Thursday, 21 December 2017

Film: 'The Disaster Artist'

I'd not known of the film 'The Room', the making of which this current film is based - a film reputedly so 'bad' that it's acquired a cult status as being good entertainment for all the reasons it wasn't intended to have. I think having prior knowledge, and preferably having seen, that original film would have been an immense advantage to appreciating 'The Disaster Artist', as evidenced by at least a couple of the audience I was with being in such high hysterics at every turn that they were broadcasting in their laughter an element of  "We know why its funny!" so as to be madly irritating and making me, for one, more determined than ever to keep a straight face - which, as it turned out, wasn't so hard anyway.

James Franco (a poisonous presence to some, I'm well aware) directs this film and plays the off-puttingly ambitious and over-earnest, long-haired director, Tommy Wiseau, possessing a fortune whose origins are unexplained just as his own age is unclear, meeting in San Francisco, late 1990s, with aspiring actor Greg Sestero (Franco's younger brother, Dave - looking more like James F. than James F. himself - and nicer looking!). 
The two of them going to L.A., after some false starts in which Wiseau's self-confidence over-reaches himself and he's firmly put in his place, he decides to create his own film, writes the script, which immediately gets Sestero on board, and with money no object, buys all the equipment necessary and hires all the needed crew and players, he and Sestero taking the plum roles.   
The film then follows a rather predictable path - scenes where lines are fluffed or forgotten, OTT acting, clumsy and non-intended actions, conflicts and arguments between characters both in front of and behind cameras - if it hadn't been based on what had really happened you could have guessed much of it anyway. 

When the film is completed, well over schedule, it gets its first public airing - and the audience's reaction is.......well, you can guess that too.

The film contains fleeting appearances of a few equally-statured names as Franco J., though I did miss most of them. I was also particularly disappointed not to have recognised Megan Mullally as Sestero's mother, in just the one scene. 

The film did raise in me a couple of glimmers of smiles, but no more than that. I think that not having been even aware of  the original 'The Room' played against my ability to appreciate this particular film. 
Incidentally, over the final credits there are parallel shots shown in split-screen, of scenes from the original 'The Room' and the equivalent scenes recreated for this film, showing the pain-staking attempt Franco has made to duplicate the original, and I have to say that he's done a remarkable job.  

I didn't know James Franco already has such a full body of directing experience, and here his expertise is fully evident, particularly as he takes one of the two central roles as well.
I also wasn't aware of his brother, Dave, as being an actor, though I see that he too has quite a substantial history, and this will possibly be his most central part to date.

I'm not sure how well-known 'The Room' is outside the U.S.A. (or even to what extent it's known at all there!) but I think knowing about it beforehand would be a prerequisite to giving 'The Disaster Artist' some traction in order to enjoy it fully.  As it was, despite having some mildly amusing moments, my overall feeling was that I ought to have been entertained more..................6.

26 comments:

  1. I think it’s quite popular here...I hear it mentioned regularly in entertainment news and I’ve seen it mentioned on the cover of some magazines.

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    1. I'm now wiser to the fact, S/b, though, as I say, it was total news to me, as I think it must be to most British cinema-goers. It's made me curious to see the original now.

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  2. Franc-Oh-No, for me. I can't with him.

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    1. Yes, I was thinking of you, Bob - and you're by no means my only blog-pal who shares the Franco-aversion syndrome. I've always quite liked him, though I've never watched him in any chat-show appearances where, I understand he's especially insufferable. That time will surely come.

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  3. Once again, another film I sat through the trailer to several times, and each time it looked worse than the last, and I thought, no I cannot see this film. Thanks Ray!

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    1. It's actually not all THAT bad, Rachel. I have, after all, rated it
      a bit better than average. But as for recommending anyone to go out of their way to catch, that'd be a step too far - unless, that is, one knows of the original film that this is all about, then curiosity may well sway one.

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  4. Ray,
    You know I'm not a James Franco fan. In fact I can't stand him. He and Seth Rogan and their frat boy inside Hollywood jokes. I just don't think they're funny, especially when they're making millions and fooling so many movie goers by their horseplay. I used to like Franco but after seeing him on the Oscars years ago when he was beyond dull with his head up his ass and subsequent films in which he and Rogan yuk it up. Then I heard him in a radio interview with Howard Stern bragging about himself school boy English (can't talk). Frankly Franco makes my skin crawl every time I see him. Ironically this film is perfect for him. They're both disasters. Thanks again for the warning. This film is just another self indulgence for Franco for which he will probably receive some awards because he seems to be the Flavor of the Moment in Hollywood, which I don't understand at all.
    Ron

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    1. I was well aware of your hostility to J.F. as I watched the film, Ron - and, as you can see from above comments, you aren't alone. I've always found something 'magnetic' about him though, as I also write above, I've never seen him anywhere outside his appearance in films, not even talking about them. I dare say that if I did my opinion may well turn more in your direction, but until that happens I do find him more than tolerable. However, in this particular film I must say I thought his longer-than shoulder-length hair did NOT suit him. His younger bro was much more attractive (I wonder if his personality is similar to J's) and he's one I'll be looking out to see again.

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    2. Ray,
      I first saw James Franco on “Milk” and was very impressed. However, since then stardom has gone to his head. I find Franco insufferable. And I had the misfortune to hear him in an interview. He can’t talk Intelligently. Atrocious grammar and all about himself which most actors do anyway but he is way over the top in self absorption with his self-indentified “greatness”. I’m sorry but I just can’t take this self absorbed jerk seriously in any movie role. He lacks maturity and seriousness.
      Ron

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    3. Point taken, Ron. Whenever a film of his comes out he does appear on chat shows over here but I always miss them because they tend to be on too late, though I suppose I could watch them later on 'catch-up'. Sounds from what you say that I ought to give this a priority as it would reveal an aspect of his which ought to go into the mix when I judge him overall. I'm going to do this!

