The Disaster Artist (2017)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Disaster Artist</strong> (2017)

(Netflix Streaming, August 2018) The question of whether good art can arise from bad art is sophomoric (of course it can; just as surely as good art can come from bad things) but it does seem to be central to the critical reaction to The Disaster Artist. It is, after all, a successful dramatization of the making of the terrible movie The Room. If you haven’t seen The Room, well, you really don’t have to: It’s an incoherent romantic drama that has become a modern ironic reference for fans of bad movies. The reasons why it’s bad are far more interesting than the film itself, and The Disaster Artist correctly focuses on that aspect of the story in showing how a young actor (Greg Sestero, who authored the book on which this film is based) is befriended by an enigmatic man (Tommy Wisseau) who somehow has the money to finance an entire film. Alas, when means exceed talent, strange things can happen and so it is that The Room is a singular vision from a man who doesn’t seem to be entirely human. The Disaster Artist hits its stride when it portrays the real-life story of how The Room was shot, with the crew practically rebelling against the director and yet trudging along despite the results. The Disaster Artist can practically stand alone as a filmmaker’s insider movie of what can happen during shooting. Fortunately, it’s as funny as the event themselves, as we see the Franco brothers (James and Dave) play off each other, with some assistance from Seth Rogen, Alison Brie and half a dozen cameos. The narrative doesn’t always correspond to the real-life story, but director James Franco’s recreation of The Room‘s ineptness is striking and, as the credits sequence shows, matches The Room‘s footage really well. It’s a fascinating story, ridiculous and yet endearing at once. After all: Tommy Wisseau got to make a movie seen by millions … which is more than almost all of us can claim. Now the terrible The Room has spawned the Oscar-nominated The Disaster Artist … a remarkable feat even by Hollywood standards.

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