24 December 2017 | Jared_Andrews
Not a Mockery, It's a Celebration of Two Men Pursuing Their Dream
Going into the theater, I was under the impression that this was a silly James Franco and Seth Rogen movie that made fun of The Room, a legendary bad movie. That's not what the Disaster Artist is at all. Instead, it celebrates The Room. It celebrates Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, their passion, and their pursuit of a dream.
Sure, The Disaster Artist comments on how The Room bombed terribly; it had to acknowledge this. It comments on the utter lack of acting talent that Tommy and Greg possessed; it had to acknowledge this too. But it handles these details with such delicacy and care that I never felt that it was putting down the characters. Actually, it seemed that the film admired them. Even when the world told them to quit, they never gave up on themselves or each other. The message is surprisingly inspiring.
The movie becomes something more than mere mockery because of the way it handles the relationship between Tommy and Greg with such care and affection. The two genuinely liked each other and saw each other in ways that no one else did. Greg certainly did not understand all of Tommy's methods and decisions, but he understood Tommy's good intentions. Establishing this buddy connection is crucial later in the movie.
After Tommy writes The Room and they begin filming, Tommy expresses his idiosyncrasies in full force. While the film crew sees him as a confusing weirdo, we know there's something more. Despite his utter incompetence in directing and acting and all aspects of filmmaking, we still root him. And we still root for Greg, ever the supportive friend. Tommy makes absurd and confounding choices that don't make sense to Greg and they don't make sense to anyone else either. Even one of Tommy's explanations was simply "people do crazy things." Still, Greg remains loyal.
With as strange as Wiseau behaves, capturing his eccentricities would clearly prove challenging. Give James Franco credit for capturing Wiseau's weirdness in character without ever devolving into derisive mockery. Franco captures his gait, stiff shoulders, hunched posture, indeterminable and inconsistent accent, and his laugh. Watching The Room and hearing Tommy Wiseau laugh, I thought that it sounded completely fake. I chalked it up to another instance of poor acting. But after seeing Wiseau in interviews, I realized that it was his real laugh. To him, the laugh wasn't poor acting because that's what he thinks a genuine laugh sounds like.
Seeing and hearing Wiseau behaving as himself explains a lot about his behavior in The Room. He's just an interesting and very unusual guy. His acting and the acting of others in his movie is still atrocious, but it shifts from startlingly and confusingly bad to understandably bad. And more importantly, seeing the real Tommy makes his movie all the more fun.
You don't need to see The Room to enjoy The Disaster Artist. Would it help? Sure. Seeing The Room first makes many of the inside jokes made in The Disaster Artist funnier and gives a clearer sense of how confoundingly weird the movie truly is. Words cannot do it justice. To understand, you have to see The Room for yourself. I recommend seeing both.