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The Room has become one of those bad movie cultural touchstones that’s either endearing or insufferable depending on who you ask, but James Franco’s The Disaster Artist, an adaptation of actor Greg Sestero’s memoir about the making of enigmatic filmmaker Tommy Wiseau’s disaster-piece, casts the troubled production in a new and nuanced light.

James Franco steps into Wiseau’s multiple belted pants, resulting in the most transformative, hilarious, and sincerely eccentric performance of the actor-director’s career, while his brother Dave turns in equally outstanding work as Wiseau’s lone friend and confidant, Sestero. Covering the early days of the duo’s friendship to the contentious, volatile, tyrannical shooting style of Wiseau, and the uneasy world premiere of the independently wealthy director’s opus, The Disaster Artist comes off as a comprehensive bird’s-eye view of what making a crappy movie feels like from start to finish.

Some of the side characters could stand to be better developed, but the interplay between Franco and Franco carries the film a long way. As a filmmaker, the elder Franco hasn’t made something this genuinely endearing and earnest to date, and the change of pace serves him well. It won’t change anyone’s opinions on The Room, but that’s not the point.

 

Is The Disaster Artist essential viewing?

Sure, and thankfully you don’t need to see Wiseau’s film to appreciate what Franco and company are trying to accomplish.