Greg Sestero arrives in Hollywood with big dreams of becoming an actor. After several unsuccessful auditions, he and his newly found – and somewhat odd – friend from acting school, Tommy Wiseau, decide to take on Hollywood by writing, directing and acting in their own film.
Ok, so I don’t really enjoy watching TV shows or films that I term “cringe worthy”, and I’ll be honest this one hovers in and out of that category! However, this is oddly entertaining as, unlike other shows of this nature, this is actually (loosely) based on Sestero’s book “The Disaster Artist” which itself is a biography of his time on set with Tommy – which makes it very entertaining trying to work out – and at times understand – quite what’s going to happen next.
Tommy Wiseau (played by James Franco) is quite the opposite of what you’d call a ‘conventional’ actor. Greg Sestero (played by Dave Franco) on the other-hand is exactly what you’d call a conventional actor, he has the looks and, probably with some acting classes – and never having met Tommy – he may have been a serious actor on the B-movie scene. However, it’s their combined unsuccessful attempt at Hollywood that brings them together and their own self-beliefs that everyone else is wrong, and that they can – and should – make it in Hollywood. It’s this inflated self-belief that drives Tommy, who strikes with an eureka moment and decides the two of them should make a movie, rather than trying to act in someone else’s.
Now, I’m no genius when it comes to film production, but I’ve watched enough films to know there’s a reason why credits go on 10 minutes after the main film has ended. It’s because there are so many people involved to make it right, and it’s precisely this that Tommy doesn’t care at all about. He is all about the acting, despite his clear inability to actually do so, and it’s almost comical the way he just ‘waves away’ problems as if it were the wrong kind of coffee as opposed to being something incredibly important to producing a film. This is the tone throughout the film – his unconventional “Tommy-way” of doing things that goes against the trend, and you almost find yourself wanting it to work out for him, in between the gasps of astonishment and slaps to the forehead in amazement of what he’s just said and done.
I should also add that the attention of detail by both the Franco brothers and the (real) cast around him is superb. James plays Wiseau exceptionally well, and although Dave isn’t quite the spitting image of Sestero, he nevertheless plays the part to precision. The supporting cast are also spot-on, and it’s good to see the comparisons to the actual film shown side-by-side during the credits which only goes to show how attentive the real production crew were to making sure everything stacks up the same.
The film itself is essentially an underdog story, but without the big “overcoming the baddie” ending. You do, however get a real sense of incredulation from what the entire team has achieved at the end, and I for one searched out the original film as soon as I’d finished watching this. It’s a comedy without meaning to be one, which makes it all that more funny. That being said, it is still wholesomely cringe-worthy and definitely for the “car crash” bin!
who should watch it?
This is definitely for the “niche” market. I was intrigued as I like both the Franco brothers and had read some interesting stuff about the movie itself. I really enjoyed it, and although found some scenes cringy, I wouldn’t say the whole film was like it.
It’s probably best watched when paired with B-class hammer horrors or films with the same non-blockbuster-ish nature during a late night session – it doesn’t require your complete attention all the time, but just enough to see the best (and worst) bits!