Room for Improvement

Fiona dragged me to see THE DISASTER ARTIST. I’m blaming her. She’d read the book by Greg Sistero (co-star of THE ROOM) & Tom Bissell, and watched THE ROOM, which she described, accurately, as “like investigating an artefact created by an alien who has only been observing the human race for a few hours.”

We were both kinda disappointed. James Franco’s film does get some strong laughs, usually by drawing from the facts in the case of the production of Tommy Wiseau’s cult oddity THE ROOM. But Fiona was disappointed that the movie departs from the truth in numerous ways, and in every case the movie version is less funny, less strange and less deep and disturbing than the reality. And I was disappointed for similar reasons, despite knowing almost nothing of the true story. You can TELL when the movie is bullshitting.

Seth Rogen plays a script supervisor, but he performs the role of assistant director, which I could believe, and also the role of director, which I guess I could believe because Tommy Wiseau was acting in his own film… but I refuse to believe that the script supervisor was telling Wiseau, his employer, to modify his performance, or pointing out all the famously odd things about THE ROOM. Rogen’s role becomes, basically, to explain all the jokes. ED WOOD didn’t need that. (OK, ED WOOD was occasionally guilty of that, a wee bit.)

The best thing about the experience was that we saw it at 10.30pm at the local monsterplex and the only other audience members were a young couple who came in late. Fiona engaged them in conversation afterwards and we found out they were high. Like, they maybe didn’t really know what film they’d seen. The guy seemed to think he’d seen a film called THE ROOM, about the making of the world’s worst movie, called THE DISASTER ARTIST. They were on Tommy’s planet.

Weirdly, the episode of The Deuce we saw that James Franco directed was more cinematic than this.

Weirdly, Franco has cast his little brother as Sistero. wearing a fuzzy felt beard, and looking a lot like James Franco’s little brother. This seemed a Wiseau-like odd decision, since Greg Sistero is not Tommy Wiseau’s little brother.

At the end of the movie, a number of stunts are pulled — there’s a THE END, but the best stuff in the movie happens after this point. Stay past the end credits. There’s a suggestion here that with more nerve, there could have been a MAN IN THE MOON quality to this movie — a touch of Pirandellian daring. As it is, Franco’s strong performance as actor, not director, is the whole show.

Our fellow viewers missed the post-credits sequence but we caught up with them outside. “Yeah my dad said there was this movie, back in the sixties, THE DISASTER ARTIST, that was so bad the audience would throw spoons at it…”

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9 Responses to “Room for Improvement”

  1. Matthew D. Wilder Says:

    Great last line

  2. But it seems I’ve used the first line before for Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Like I’m always blaming Fiona for dragging me to the cinema. Must stop that. I think we’re going to see that new Rian Johnson film, this time I will take responsibility!

  3. Yeah this is so accurate. I had read the book a year or longer ago so forgot some of the details (although clear segments of real-life insanity were missing from TDA) and found the film enjoyable-ish but lacking. Becky didn’t have a clue what we were going to see (one time she was in a room where The Room was on and she said “what is this shit turn it off please” but had forgotten this completely) and thoroughly enjoyed it as a wholistic experience. I did appreciate the dynamic in the scene with the lead actress/Lisa being uncomfortable (or not) which they treated as complex/people with different motivations.. I regret not going in high.

  4. The gold standard for Tommy Wiseau reenactments: Brandon Hardesty. [If the link didn’t work, that’s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GPQIYpBsD0o%5D

  5. Second link.

  6. I thought Franco showed great promise in Altman’s “The Company” and Gus’ “Milk” Since then he has become a menace. “Interior Leather Bar” is “The Room” avant la lettre

  7. Sistero’s Wiseau impression is a bit Ren & Stimpy. So is Hardesty’s, though not as much. But I guess Wiseau is the most Mitteleuropean chihuahua of them all.

    Franco has some talent, but I’m not quite ready to forgive him for The Interview.

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