Tommy: No. No. It’s not luck, Greg. Greg, you have to be the best. You have to be the best you can be. And never give up.
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
Tommy Wiseau’s The Room has become a cult classic over the year and it has had quite a legacy among the actors and the fans. The actor for Mark, Greg Sestero wrote his own memoir of meeting Wiseau and partaking in the making of the movie and it was an interesting read. And in 2017 James Franco adapted said book into a movie. There was a lot of hype for this movie and in many ways lived up to it.
The story involves Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) meeting the strange and mysterious Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) in an acting class. The two form an unlikely friendship and travel to Hollywood to make their dreams of becoming big shot actors true. When things eventually get hopeless Tommy gets the idea to have him and Greg create and star in their own movie.
The story follows closely follows Sestero’s book. There are a couple of changes and things that are adapted out like Greg’s childhood dreams, his desire to shave his beard, what motivated Tommy to make The Room, etc. but the movie sticks to core parts such as the incredulous making of the movie, the odd friendship between Greg and Tommy, and Tommy’s mysterious origins. The story also hits deep on the difficulties of making it big in Hollywood whether it be because you’re not enough or because even if you are, you’re one in a million of others like you.
One of the things that took me by surprise was James Franco as Tommy. Tommy Wiseau’s acting in The Room was just so bizarre and uncanny that few people could replicate but Franco came pretty close in a similar hilarious way. And the movie does a good job of not only showcasing Tommy’s bizarre nature but also giving him a couple layers of humanity through his performance. Even though his horrible acting and odd demeanor repulse everyone, including Greg, it does not stop him from pursuing what he sees as his true calling. He’s very passionate about the prospect being a star and when he gets crushed (whether through failing to get an audition or the film being laughed at during the premiere) you really feel for him.
Dave Franco was also good as Sestero sort of being the straight man to Tommy’s antics. The two have great chemistry in showing the humor that comes from their interactions and how their friendship is fueled by their acting passion and it really makes you root for the both of them but also what sets them apart in how little they truly know of one another and how different they are in personalities.
Other actors such as Seth Rogen as Sandy Schklair, Alison Brie as Greg’s girlfriend Amber, Josh Hutcherson as Philip Haldiman, Zac Efron as Dan Janjigian, etc. are given smaller roles in comparison to the leads but they all blend in perfectly with one another. And this primarily comes from the fact that some of these actors have worked closely on other major projects (and have close relationships in real life) in the past.
Towards the end where the cast and crew is at the premiere watching the movie we see replicated scenes of classic scenes from the movie and they nailed it not only in the performances but also in duplicating the various locations and sets. Some major fans will notice the little details missing during the replication of these scenes but there is a lot of effort put into this process and those missing details mostly chalk up to nitpicks.
The Disaster Artist is an excellent addition to the legacy of the Room. The actors, writers, and directors did their all in trying to stick to the heart of the cult classic but also understand the message Sestero’s book was trying to convey. The Room is and the story behind it have a surreal thing to it and this movie managed to capture the art of creating a disaster.