The Disaster Artist

Dec 5, 2017

See The Room first, then Franco's inspired docudrama about its making.

The Disaster Artist

Grade: B+

Director: James Franco (In Dubious Battle)

Screenplay: Scott Neustadter (500 Days of Summer), Michael H. Weber (Our Souls at Night)

Cast: James Franco (127 Hours), Zoey Deutch (Before I Fall)

Rating: R

Runtime: 1 hr. 43 min.

by John DeSando

“The Citizen Kane of bad movies”

In front of the camera and behind it as director of The Disaster Artist, James Franco deserves the artistic praise his subject, Tommy Wiseau, would never receive. Wiseau produced, directed, wrote and starred in The Room, arguably the worst movie ever made.

Because it’s natural to be curious about the dedication and lack of talent it would take to make such a cult classic (packed at midnight in many art houses around the country), Franco has given his measure of dedication and talent to produce a first-rate biopic that sugarcoats not at all the zany set and principals producing such a risible work.

Although Franco’s imitation of Wiseau is sometimes too slavish, generally he catches his charmingly witless energy in the search of becoming a filmmaker. With the help of his best friend, Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), Franco and his brother make the making of The Room believable and affecting.

Because, you see, although Tommy has no talent for artistic expression, he has a drive to be successful that transcends his limitations. Indeed, pursuing a dream, even while lacking the resources, is an end great in itself.  Tommy is helped, coincidentally, by a mysterious fortune no one can ever trace. Yet, he uses it to fulfill his dream of being a filmmaker who creates a classic, albeit one that may be the worst ever made.

He can be legitimately called the modern Ed Wood, a producer of schlock like Plan 9 from Outer Space, the reigning clunker until The Room arrived.  

“Why is he having sex with her bellybutton? He knows where her vagina is, right?”  Sandy Schklair (Seth Rogen)

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at