Not heard of The Disaster Artist? Trust us, you will have soon, as James Franco’s new movie takes us behind-the-scenes of the making of the film dubbed "the Citizen Kane of bad movies" – The Room. Here’s what you need to know...
The Room is the best worst film you've never heard of
Some bad films are no fun to watch. Others, however, can be more fun that most GOOD films. So it is with The Room, Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 calamity that has become a cult favourite in the 14 years since its release.
What is it? It’s said it’s romantic drama, but it’s difficult to locate any romance (or indeed drama) within it. What is it full of is nonsensical plotting, excruciating acting, crazy dialogue and bizarre production choices (like Wiseau choosing to shoot most of the movie on soundstages, including scenes set outside).
But it’s Wiseau himself who’s the strangest ingredient of The Room. He not only wrote, produced and directed the movie, he gave himself the plum leading role of Johnny. But Wiseau is simply not leading man material. With his weirdly untraceable accent and eccentric acting style, he's mesmerising to watch. For all the wrong reasons.
The Disaster Artist is based on a critically acclaimed book
In 2013, The Room actor Greg Sestero penned a book about his experiences whilst making the movie. Titled 'The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made', it told the story of the making of the film that Tommy Wiseau was sure would make him a star.
It’s a brilliantly entertaining read, portraying Wiseau as a well-meaning, but comically bungling dreamer, a man whose ambitions frequently outshone his talents.
The Room has a genuine cult following
In the years since The Room was first released, the movie has become a cult favourite with some cinemas putting on late-night screenings of the film. There’s even The Room merchandise available now, including T-shirts with some of the most memorable lines from the film. Check out some of it here.
However The Disaster Artist pays tribute, rather than taking the mick
The Disaster Artist marks actor James Franco’s latest film as director, casting himself in the role of Tommy Wiseau, with his brother Dave as Wiseau’s acting partner Greg Sestero. Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and Josh Hutcherson also feature.
It’s an often hilarious look back at the making of this famously wrong-headed movie, with Franco paying loving tribute to Wiseau’s boyish tenacity.
The critics love it
If the critics gave The Room a massive thumbs down, then they’ve given the movie about its making a massive thumbs up.
Already, it has a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics praising James Franco’s performance as the enigmatic Wiseau.
"Rather like last year’s Florence Foster Jenkins," wrote The Guardian, "the finale shows that even a really, unarguably bad performance can bring unabashed joy to a crowd, and with awards buzz already circulating around The Disaster Artist, Wiseau might be heading to the Oscars after all."
The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, said that "James Franco scores on both sides of the camera in this wildly funny Ed Wood-esque ode to great, bad moviemaking."
So, will The Disaster Artist bring Oscar glory to James Franco and wake Hollywood up to the weird genius of Tommy Wiseau? Time will tell…
The movie is currently awaiting a UK release date but stay tuned to the blog for all the latest updates. In the meantime, check out the trailer for yourselves.