Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Disaster Artist (2017)


Oh hai readers. I have to confess that I am a fan of The Room. The film is one of my favorite “beautifully bad” movies to enjoy when I’m in the right mood. I found out about The Room when the team at Rifftrax tackled it, and of course when Alison Preglar did her review of it as Obscuras Lupa back in 2010 (man she looks young in that video!). If you haven’t seen it and you don’t mind being traumatized by bad movies, then check it out first. Because the Disaster Artistis all about the making of The Room.


Greg (Dave Franco) is a struggling actor in San Francisco who dreams of making it to Hollywood some day. At an acting class he meets Tommy (James Franco) an passionate performer who inspires Greg with his enthusiasm for the craft. But Tommy has some oddities about him, he claims he is from New Orleans, when his accent is clearly eastern European. He won’t talk about his past. He won’t say how old he is. He obviously has a lot of money… and he want to spontaneously go to Los Angeles with Greg to jumpstart their careers. Greg is young and ready for a challenge so they go.

Things don’t go so well at first. Greg and Tommy both struggle to find work in the film industry. Tommy is having a very tough time landing the part of the hero when everyone keeps telling him he looks and sounds like a villain. When a producer tells Tommy that the only way he would ever be cast in a film is if Tommy made the film himself: Tommy is inspired. He hammers out a script, casts Greg as “the best friend Mark” and Tommy plays the all American hero “Johnny”. The movie will be a modern Tennessee Williams drama, about a man trying to rise up in the world, only to be brought down by a conniving girlfriend and duplicitous best friend. It will also have terrible dialogue, acting, music, sex scenes and sets. Tommy is convinced he has created a masterpiece, but Greg realizes that he is witnessing the creation of The Disaster Artist.

Good Points:
  • Excellent acting brings the characters to life
  • Masterfully recreates scenes from The Room using the new cast
  • Feels like a tribute as well as a bit of a parody 

Bad Points:
  • Some of the best parts of the book are left out of the film
  • Tommy (and Franco’s performance) may annoy some viewers
  • Don’t like glorification of a bad movie, you might not like this


This movie would make a fun companion piece with Tim Burton’s Ed Wood. Both are lovingly crafted films about an ambitious filmmaker who is out of their league. And both present the filmmaker as the optimist in spite of all the challenges they face. An entertaining film, with really great performances, and a solid adaptation to the book (which is well worth checking out if you enjoy either film)

Scores(out of 5)
Visuals: 4
Sound: 4
Acting:  4
Script:  4
Music: 3
Direction: 4
Entertainment: 4
Total:  4

Curious about a full review, sent me an email and I’ll make additional thoughts to this review.

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  1. How can one not feel sorry for folk who cannot experience the joy of bad movies? Not just any bad movie, of course. A Chuck Norris or Jean-Claude Van Damme flick doesn't qualify. Films that are bad on purpose don't qualify. It requires something more sublime: someone genuinely tries to make a good movie and misses hilariously. I haven't seen this tribute to one such legendary film, but I enjoyed "Ed Wood" and this one looks promising.

    1. I agree. Had a discussion about what makes a good "bad" movie with a few friends. Intent behind the film makes all the difference. Tommy was really trying to make a masterpiece film with "The Room". Uwe Boll didn't really care what he made as long as he turns a profit at the end of it. That lack of dedication impacts the final product and why you can't really riff on "In the Name of the King". But I would argue that Boll's "Blooderayne" is highly riffable, maybe in spite of Boll's apathy (or maybe he tried with that one).

  2. I've not seen The Disaster Artist yet--I need to add it. I've not seen The Room either and I've read it's not a prerequisite viewing for the former. I'll watch a bad movie when the mood strikes. I enjoyed Ed Wood though I felt at times Depp was mimicking one of Jon Lovitz's characters on Saturday Night Live--Acting!! I prefer the SF or horror genre.

    1. I think you'll enjoy "The Disaster Artist". While seeing the "Room" will help you appreciate the newer film, I think you'll still enjoy seeing Tommy attempt to make the movie even if you've never seen the movie (and haven't been scarred for life by the sex scenes).