The Disaster Artist, 2017

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Image Courtesy: Scot Saslow
© A24 
©  Warner Bros. Pictures

The Dean don’t come to you – You go to The Dean

Tommy Wiseau

This is hands down one of Franco‘s best performance and a directorial venture that explores how Tommy Wiseau (a nobody) appeared out of nowhere, made a film with his own money, made a film without any God-fearing procedure, any stratagem that may have evoked any reaction from the audience except for disgust and suspicion and also curiosity and straight away walking out of the already trimmed cinema upshot.

James Franco (True Story, 2015) is a mighty fine talent that Hollywood has produced in recent years and there isn’t even any junketing about it.
His first prominent acting role was the character Daniel Desario on the short-lived ensemble comedy-drama Freaks and Geeks (1999–2000). After which, he was cast as in director Mark Rydell‘s 2001 TV biographical film James Dean (where method had him smoking two packs a day from being a nonsmoker, learn the guitar, and cut off communication with his family and friends, as well as his then-girlfriend – I’m beginning to think that Pattinson might be thinking straight after all). James Dean had executives take notice and recognize Franco’s efforts with a  Golden Globe Award. The performance was too convincing, and Franco thought that he had portrayed Dean too convincingly (never meet your heroes), capturing the icon, the legend, the man, the tragedy to compelling conviction, by shedding off the glamour and the glitz and letting us a glimpse into the insecure, rootless life of the young man who died on September 30, 1955, when his “Little Bastard“, a Porsche Spyder and an oncoming black-and-white 1950 Ford Tudor (having crossed the center line while trying to make a left, due to speed) driven by student Cal Poly, collided, an almost head-on collision when Dean, in his last moments tried tp steer the Spyder out of its way. Franco need not have been worried He was probably scared that the biopic just might ruin Dean’s legend and legacy. James Dean is too big for a film, a TV film to do that, but Franco still went ahead and put in all.

James Dean died instantaneously but the legacy, goodness, the legacy is bigger than ever, and the death of actor Paul Walker (The Fast & The Furious), again, in a Porsche (2005 Porsche Carrera GT) revived the event after fifty-eight years, crashing into a concrete pole and tree at 93-mph in a 45-limit zone in Valencia. However, not taking away anything from Dean but drawing so many parallels to both car enthusiast actor’s deaths.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should take serious action against the lawsuits (seat belt design) which the families were increasingly litigious about. However, both were both lawsuits either dropped or settled in an underhanded manner by the h.c.F. Porsche AG (Volkswagen Group) by stating that the “2005 Carrera GT was “comported with the state of the art” (in Walker’s case). Plus, the state of Valencia should mean it when it allots a speed limit to an area. But then everyone wants to say “I’m Iron Man” and fucking mean it
Simple. You don’t pimp it.

Anyway, where was I?
Franco achieved worldwide fame and attention in the 2002 superhero film Spider-Man as Harry Osborn, a film that was a commercial and critical success. After that, there was no looking back.

Franco appeared in supporting roles in Pineapple Express, Gus Van Sant‘s Milk opposite heavyweight Sean Penn, Camille, and Danny Boyle‘s 127 Hours, 2010. Franco has proved time and again that he is dependable, without inhibitions, bold, sassy, irrepressibly sexy, unshowy, and a generous performer. Also pretty brave and risque: Franco directed the highly controversial, The Interview, 2014. A surprisingly poignant filmmaker, Franco has an unpretentious and laid back air around him, which translates into the characters that he molds with similar modesty and straightforwardness.

He directs Artist with an unexpected delicacy, being privy to the fact that making it in Hollywood is not just difficult but unattainable and implausible. He recognizes this and what Tommy Wiseau may have gone through in putting together the so bad it’s good, film, complete to the hamming of it, and the way the entire process of filmmaking is handled. Franco brings coherence to chaos, celebrating failure like only a few have done before (Brando. Mickey Rourke). The glaring Z-grade sensation of Artist is commendable, a modern midnight-movie phenomenon whose liveliness is a bit exaggerated, and that is where the viewer feels like being evaded. But that’s it. The Disaster Artist is a modern-day classic and that’s that.
The protest that “[the] enigma of Wiseau is only partly addressed by James Franco” is not the whole truth. The man is a mystery and remains to be such, I guess that is one of the reasons Franco didn’t let Wiseau speak when the notorious director of The Room made a beeline for it at the 2018 Golden Globes.

Acknowledging Wiseau but only so much, lest he says something, share coherent/retrograde ideas about women, particularly women in Hollywood (like he is known to have done in the past) that would upset the stogy upper lipped arrogance, being bloodied.
Also, Wiseau ain’t a friend, and in a way, Franco calls his own bluff by inviting Wiseau onstage, on the condition he keep his mouth shut. It is very brave of Franco to make a film about one of the weirdest men in Hollywood (or to the side of it), about how weirdo the real-life subject is, and then try and convince everyone that it is a tribute film only to be blocked by Franco as he approaches the mic. The poor fella was sitting by his own on one of the tables for the guest at the Golden Globe Award Ceremony, nobody wanted to sit with the Man from Nowhere.

