn’t so much that he nailed his accent or even his mannerisms, it was that he was able to capture Tommy’s idealistic nature. While he didn’t have the looks or charm of leading man, it didn’t stop him from continually putting himself out there. Embarrassment was just part of the process in his eyes. He had a dream to be the next big thing and was successful in his quest. Did it go according to plan? No, but everyone came to remember this film for a different reason. What was compelling about Franco’s portrayal was he didn’t merely show Wiseau as content with his newfound fame. Tommy is on display for everyone to see. His performance is on par with likes of Johnny Depp in Ed Wood.

Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber construct a narrative that managed to capture the ludicrous circumstances behind this passion project on top of the humanity of all the individuals involved. The idiosyncrasies of Tommy are a large part of the film, but we also get the innocence of Sestero as he morphs from someone with stage fright to a daring young actor.

The pacing was adequate, and none of the narrative lags.

The film does attempt to explore the relationship between Sestero and Wiseau. What starts off as a friendship with pure intentions ends up being an obsession. Did Tommy develop feelings for his roommate?

The attention to detail was incredible. During the credits, they even set up a split screen between The Disaster Artist and The Room and the accuracy between the two was remarkable.

Ari Gaynor and Zac Efron deserve recognition as well. Gaynor plays the love interest Lisa in The Room while Efron plays Chris R. It takes a degree of talent to come off that terrible on screen. Each was crucial in demonstrating the absurdity of the project.

I love that the film is an ode to the dreamers. The Disaster Artist is undoubtedly proof that no matter how absurd your dream might be if you work hard (and have a spare six-million dollars) then it can happen.

Overall

While The Disaster Artist is undoubtedly worthy of being on most top ten lists for 2017, it’s probably not a film that could earnestly contend for Best Picture. However, the performance of James Franco certainly has put him as a lock to be nominated at both the Globes and The Oscars. No one has to subject themselves to The Room so they can enjoy the film. The Disaster Artist is a fascinating look at a man who defied all the odds and got his passion project made. It may not have been the fame he sought, but his movie still resonates to this day.

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I'm a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and have been doing reviews for many years. My views on film are often heard in markets such as Atlanta, Houston, and satellite radio. My wife often tolerates my obsession for all things film related and two sons are at an age now where 'Trolls' is way cooler than dad. Follow me on twitter @mrsingleton.