The Disaster Artist Screen 75 of 16 reviews

The Disaster Artist

2017

The Disaster Artist Poster
  • The case could be made that The Disaster Artist is a little too sunny for a movie about a clearly damaged man whose lifelong drive to create something beautiful only led to his becoming a symbol of grand-scale failure. But in addition to making me laugh, hard, at a time when cathartic laughter is all but a medical necessity, this portrait of the artist as a not-so-young weirdo struck me as peculiarly moving.

  • In a weird way, it feels like this is the role James Franco – a clearly talented man – was BORN to play. Nobody else could do it. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t familiar with The Room. Prior knowledge is not necessary. Franco is so hilarious (his portrayal of Tommy Wiseau playing Stanley Kowalski is one for the books), but also manages to find the pathos in this improbable real-life character.

  • What vouchsafed The Room’s success was its astonished and faithful audience, which has kept the film’s spirit alive to this day, so much so that another, kindred disaster artist -both Tommy and Franco love Tennessee Williams, after all- decided to dedicate himself to telling its story, with his own vanity-slash-collaboration-with-my-best-actor-friends project. And just like Tommy, Franco created an unlikely work of art that functions thanks to what should have impaired it: its unbridled hubris.

  • Franco casts himself as Wiseau and his younger brother Dave as Sestero. It’s the sort of idea that seems at first like a Saturday Night Live skit writ large, but proves in practice more like a performance-art conceit, shaded by dint of the brothers’ careful, convincing impersonations of their respective avatars. They render Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero as parts of a fragmented persona, the bland but likeable all-American boy meeting his intense, destabilising, immigrant partner in yearning.

  • With his winning adaptation of The Disaster Artist, director/star James Franco follows the model of Tim Burton's biopic Ed Wood, approaching Wiseau with a delicate balance of affectionate mockery and a heartfelt appreciation for his creative passion.

  • Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, “The Disaster Artist” is a straighter, more obviously commercial-minded project than some of the other movies that Mr. Franco has directed. It’s a divertingly funny movie, but its breeziness can also feel overstated, at times glib and a bit of a dodge. . . . Mr. Franco’s performance keeps you hooked, in large degree because of its entertaining visual spectacle.

  • The film’s ending is a little too neat and subtracts from the movie’s rigorously maintained balance of the square and the weird: Wiseau and Sestero experience a friendship-restoring epiphany that their failed melodrama is tremendously entertaining as an inadvertent comedy. But it has the virtue of getting things over with, before a surprise after the credits. Perhaps Franco’s two decades of résumé mongering has all along been in the service of harnessing the real freak he had inside all along.

  • It's engaging, funny, at times touching, and made with the best of intentions, but I felt unusually anxious for much of the film. Even though we know that Wiseau has gleefully accepted and monetized his own humiliation, there’s something fundamentally depressing about the spectacle of this man’s desperate need to fit in — and his utter inability to do so.

  • In this comedy directed by and starring James Franco, based on the true story of the production of the cult movie “The Room” (2003), Franco displays a wicked joy in portraying the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau . . . Yet the comedy, for all its scenes of giddy wonder, never gets past Tommy’s mask of mystery; avoiding speculation and investigation, it stays on the surface of his public and private shtick, leaving little more than a trail of amusing anecdotes.

  • Normalizing The Room seems as ill-advised as normalizing a certain high profile public office holder, but this is also the most consistently funny mainstream movie I've seen in a long time. (OK, since Girls Trip.) And I say that as someone whose skin crawls at the idea of a fictionalized making of The Room including, in its cast, all three hosts of the smug "How Did This Get Made?" podcast. Low-hanging fruit, and it's a happy miracle that Franco has finally refrained from aiming stupidly high.

  • Throughout, Franco is mesmerisingly odd as the shambling savage innocent, with his peculiar (supposedly New Orleans) accent, aversion to the definite article (“Where script girl?”), odd renditions of familiar names (“the Tennessee William”) and overall resemblance to a fright-wigged Halloween impersonation of Christopher Walken. And Dave Franco is extremely winning as the besotted ingénu caught up in a dysfunctional love story with an idiot Svengali.

  • Among its accomplishments, The Disaster Artist manages to reconcile the two sides of James Franco, the enervating M.F.A. cliché and the winsome comic actor. An account of the making of Tommy Wiseau’s legendary The Room, the film allows Franco to channel all of his metatextual proclivities into an accessible narrative.

  • One of the reasons The Room has had such a long life is because Wiseau is such a front-and-center weirdo: with his unplaceable accent, prog rocker’s hair and line readings rooted in no recognizable aspect of human interaction, he’s compelling in a baffling way. Franco absolutely nails Wiseau, and the results are predictably hilarious: this is effectively an excuse to extend The Room‘s comic value, as manifested through Wiseau’s performancem on purpose.

  • Everything here depicting the making of Wiseau’s magnum opus is detailed and hilarious, and the Apatowian plot mechanics and underlying bromantic themes... don’t do any real harm. For this viewer, the big question coming out the theatre is not whether or not James Franco truly understands or empathizes with Tommy Wiseau’s need to be liked on his own bizarre terms (my guess is yes), but rather if he’s seen Beau Travail—why else would he use “Rhythm of the Night” over the end credits?

  • How did a story with this much potential get turned into something so unimaginative? Well, for one, because the film couldn’t exist without the blessing of Wiseau, who has turned The Room into a cottage industry. . . . The movie bears only faint traces of the book's characterization of the secretive, self-made filmmaker; the exclusion of any biographical details (many of which are now public knowledge) leaves yawning gaps in the script.

  • If this is your sort of thing, you’re better off watching The Room again (though if this is _really_ your sort of thing, The Disaster Artist is probably your sort of thing). For my money, it could have sufficed as a two-minutes-and-done skit, and its adoring reception left me as baffled as the plaudits for Warwick Thornton’s assiduously bland Sweet Country (one of a couple of excessively championed Venice holdovers).

More Links