As Variety’s Peter Debruge hails The Disaster Artist as James Franco achieving “what could become his most iconic role,” others like The New Yorker’s Richard Brody have claimed it’s a good movie, but Franco missed the mark; The Room is a better movie. Truth be told, reviews are always mixed for any movie, but when you compare a new theatrical film to what’s become known as the worst movie ever made, that’s saying something. The Disaster Artist, which is directed by, and stars James Franco, along with his brother Dave and long time collaborator Seth Rogan, follows the making of The Room, known to many as the worst movie ever made. The Room was a production-disaster-turned-cult-classic that was the lifeblood of two aspiring filmmakers, Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero. The two met and, realizing their dreams of filmmaking, decided to go to Hollywood to make their masterpiece. A $6 billion bill, countless horrendous reviews, and an opening weekend of only 200 ticket sales, however, seemed to literally spell disaster for the young filmmakers. But sometime after the initial release, something unexpected began to happen.
Word about Wiseau’s extremely bizarre acting, combined with the blatantly obvious technical errors, and the fact that a good amount of the plot went unresolved, got people wanting to see for themselves just how bad The Room really was. What had started as a legitimate attempt at dramatic storytelling suddenly became the most infamous cult classic of the 20th century. The Room follows a San Fransisco banker named Johnny, whose fiancee gets bored and begins cheating on him with his best friend, Mark. Wiseau, who also wrote and directed, stars in the lead role as Johnny, with Sestero taking the role of Mark. Following its appalling release, Wiseau went onto describe The Room as a dark-comedy as opposed to a legitimate attempt at filmmaking, but audiences and critics knew exactly what it was: a delightful, comedic accident. It is not, however, the horrendous production that is the center of Franco’s film, but rather an attempt to understand the extraordinary mind behind it.
The Disaster Artist is based on Greg Sestero’s memoir of the same name by Tom Bissell. It reflects upon Sestero’s experience working on the film and attempts to bring authenticity and credibility to its overly eccentric creator. This is where, according to Brody, Franco falls short, but delivers an otherwise fairly decent movie. Which one is really the worst? You’ll have to decide for yourself. The Disaster Audience was released on December 1st, but will be seeing a theatrical expansion this weekend, so be sure to go and see it for yourself. From the looks of the trailer it appears to be a pretty decent film, but then we all remember Spider-Man 3, so take it with a grain of salt.