TIFF 2017: James Franco’s The Disaster Artist Is The Most Fun You Can Have At Midnight

The Disaster Artist

Who’s Behind It

Director, star, Renaissance man, Mr. James Franco.

Who’s In It

See above, plus Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie, Zac Efron, Jackie Weaver, Ari Graynor, Paul Scheer, Josh Hutcherson, and some surprise cameos which we will not spoil.

Who’ll Love It

Literally everyone. We bet our Blu-ray copy of Ed Wood on it.

What’s It About

How does a truly terrible film become beloved by fans, eventually achieving the status of cult classic? That’s what Franco and co. set out to explore in The Disaster Artist, their comedic but sweetly sympathetic recreation of the making of Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 movie The Room—known to many as “the worst movie ever made” or “the Citizen Kane of bad movies.”

Franco and Franco take on the roles of Wiseau (that’s James) and his much younger BFF, Greg Sestero (Dave), following the duo’s story from the time that they meet in an acting class, to their incredibly awkward game of football, right through to the making and screening of The Room.

Immediately, there are things that seem very odd about Tommy—he claims to be from New Orleans when his accent is most definitely Eastern European and he says he’s 19 when he’s likely twice that age (that jet black hair dye, tho). And then there’s the money, a seemingly bottomless pit of it which Wiseau uses to independently fund the movie (and keep it in theatres for the two weeks necessary to qualify for the Academy Award race). But Wiseau’s past is only part of the comedic mystery. It’s the things he does on a daily basis that are really baffling (and really hilarious).

Why You Should See It

There’s something of Withnail and Marwood here, only neither Tommy nor Greg has much talent in the acting department. Still, with Tommy’s money and Greg’s Sears catalogue model good looks, the two scrape together just enough audacity to believe that they can really make it. It’s funny, but it’s also inspiring—there’s barely a mean bone in this movie’s body, which is a real credit to Franco’s directing and to the writing team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer). There’s no punching down here just to get laughs—and besides, The Room’s cult status meant that it eventually turned a profit, so who’s laughing now?

When You Can See It

The Disaster Artist premiered as part of TIFF’s Midnight Madness lineup on Monday, September 11. Catch it again on Tuesday, September 12 at 6:45PM (Scotiabank). Tickets available here. Opens in wide release on December 8. Check out the trailer below.