The Disaster Artist

Oh Hai, Mark … to all of you fans out there.

Let me start by saying that if you haven’t watched the movie The Room, you should probably do so. One, because it is a wonderfully bad experience, and two because while this book may be stand-alone-hilarious, it will make much more sense if you view the film it is about.

Before I review the book, I think it might be helpful to say a few words about the film The Room to give the book some context in case you have no idea what I’m talking about. I first saw the room years ago and have since watched it numerous times.

Why? Because it’s horribly captivating, like that awful accident you can’t look away from. Because it’s like that awkward people falling video on youtube that you keep watching. Because of its hilarious, fascinatingly awful unnatural dialog, story line, and incontinuity. I got the impression from watching interviews with Tommy Wiseau (the director) that he meant this movie to be a drama, very serious, and very moving … and it is moving … but I don’t think in the way he intended. He directs, produces, and stars in the film which may be part of the problem. The movie is so unbelievably bad, by any standards of cinematography, that it has become a sort of “cult movie” similar to Rocky Horror. To really understand the quirky yet lovable oddness that is this film, you will have to watch it yourself. But I will leave you with one of my favorite scenes which will not give away anything in the plot. Actually uh… most scenes do absolutely nothing for the plot.

Now onto the review. I recently introduced my boyfriend to The Room and he gave me this book as a birthday present. We actually read the book out loud to each other which made everything even more hilarious (I recommend this, highly). Essentially the book explains the many oddities and strangeness behind the movie and the man who created it. One of the authors, Greg Sestero, met Tommy Wiseau in an acting class and both of their lives were changed forever. I really got the feeling from the book that all of the experiences Greg related about being on the set of The Room were completely factual and genuine. It all seems to fit in with how childlike, creepy, endearing, and enigmatic Tommy Wiseau is. As Greg states in the book, no one views the world quite like Tommy does.

The hilarity of the book comes from the excruciating inefficiency and disorganized conditions that the actors had to function within. From the casting calls being held in a parking lot, to scenes being torn down and built back up–it is evident that Tommy Wiseau had absolutely no method to his madness and all of the actors and crew were in for a crazy ride. Some people even quit. What I find especially fun is that Greg points out minor details in the movie: mishaps and even more incontinuities to look for in the finished film. For me, it shed some light on the mystery of the endearingly terrible movie I grew to love. From the goofy dialog to the painfully long (and awkward) sex scenes … watching the film and reading this book would definitely give you a new appreciation for all that goes into a good film as well as all of the amusing blunders that go into making a (lovable) bad one.

I was certainly thrilled when I learned about the book, I wanted some answers about this movie. And while I still think Tommy Wiseau remains sort of an enigma, I was very happy with the insider perspective that The Disaster Artist provided. Well written, candid, and genuine, I think Greg and Tom did an awesome job articulating the absurdities and madness that went into making The Room. And I thoroughly look forward to more of Greg and/or Tommy’s projects.

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