THE DISASTER ARTIST

Paul Mendoza

There have been many movies made about making movies.  My favorite is The Bad and The Beautiful (1952) directed by Vincente Minneli. The film takes a serious look inside the film industry and is brutally honest for the time.  Other great ones like Day For Night (1973 – Truffaut), The Stunt Man (1980 – Richard Rush) and of course, Ed Wood (1994-Tim Burton) mix comedy with pathos and drama and try to convey the madness that can engulf a filmmaker and a film set. Some have also been absurdly comic such as Living In Oblivion (1995 – Tom DeCillo) and Bowfinger (1999 – Frank Oz) which reflect the more recent indie filmmaking era.

I’ve never heard of The Room (2003). Apparently, it is a famous cult film and considered one of the worst if not THE worst film ever made (sorry Ed Wood!). The writer-director-actor Tommy Wiseau was an odd man with an indiscernible accent. He would tell people he came from New Orleans. He never divulged his age or where he got his money. He spent millions making The Room and it was poorly received and panned when it premiered. It was so bad it was funny. In fact, it was hilariously bad. It eventually became a midnight movie hit and cult classic with many celebrity fans including James and Dave Franco. They decided to make a movie about Wiseau and The Room based on the 2013 novel The Disaster Artist written by Tom Bissell and Greg Sestero who was and is Tommy’s best friend and co-star in The Room. The film they have made about this very bad film is very good and hilariously funny.

It was so bad it was funny. In fact, it was hilariously bad. It eventually became a midnight movie hit and cult classic with many Celebrity fans including James and Dave Franco. They decided to make a movie about Wiseau and The Room based on the 2013 novel The Disaster Artist written by Tom Bissell and Greg Sestero who was and is Tommy’s best friend and co-star in The Room. The film they have made about this very bad film is very good and hilariously funny.


The Disaster Artist follows the friendship of Tommy and Greg as they meet in acting class in San Francisco and head to Los Angeles to make it big in the movies. Tommy drives a nice car and has a great apartment in LA with a glorious rooftop view. Who is this guy? Where does he come from? It remains a mystery to this day! He is one strange character and after realizing that he will never get cast in anything he decides to make his own movie and cast his best friend Greg and himself. He buys all this equipment including both HD and 35 mm cameras and proceeds to film in both simultaneously. The shoot is a complete disaster! But they finish the film and it has its premiere. Tommy and Greg remain friends. Their movie is now immortalized in this film. Tommy Wiseau has cemented a place in film history.

I found myself howling hysterically at times during this movie. It plays as satire but it really happened. The actors are all in and share an obvious affection for these people and the film. If you’ve ever been part of a film crew or tried making a film yourself you will find it especially appealing and hilarious. It is amazing how far you will allow someone to push you for the sake of ‘art’.

James Franco is amazing as Tommy. He basks in the oversized ego that Wiseau had and still has. Franco also directs and he has a cast of familiar faces, many of whom are friends that go way back and have appeared together in other films. It is a family affair which is exactly what making a film should feel like.  Judd Apatow is great in a restaurant scene as an asshole producer. Apparently, Franco asked Apatow to be appear in the film as an asshole producer then credited him as playing Himself! Gotta love it. Seth Rogen also plays a supporting role as well as being co-producer of the film.  This is one of the best films of the year and certainly the funniest.