November 22, 2017

GENRE | James Franco Masters 'The Disaster Artist' x Rio Grind

"Don't be weird, Greg."
James Franco Dave Franco Timmy Wiseau | The Disaster Artist

Enigmatic actor and sometimes performance artist James Franco, in the role of his lifetime, directs himself embodying the infamous Tommy Wiseau, the filmmaker behind possibly the best bad movie ever made, in the completely triumphant The Disaster Artist. Based on The Room actor Greg Sestero—played in the film so heartwarmingly so by James' real-life brother Dave Franco—and Tom Bissell's biographical book of the same name, the film both recreates and celebrates the disastrous genesis, production, and reception of the awful, but now famed, cult classic film.

Franco's inspired (and frankly, insane) portrayal as Wiseau is one of the finest performance art pieces put to screen with an impeccable nondescript Eastern European (Poland, supposedly) accent—by way of New Orleans, of course. His real-life meta role as the lead actor/producer/director of a movie based on Wiseau's similar passion for totally creating, producing, and starring in The Room is completely surreal.

The Franco brothers—who look and sound nothing alike here—portray a rather touching yet complicated image of adult male friendship. Sestero is perhaps the only person able to interpret and translate's Wiseau's bizarre ideas, methods of communication, and erratic behaviour to others. However, his translation turning it into, more often than not, earnest drama was never successfully relayed in the original film.

James uses his A-list stunt casting sparingly to enhance the ridiculous B-movie fun with Seth Rogen (also a producer), Alison BrieAri GraynorJosh Hutcherson, and Zac Efron showing up to dramatize the real-life cast, crew, and other supporting players sublimely. There are also a host of celebrity cameos where Hollywood actors play heightened versions of themselves to add to the surrealistic sense and vision of its setting inside Los Angeles but outside of the Hollywood machine.

James Franco Dave Franco | The Disaster Artist

Screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber provide a nimble, comedic script based on relationships for the actors to expand and enlighten upon Sestero's first-hand, biographical account of making The Room. There's so much going on beyond James' totally insane performance, Dave's mannered and emotional sense of making the movie, and the stunned reactions of everyone around them. The Disaster Artist manages to fully embrace The Room's sense of exhilarating yet maddening filmmaking chaos superbly.

Everyone sees Wiseau as a villain and monster or, at least, a personification of those roles yet his soft demeanour and childlike dream imagery only makes his art all the more baffling. It's a confounding film made sensible and utterly hysterical by the earnest portrayal of the insane but very real situations that let to the disastrous film somehow made so enjoyable.

The film is a comic gem of meta humour celebrating unusual friendships and the act of creating, making, and giving over filmmaking to audiences. The Disaster Artist is such a bizarrely offbeat portrait of Hollywood outsiders learning about themselves through their art. It's a masterful comedy and the ultimate art project about of somehow turning a bad movie into a good one.

The Disaster Artist played as the "secret screening" of the Rio Grind Film Festival at the Rio Theatre—where James Franco first saw The Room (also playing on December 8th) and met Sestero. It also screens at the 2017 Whistler Film Festival next week.


More | YVArcade / Indiewire / ScreenCrush / The Playlist

0 reactions:

Post a Comment