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Movie Review: “The Disaster Artist”

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

The Disaster Artist

Theatrical Release: 12/8/2017

Theatrical Release: 12/8/2017

Synopsis

Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) is a struggling, young, aspiring actor in the late 1990s. He wants to move to Hollywood to pursue a career of acting, but he fears he will never have the funds to do so. As an actor, Greg gets very shy and nervous on stage. He is afraid to put himself out there, but then he watches an in-class performance by one of his classmates, Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). Greg did not know it at the time, but that performance would change his life forever.

Tommy Wiseau is a mysterious social outcast with an extremely unorthodox style, but Greg sees that him for the fearless performer that he is. In the hopes of absorbing some of Tommy’s fearlessness, Greg introduces himself to the enigma and he learns that they share a very similar dream. This sparks a strong friendship that leads the two to Hollywood where Tommy decides that, if Hollywood does not want to give them a shot, they will simply make their own movie. Little do they realize, their movie would one day be known in the film industry as “the worst movie ever made.”

Official Trailer

The Pros and Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then awarded for each Pro and taken away for each Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points ranging from 0-10 allowing me to convey to you how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

James Franco (+10pts)

The Setup (-3pts)

Dave Franco (+5pts)

The Climax (-4pts)

Tommy Wiseau (+6pts)

Focus (-5pts)

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Pro: James Franco (+10pts)

This movie’s biggest draw proved to be its biggest strength. James Franco has once again proved that, while he has a brilliant comedic mind, he is also a very talented dramatic performer. This guy is very funny, but he absolutely transformed into Tommy Wiseau for this movie. This is not the first time that James Franco has transformed himself into one of his characters, but this may be his best work in doing just that.

Sure, he still looks like James Franco, but audiences will quickly only see Tommy Wiseau. James Franco hit the comedy and the drama flawlessly, while giving the character heart and making the audience pity him. Tommy Wiseau is an extraordinary person with so many complex layers, and it was going to take a uniquely talented actor to pull off this role in a way that would make audiences sympathize with this sometimes unlikable character. James Franco was that actor.

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Con: The Setup (-3pts)

I unfortunately felt like the filmmakers rushed through the setup of this story. This was a very fascinating story, but it was a tough one for people to wrap their heads around. Greg was a young, aspiring actor who met the mysterious Tommy Wiseau. Tommy told Greg that he had an apartment in Hollywood and the two decided to move in together, with only having barely known each other.

As far as the time within the movie, I am guessing that Greg and Tommy had known each other for a few weeks. For the audience, they knew each other for barely thirty minutes. Now I do not think that the filmmakers needed to spend more screentime on the setup, because I appreciate a concise movie that does not drag things out. However, I did not feel like Tommy and Greg’s friendship was strong enough to justify Greg uprooting his life and moving in with a much older stranger, especially when he realized that stranger's unstable nature. This was not a major issue, as I got over it pretty quickly, but I felt like there was room for improvement regarding this setup.

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Pro: Dave Franco (+5pts)

Dave Franco is a decent actor, but in my opinion, his is essentially the opposite of his brother. James Franco is able to transform and become the embodiment of his character, while Dave Franco always feels like he is playing himself. This movie was no different in that regard, as he felt like the same person he plays in every movie. That all being said, that Dave Franco character was a great character for this story.

Dave Franco is relatable and he hit all of the necessary emotions of his character. This movie took place over a long period of time and Dave Franco was able to convey his character’s changing mindset effectively and naturally. He was able to convey his character’s emotion to the audience and his relatability allowed the audience to share that emotion. Then there was the added bonus of having great on-screen chemistry his brother. Dave Franco just played Dave Franco in this movie, but I thought the movie benefited from having him in it.

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Con: The Climax (-4pts)

I liked a lot about this movie, but I felt like the ending of the film was a bit anti-climactic. This movie was all about the making of The Room, but it was also about the friendship between Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau. The making of the movie was the backbone that kept the characters going, but the heart of the movie was really about the friendship. All of the emotion, comedy, and depth came from these characters.

The reason I say all of this is to explain that the filmmakers focused heavily on the character’s friendship, but the climax assumed that the audience was in on the inside joke, known as The Room. However, the filmmakers did not show a whole lot of that inside joke, to bring audience members into the loop who had not yet seen The Room. Thus, when we see the premiere audience‘s hysterical reaction to the characters' movie, audiences of The Disaster Artist who have not seen The Room will feel like they are missing something. As a whole, the movie mostly worked whether you had seen The Room or not. Unfortunately, I thought the climax was a different story.

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Pro: Tommy Wiseau (+6pts)

This was an entertaining movie and a lot of credit goes to the main character, Tommy Wiseau. This movie was told from the perspective of Greg Sestero, but make no mistake, the story was about Tommy Wiseau. This man was a fascinating oddball who had a very unique personality with a past that was shrouded in mystery. No one had any idea where this guy came from, where he got his money, or how old he was. What we did know was that he was a bad actor with no shame, he had a creative mind, and he had been an outcast for a very long time. He was such a complex and mysterious guy which was captivating to watch, but he was also a very lonely man which was something the audience could sympathize with. This was an intriguing and entertaining movie, and Tommy Wiseau (coupled with James Franco’s performance) was a major reason why.

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Con: Focus (-5pts)

This movie seemed to struggle, a bit, with its focus. On the surface, the movie was all about Tommy Wiseau and the making of The Room. However, the story's weight and emotion came from Greg Sestero and his friendship with Tommy Wiseau. The filmmakers of The Disaster Artist seemed to struggle with which concept to focus on, and when. The filmmakers tried to balance the focus between these two concepts. The problem was, by doing this, the filmmakers tried to do too much with too little time. They tried to make both concepts primary focal points and they ended up being unable to give either the focus they deserved.

We, as an audience, were unable to truly appreciate the weight that these characters were feeling, with respect to their friendship. We are also unable to have the same visceral reaction that the audience characters had when viewing The Room at the end of the movie. The filmmakers tried to focus on the character’s friendship while equally focusing on the making of their film. Either would have been fine as a primary focal points, but by focusing so heavily on both, they both felt a little to shallow for me to be properly invested in either. Sticking to one as the primary focal point, and making one secondary, would have helped the filmmakers prioritize the storyline that would have provided more impact. Instead, they tried to do two things at once, and I did not think it worked well for them.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: B- (84pts)

This was an entertaining and interesting movie, but it was far from the amazing film that critics made it out to be. If you have seen The Room then you will enjoy it more than those who have not, but this movie did not ask its audience to have seen The Room so I have reviewed it as such. The movie's issues seemed to come from focus issues. The filmmakers tried to focus on the making of the film and the main characters‘ friendship equally. This was a problem in the setup because the characters’ new friendship felt rushed as the filmmakers tried to squeeze it in to quickly get them to the point where they could start making their movie. This also became a problem in the end of the film, as the climax felt like listening to an inside joke that I was not a part of.

James Franco was this movie's biggest draw and he ended up being deserving of that title. The guy absolutely transformed into Tommy Wiseau and it was entertaining to watch. He played Tommy Wiseau in a very entertaining way while also getting the audience to sympathize with this fairly unlikable character. Dave Franco played the same character that he always plays, but it worked for this story. This movie had its problems, but its strengths made it a decently entertaining movie nonetheless. It was funny, it had an interesting story, and it had interesting and entertaining characters.

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