The Disaster Artist takes on the task of recreating “the Citizen Kane of bad movies”.
James Franco’s The Disaster Artist has just premiered at SXSW in Austin, Texas, and outlets like Variety are already throwing the words ‘Oscar contender’ around, despite the showing being classified as a work in progress. The long awaited film-about-a-film recreates the making of cult classic, The Room. But if you’ve never actually watched it, don’t get confused thinking cult classic means films of the calibre of The Big Lebowski or Rocky Horror Picture Show. It’s probably the worst movie you’ll ever watch.
It’s a struggle to explain what the movie is actually about. This is probably thanks to its disjointed script, the world’s most confusing and bizarre plot line centred around Johnny (played by Tommy Wiseau) and set design that makes Bold and the Beautiful look like Lord of the Rings. Adapted from a 500-page novel written by Tommy himself (in addition to directing, producing and starring in the movie) it uses conversational segues like, “Anyway, how’s your sex life?” or such storytelling devices as, “I used to know a girl who had a dozen guys. One of them found out and beat her up so bad, she ended up in the hospital down Guerrero Street,” to which Wiseau responds, “Haha. What a story, Mark.”
But, the people love it. So much so, that midnight screenings of the movie began to take place despite making only a couple thousand dollars at the box office in the first two weeks it was released. Over the years it’s gained a significant cult following, which explains the hype and anticipation The Disaster Artist has gotten, for essentially a recreation of the greatest worst film of all time. The Disaster Artist is based off a book written by Greg Sestero—who stars in the movie alongside Wiseau—detailing his experiences making The Room and knowing the eccentric and mysterious Wiseau. James Franco takes on the iconic role of Johnny in the film, apparently staying in character the whole time he directed the film, managing to get the accent down after hours of listening to tapes of Wiseau talking.
When Franco initially approached him about playing him in a recreation, Wiseau let him know his first choice would’ve actually been Johnny Depp. “I see some of your work, James, you do some good things, some bad things,” Wiseau said. With cameos from the likes of Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, and Bryan Cranston, it’ll definitely be worthy of a watch, regardless of whether it’s Oscar-worthy or not. And while apparently it doesn’t answer burning questions that so many people have about Wiseau, like where he actually originates from (he claims he’s American but has a strong Eastern European accent) or how he had the 6 million dollars needed to finance the film, but maybe it’s not up to us to speculate. Maybe we should, as Wiseau has Sestero yell in the film, “Leave your stupid comments in your pockets.”