The Disaster Artist

Jacob Richardson | 27/11/2017

Undoubtedly adoring of it’s inspiration material, James Franco’s The Disaster Artist is not only a loving look, but also an impeccably well-made and disastrously funny one, at the most infamous movie ever made.

Beginning with their early days in a San Francisco acting class, The Disaster Artist follows Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) and Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) as they strike up an unlikely friendship. They move to LA to pursue their dreams of stardom, and while Greg finds some minor success, Tommy is laughed out of every audition he attends. They decide to shoot their own movie, and thus begins the process of crafting one of the worst movies ever made.


The Disaster Artist is truly fantastic, and likely the best comedy of the year. It tells a relatively cynical tale with a lot of heart, and makes you care about and laugh at these characters at the same time.


The source material, Greg Sestero’s novel by the same title, is interestingly structured, with alternating chapters telling two different stories; the first being the making of the room, and the second being Sestero’s meeting and befriending of Wiseau. Franco wisely eschews this structure in favour of a more linear one, and the story is all the stronger for it. The Room has enough notoriety to carry early portions for those who don’t know Wiseau, and once the duo hits Los Angeles, the film is in full throttle, laugh out loud mode.


James Franco crafts incredibly detailed portraits of all of these infamous actors, and recreates scenes with such loving devotion that any insult is mitigated through the sheer joy in exploring the making of this film. Franco assembles a uniformly excellent cast that inhabits these characters with such humanity and poignant recollection, it feels real. Dave Franco doesn’t quite get Sestero’s vocals down, but he doesn’t seem to be going for that anyway. Josh Hutcherson and Zac Efron are absolutely hilarious as Phillip Halderman and Dan Janjigian respectively, and Ari Graynor is perfectly cast as Juliette Danielle.


But the standout is undoubtedly James Franco himself. As Tommy Wiseau, Franco gives his best performance to date; a tour de force of impeccable recreation of the man. It’s an impressive feat, impersonating someone who is so regularly, and poorly, impersonated, but Franco does it with aplomb, creating an actual human being out of a man who has become a caricature of himself in recent years.


As the credits roll, The Disaster Artist compares side-by-side certain scenes from The Room with the recreations from this movie, and the similarity is startling. You can see exactly how much time, attention and love went into making this movie, and it not only warms the heart, but leaves you with a feeling that this is how movies should be made. And unlike The Room, by the end you want more.


Franco takes an impossible tale and turns it into a triumphant film that will have you laughing incessantly. This is a must-see, and Franco deserves awards buzz.