Finally after decades of non-writing, welcome back campers to the first candidate for Oscar Bait in 2018, the films which are only based on true stories or some morality issue like being racist is bad. You know, the films Donald Trump completely missed because there were no lessons about grabbing pussies and the film didn’t come with a free colouring book.
Tell you what though, the film what will arrive as a result of the Trump Presidency, will be only arrive during Oscar Bait season. You know there will be one, and it may even be a cinematic universe due to how much material there already is. If it makes even 3% sense, it will sweep the awards season as it will be one of the greatest comedies of all time. The Oscars would turn orange for one night only…..ah, the fevered dreams I have in 2018.
But that is the future and right now, there is already one Oscar bait film based on a true story which is so out there, that it has become a legend for all time. A legend where the creation of one of the best worst films of all time was documented, and how failure was turned around into triumph.
A legend where a guy with a questionable accent said he was from New Orleans. A legend where plastic spoons filled picture frames and guys played catch in suits for no reason. A legend where the sex scenes are hilariously dubbed and a mother causally states she has Breast Cancer to her daughter, only to never remark on it again.
I refer of course to the Room. A film remarked on so much around the world for so many reasons, that this year it finally got a one night only cinematic release nationwide in the United States. It is screened often at the Prince Charles Cinema in London where the creator Tommy Wiseau along with his friend, actor and co-writer of the Disaster Artist Greg Sestreo appears to confuse and entertain crowds at Q&As. It’s always a joy to see them and you never leave their presence with anything other than a huge smile.
So given this film is about the making of another film by Hollywood stars James and Dave Franco, you kind of expect it to be a love-in from Hollywood about how wonderful and courageous everyone involved was, where they produced something so beautiful that it becomes mandatory boredom to endure in classrooms around the world. Oh, this really isn’t the case.
Now of course there are a few differences between the real story and this, it still tells of a really bizarre series of events of how Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestreo met, went to LA, tried to make it big and finally make their magnum opus of The Room, which was meant to be a heart wrenching portrayal of lies treachery and deceit that humans do. With Sex via bellybutton thrown in. James Franco, basically just wins as Tommy, imitating him to such a level where you hope the two would meet to talk to each other…… (hint, stay till after the credits……)
The cast of the Disaster Artist were on form across the board, with scene after scene of the same WTF feeling you have from the Room most of the time. They recreate the scenes of the Room wonderfully and it’s just a joy to behold. It’s not all just laughs though, as there are moments of sheer shock as Tommy treats the actress playing Lisa very badly with everyone watching on set.
Its impact was quite profound on me in a way I never expected. I then realised that this film was not be a mockery of the whole story, but really a homage. I also felt uplifted at the moment where Greg comforts Tommy as everyone laughs in the premiere of the Room. It was also quite powerful given everything else that had happened and at this point, you are on board, and really will care about these people.
This was a really compelling story which was very well told, and if you watch the Room first, to then revisit via The Disaster Artist, then you will get a great deal out of it all. As a standalone film, it’s entertaining enough without having to know all the in-jokes but of course there are moments which would throw you off and confuse more than anything. I would have to say really, you would need to watch both to get a real sense of the context and why things happened the way the did onscreen in the Room.
The story ultimately is about someone who didn’t give up on his dream and with the help of his best friend, made something which people will always remember forever more. It didn’t matter about how good or bad they were, they tried and now, you could argue years after The Room was made, they succeeded. In this moment of history where the world is so ridiculous, this ridiculous tale is remarkably uplifting, pulls you in and leaves with a large smile. Acting was well done, story was well paced, with those emotional moments really adding to the overall picture, it’s really hard not to recommend this.
This is one of the few Oscar Bait films I would watch over and over, much like the Room, I didn’t get enough of the absurdity and I can only say this as a finisher; None of the story behind this makes sense about how it came to be, but we can all be so glad it exists.