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  5. My son and I are going to see Star Wars shortly. I have purposely avoided reading your review. I hope I am not disappointed!

    We have a very small family (just the 3 of us here) so movie-going on Christmas Eve and Christmas is something of a "thing" for us. I thought we were the only ones to do so (small/no family people) until we started going a few years ago, and realized the theaters are always packed on these nights. Not everybody has the over the top celebrations we see on Facebook, etc., and that is okay too.

    Sending you an early Merry Christmas wish, dear Ray, from Ohio!!!

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    1. I've got your Christmas wish on this Noel morn, Elle (5.20 a.m.), and I dearly thank you for it. Best wishes too to you and your son - plus all those whom similar wishes should be due.
      I hope you find the film to be the Xmas treat you're hoping it turns out to be. (I shan't say any more).

      I've spent every Christmas alone since 1974 (after which I moved away from my parents) and this day, which I actually don't celebrate anyway, is no different from any other day except for the minor inconvenience of closed shops. But I really am missing the two cats I lost in the last few months, as I have every day since they 'departed' - though I still have Patchie for company.

      Anyway, have a lovely day today, and I do most sincerely offer you my best wishes for a particularly fine 2018.
      Thanks for your thoughts in this direction.

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    2. My Star Wars review: I loved it! I know that makes you cringe but I just loved it...I was a fan of Carrie Fisher's in many ways, and that made it even more poignant for me.

      We had hoped to see The Post this week, but it evidently does not open here for widespread runs until January. Not sure if you've seen that yet; I am looking forward to it.

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    3. I freely accept that there are many who love the S.W. films, Elle. I have no problem with that - and I did feel that this latest one is less annoying than most of its predecessors. I'm glad that it didn't spoil your Xmas season experiences. Yes, Carrie F's appearance gave it an extra dimension of poignancy.

      I've got 'The Post' provisionally pencilled in to see on 29th Jan. I think it will open around here maybe two weeks before that, so if it does I may get a chance to see it earlier. Just seeing Streep and Hanks together, even if it hadn't had Spielberg at the helm, would have sold it to me. I'll be astonished if I dislike it.

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  6. Replies
    1. Thanks ever so much, Sol - and wishing the same to you and yours.
      I was thinking yesterday of leaving you a greetings message on your blog (honestly!) but wasn't sure if you'd be able to read it, we not having heard from you for so long - with book reviews having to take a back seat until you're in a position to resume. I do hope all is well with you.
      Anyway, good to know that you're still out there and 'functioning' and hope to see you back again regularly before much longer.
      With all best seasonal wishes to you - and a better 2018 than 2017 has been (and, boy, do I also feel it!)

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    2. hey Ray, hope you are well I am only on the mobile phone so I am not really up to blogging. hope to get a new laptop in the salles!

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    3. I do so much hope you can pick up a reliable laptop, Sol. I'm sure to be not the only person missing you substantially. Best of luck!

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  7. Happy Christmas, Ray! {{{{Hugs}}}}

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    1. Delighted to accept your Xmas greetings, Rozzie - and more than happy to reciprocate to you and all those around you.
      I'm particularly feeling the absence of two of my very best friends (furry ones) which I lost in the last six months, this year having only Patchie for company - and who, in bed, gets so purry-excited when he snuggles himself under the duvet for warmth that he gives me a nip. I have to restrain myself from not reacting angrily. It's nice to get physical contact from at least one quarter!
      And a very Happy New Year to you and everyone of yours where it's appropriate, R. Thanks fr thinking of me.

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    1. Very many thanks, F.B. (at Xmas Day 5.10 a.m.). best wishes too to you and all those whom you wish to include - and a special Christmas pets and strokes to all your little 'uns from me and Patchie.

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  9. Today, you and I are especially feeling the loss of our beloved companions. But as I am writing this, my loving little girl (who was not part of my original three) sits next to my computer. Her presence is a great comfort as, I'm sure, Patchie's is to you.

    Warmest wishes to you and Patchie.

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    1. Many thanks for your sympathetic thoughts, Paul. We share emotions today, a day which inevitably puts absences to the fore. My own Patchie is right now sleeping on a chair just six feet away from where I'm typing this. When I go to bed in a couple of hours he'll follow me, his proximity throughout the night bringing me much solace, sometimes under the duvet sometimes on top. But I'd give so much to have Blackso and Noodles back as well, as I know you'll be feeling precisely the same for your missed ones.
      Please give your little, four-pawed beauty a friendly stroke from me - and we both wish the two of you a happy and a healthy New Year.
      Thanks once more.

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  10. Now 2017 is coming to an end.
    Don't forgot you're adopted as my friend
    There's only one thing left to say
    Hope 2018 is your year Ray. xxxxx

    Have a wonderful 2018, I hope it brings you all the happiness your heart can hold. x

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    1. Much thanks for that little verse, Cherie. It's charmed the socks off me! .......Now that I've put them back on again I wish you too a very happy 2018 indeed, one to go down as positive in all sorts of ways, but healthwise above all.

      A good year would be a change for me, the last one I can remember being around 1990, since when it's been an accumulation of misfortune and, for about the last 15 years, increasing health difficulties (though not as serious as they could be for someone of my age).

      I hope your own life has been somewhat better but whether it's been so or not let's wish for both our 2018s to be an improvement on what's just gone (to which I say a massive "Good riddance!"

      Thanks for your thoughtful message. Much love, from me and Patchie.

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