I know they don’t want me . . . I don’t wait for Hollywood; I make my own movie.

– Tommy Wiseau

A UCLA alumnus, with meritocratic-privileges, Franco is considered a sex symbol who can not just act but write, direct, and advocate the use of marijuana very well. He’s a man of many skills, a greatly gifted man who is also friends with Seth Rogen, Danny McBride (Alien: Covenant, 2017), Michael Fassbender, and Noomi Rapace.
Franco becomes Tommy Wiseau (no’ Tomas, a’ways Tommy) and the supporting cast helps him do it to perfection. The film is highly enjoyable especially when you know where The Room, 2003 stands today and how it stands where it stands; even if it stands under-appreciated and awkward. An argument, which keeps popping every now and then is that The Disaster Artist should never have been made – for if it was a tribute to an entertainer, Franco would’ve let the ‘deep-fried hair‘ Wiseau speak for sure. Yes, Artist has been watched by more people than The Room, which is impossible to watch, and Franco’s film is by definition an act of lifting up.

The subject matter of the film and the director are not friends, they aren’t even collaborators. Yet, Franco made a film to make it look as if honestly making a movie about Tommy Wiseau, an unconventional dreamer, the Hollywood outsider (just like how Franco is if we tend to the basics), and the Golden Globe incident just proved that Jimmy is just that, an eccentric, who will make films and not friends outside the elitist circle noted above and that blocking Wiseau shifted the power dynamics, Tommy’s grand privilege, and blessing for lowly outsiders for being invited to the ceremony only as part of Franco’s cause célèbre for the entire time the film was being made and then the accolades.

Franco doesn’t even allude to or identify with Wiseau and after watching The Interview, it is now clear that he was there to make faux pas and be rubbernecked at and to put the power dynamic from Wiseau into unrelenting release. We don’t even know where Wiseau is anymore. I mean we know, but we don’t. Cruel world, someone had said and I had scoffed, when very young, starry-eyed, about to conquer the world, before 1996, before Flushing Hospital, New York.

Everybody betray me

Tommy Wiseau

The biopic is based on something, which is an unwanted show, delivered with a sort of grotesque charisma but no technique, nothing but the raging impulse of the moment. That is the significance of The Room, that even Wiseau and close friend Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) could not have imagined at the time the duo decided to ‘fuck LA‘ and ‘make a film‘. 

All of it plays out wonderfully; the vigorous, gleefully comedic impersonation of Wiseau, the encounter with the producer (“yeah, thanks for rushing here; he made it through two acts of Shakespeare.”), the awful, God awful melodrama, highly charged alkaline performances, the passion, the dedication, getting up after a fake self-inflicted gunshot to the head and making noises, tearing clothes before finally dying because ‘it don’t matter’. It reminded me of Tim Burton‘s Ed Wood, 1994, where the passionate filmmaker’s (Depp as Wood) magnum opus Plan 9 from Outer Space is explored fully, with emotions and addictions and what it means to become a nobody in Hollywood.

Johnny Depp as Ed Wood

The Room, with its blend of surface slickness and artistic maladroitness, is, for better or worse a concept of the world as Wiseau sees it, with those huge shades he never takes off. Franco puts a bed sheet on Wiseau’s reputation and instead, he celebrates the propagation of art in a manner that is strangely and surprisingly mature and of high caliber. In the meantime, the crafty Franco is also celebrating failure and quietly laughing about it as well. We all know James Franco cannot be trusted. The man hosted the  2011 Oscars completely stoned and sleepwalking alongside Anne Hathaway who looked evidently perturbed but kept going, even trying to make up for Franco’s detached presence.

Having said and done all that was said and done, Franco is a talented man and I do not think there is anyone out there in these times who would do a better job at bringing the mystery to the big screen, simply because the big screen cannot go to the mystery. Especially when the mystery is a joke, it is an inept weirdo in real-life. The real mystery here would be James Franco’s motives, which can never be deciphered, especially not after making the film and then extending a hand to keep the muse away from the mic.

Do wait for the post-credit scene; it adds something to the film, something not yet identifiable by this pilgrim as yet. Artist is an irresistible experience. It is an embodiment of a world view that only an obliviously incoherent person would willingly display, even flaunt and guess what, the worst film ever made was remade by James Franco, the only man who could have done so by capturing the vaguely professional veneer of makeup, costuming, and lighting and performances that are a display a baseline of craft and energy in The Room, leaving the audiences asking themselves what did the 127 Hours star have in mind while making this serious movie?

Well, guess what, nobody knows and no one ever will.

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