The Disaster Artist inspires, tells story of The Room’s success

graphic by Rachel Nwia

graphic by Rachel Nwia

Lizzie Garvey, asst. opinions editor

“I did not hit her. It’s not true. It’s bullsh*t. I did not hit her. I did not. Oh, hi Mark.”

An iconic, extremely underappreciated line in film history (ironically, of course). Or so I thought, at least, until I found myself in a theater full of strangers laughing hysterically at the same lines and scenes ingrained in our minds by the ridiculousness and hilarity only Tommy Wiseau- and now James Franco- seem to be able to bring to the big screen.

I first stumbled across The Room, a movie released in June of 2003 and the source of the aforementioned quote, when I found a video called “Everything Wrong With The Room” on the YouTube channel CinemaSins. They essentially post videos in which they point out a movie’s ‘sins’- plot holes, quotes, continuity errors, etc. To say the least, my friends and I were captivated.

Everything about The Room is so awful- the acting, the writing, the directing- so awful, in fact, that it’s amazing.  Most people don’t even know what the movie’s about, focusing instead on the terrible production. This is the exact reason that the movie, which was directed, written and produced by the legendary Tommy Wiseau, has garnered a cult following across America and eventually became The Disaster Artist, directed by James Franco and released in early December of this year.

While it could have easily ridiculed The Room and Wiseau himself, Franco decided to take the film in a different direction and told a story about passion, being an outsider and achieving what nobody else thinks you can.

“What I hoped I could do is tell a story about creativity, tell a story about having a vision that nobody else believed in and pushing that vision out into the world,” Franco said in an interview with Vox.

And Franco, alongside brother and co-star Dave Franco, tell this story absolutely perfectly. The two portray Wiseau and friend Greg Sotero in a way that depicts a story which is comedic, occasionally depressing and all-around inspiring, starting with the formation of a friendship and ending with the shocking success of the movie the two created because they were outcasts. While the accuracy of the backstory is questionable given the mystery surrounding Wiseau, sources such as Sotero’s book regarding the creation of The Room are used to show exactly what it’s like to fail and fail and, despite all odds, create a movie like nothing the film industry has ever seen.

The movie also feels more ‘real’ due to the way in which James Franco isn’t afraid to depict Wiseau as a less-than-unlikeable person at times. He’s unwilling to compromise, condescending towards crew members and wants everything done his way. “This is real Hollywood movie,” Wiseau says while choosing to film an alley scene in a studio with a perfectly good alleyway right outside the set.

The audience also feels for Wiseau, however, a man who’s been put down so often and is constantly ridiculed, giving the movie an emotional dynamic alongside the comedy derived from the ridiculously, yet unintentionally, hilarious scenes that made The Room so famous in the first place.

Another incredible aspect regarding The Disaster Artist was the experience of seeing it in a packed theater where it seemed as if we were all in on the joke. I’ve never seen a group of strangers laugh so hard, so often, and I can easily attribute that to James Franco’s flawless portrayal of the hard-to-pin-down Wiseau and the frame-by-frame accuracy of The Room’s most iconic scenes- “Hi doggy,” “I definitely have breast cancer,” “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa,” – you name it.

I guess what I love most about The Disaster Artist is that it’s not afraid. It takes one of the most infamous movies in Hollywood (well, out of Hollywood) and spins it into a piece that’s emotional, revealing and really, really hilarious. I’ll be seeing this one again with my other The Room-obsessed friends, if for no other purpose than to sit in a theater full of people screaming “I did not hit her!” over and over again. It’s weird to say it’s heartwarming, but you’ll have to experience it for yourself- after all, what’s better than being in on one of the most popular inside jokes of 2017?