Bizarre -- but Fresh and Funny
Actor/director James Franco has created as unique a character in The Disaster Artist as Johnny Depp did with his Jack Sparrow creation in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. In this real-life true story of aspiring actors Tommy Wiseau (Franco) and Greg Sestero (brother Dave), we have a tale that is both hysterically funny and heart-wrenchingly sad. The laughs outweigh the tears, thanks to a spot-on script by Scott Neustader and Michael Weber based on the book by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell.
Wiseau and Sestero meet in an acting class in San Francisco. When the acting teacher (Melanie Griffith) practically throws them out of the little theater where they are auditioning, they form a bond and vow not to let anyone get them down. Wiseau is strange and a mystery. Nobody knows where he is from nor where his weird accent originates. He sounds like a refugee from Croatia, but he insists he’s a native of New Orleans. Huh?
The two boys take off for Hollywood, convinced they are the next stars in the heavens and on the silver screen. Wiseau takes Sestero under his wing and nicknames him “Baby Face.” They decide to make their own movie after they make no progress with studio moguls (Judd Apatow) or cobra-like agents (Sharon Stone). The movie that Wiseau writes himself is called The Room. Some say it is the worst movie ever made! In reality, it became a cult film on the independent circuit after people laughed it off the screen during its first run. Mysteriously, Wiseau bankrolled the film with $5 million of his own money.
Franco is perhaps one of the most talented artists in the film capitol today. He writes, directs, acts, designs and has numerable creative juices running through his handsome frame. In The Disaster Artist, he has created a unique character with his portrayal of the real Wiseau. He should be noticed during awards season if there is anybody on the awards committees with an eye for a creative artist. He’s funny, he’s dramatic, he’s vulnerable. He makes the audience laugh in one scene and in the next he makes you get a lump in your throat.
Perhaps there are many in the audience who might find the film “weird” or “bizarre.” Yes, it is, but it’s also one of the freshest films out there today. It’s also hilarious and a good tonic for what might ail you. Go see it!
(Released by A24 and rated “R” for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity.)