HomeMoviesThe Disaster Artist: James Franco's Magnum Opus

The Disaster Artist: James Franco’s Magnum Opus

Photo by Justina Mintz, courtesy of A24

The Disaster Artist Plot Summary:

Struggling actors Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) and Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) make their own movie, unaware that it will become one of the biggest cult phenomena in the history of entertainment. 

While actor/director/screenwriter/producer/poet/college professor James Franco is a proverbial Renaissance man, his onscreen roles generally fall into two categories. These are the serious, award bait roles, like in 127 Hours and HBO’s The Deuce, and roles in stupidly hilarious stoner flicks, like Pineapple Express and This Is the End. It’s with The Disaster Artist that Franco synthesizes the two categories together. Not only does he get to direct and star in a powerful film about chasing one’s dreams, he gets to goof off with his BFF Seth Rogen and his brother Dave.

While the feature film version of The Disaster Artist condenses the tale told in the book, it still captures its essence, and no, you don’t need to have seen The Room. The funny moments from the trailers are there, but it’s Tommy and Greg’s friendship that anchors the film. A movie doesn’t need a heroic quest to make an impression on its audience. Just living life and charting a career is its own journey. Most of us will never be actors, but Greg and even Tommy are more relatable than pretend characters. They make a connection with us those characters can’t because they’re real people.

Speaking of real people, you always run the risk of taking the audience out of the movie by having famous actors portraying them. However, this isn’t an issue for The Disaster Artist, except when I recognized Zac Efron. James Franco nails Wiseau’s mannerisms and accent so much that I started to believe he actually was Tommy Wiseau. I was a little hesitant when I saw that Seth Rogen was going to be in it, but he’s really come into his own as a actor. He serves as a straight man, along with Dave Franco, and he delivers his lines perfectly. And choosing Josh Hutcherson to portray Philip Haldiman, the actor who played Denny in The Room, was inspired casting.

As is the case with many biographical pictures, The Disaster Artist is essentially a continuation of its subject matter just by existing. The story of Tommy Wiseau doesn’t stop when the credits roll. Its star, the fact that it’s about filmmaking, and its critical reception help the film’s Oscar chances tremendously. Being distributed by A24 and releasing at the peak of award season are other pluses. Can you imagine seeing Tommy Wiseau at the Academy Awards? That idea alone is reason enough to watch the ceremony. If James Franco is only remembered for one thing a century from now, I hope it’s for playing Tommy.

The Disaster Artist, though not an absolute riot, is a funny movie. It’s not a traditional comedy with structured gags. The humor is centered on the weird stuff Tommy does. It’s the film’s emotional weight that makes it worthwhile.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10 (Great)

Aaron Sarnecky
Aaron Sarnecky
Aaron Sarnecky is a Senior Writer and Former TV Editor for The Pop Break. He is a TV/Film grad of Rowan University and the fraternal twin of Senior Columnist Josh Sarnecky. The two record retrospective podcasts together. Aaron probably remembers that canceled show you forgot existed.


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