Johnny is a successful banker who lives happily in a San Francisco townhouse with his fiancée, Lisa. One day, inexplicably, she gets bored with him and decides to seduce his best friend, Mark. From there, nothing will be the same again.
In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father's research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape.
Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.
Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry "Doc" Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War.
So yeah, The Room is pretty well-known by now, becoming just about the
most popular 'so bad it's good' film of all time over the last six or
seven years, as has the story behind it- as detailed in Greg Sestero's
book, The Disaster Artist.
So being a fan of both, I had a good idea of what I was in for,
approaching the James Franco directed The Disaster Artist, but I'm
pleased to say the film ended up meeting my expectations and then some.
First things first: James Franco's performance in this is incredible.
His accent and mannerisms are a spot-on imitation of Wiseau's, and he
manages to make you feel sympathy towards the character too. It's one
thing to so directly portray such a unique individual and make doing so
incredibly funny, but it's another thing entirely to make him feel
(almost) like a real person, and to make you genuinely care for him.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that I truly think this performance is
worth an Academy Award nomination (fingers crossed).
Everyone else was good too. Dave Franco had a less flashy role than his
brother's, sure, playing Greg Sestero, but he did a good job as the
more grounded, 'straight man' type character. And some of the casting
was genius too- I could list almost everybody, but special mention
should go to Josh Hutcherson, Zac Efron, and Jacki Weaver.
Also worth mentioning is how well the cast and crew recreated the look
of the original The Room- the mannerisms of the actors, the set design,
the lighting, the camera-work- it's all perfect. It makes the film an
impressive technical achievement in many regards; not simply a funny
film with inspired casting and good performances.
As for downsides? There aren't a whole bunch. Perhaps the most
significant is that this may not have a great deal of appeal beyond
those who've watched and loved The Room already. I'm sure it would
still function as a good film, but it might lack something for those
who aren't already indoctrinated into the cult of The Room. Other
nitpicks I could think of may be that the film is fairly conventional
in terms of plot- not a ton of surprises here (other than maybe a few
cameos throughout). And it feels a tiny bit longer than just over 100
minutes- but again, that's a nitpick. I am more or less struggling to
think of too much that I personally didn't like with this film.
So as a long time fan of The Room, this is about as good as I hoped it
could be. I hope I'm wrong in my views that the audience for this will
be limited, and that it does have appeal beyond hardcore fans of The
Room. And hey, if there's enough buzz behind it to allow for James
Franco to earn an Oscar nomination, then that would be fantastic.
And deserved (in my opinion).
This is one of the most pleasant surprises of the film year so far, and
second only to Tim Burton's Ed Wood in the (admittedly probably
non-existent) sub-genre of films about making terrible movies.
If you've ever watched The Room, or even just watched some of its
scenes on Youtube, make sure you don't miss this one.
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