By Cameron Rasmusson
In 2003, the independent movie “The Room” premiered to a baffled audience in Los Angeles. At the time, no one could have predicted the cult phenomenon it would become.
That strange journey is chronicled in “The Disaster Artist,” a film directed, starring and written by James Franco. The one-of-a-kind comedy-drama hits the Panida Theater this week as the latest in the Reader Reels film series.
Based on the book by the same name, “The Disaster Artist” examines the making of “The Room” — a story somehow even more strange than the movie itself — and the bizarre personality at its center: Tommy Wiseau. Speaking in a thick, unplaceable accent and driven by unshakable self-confidence, Wiseau’s frustrated dreams of movie stardom drive him write, direct, finance and act in his own movie instead. A surreal production results in “The Room,” now regarded as one of the most infamous so-bad-it’s-good movies ever made. “The Disaster Artist” is about dreams that outsize personal talent — and the surprising twists those dreams take when they’re pursued anyway.
“The Disaster Artist” features a talented cast of well-known comedians, with James Franco in the lead as Tommy Wiseau. Finding a vulnerable human behind Wiseau’s unusual public persona is no simple task, but Franco’s portrayal, from the accent to the flowing black hair, received critical praise. Wiseau’s bizarre directorial decisions — at one point he orders an alleyway set despite a perfectly good alley being located nearby because he’s making a “real Hollywood movie” — make for plenty of laughs. But at the movie’s heart is an earnestness and a longing that drives all artists, whether they’re capable of realizing their dreams or not.
Catch “The Disaster Artist” at the Panida Theater 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15, and 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. Friday, March 16.
While we have you ...
... if you appreciate that access to the news, opinion, humor, entertainment and cultural reporting in the Sandpoint Reader is freely available in our print newspaper as well as here on our website, we have a favor to ask. The Reader is locally owned and free of the large corporate, big-money influence that affects so much of the media today. We're supported entirely by our valued advertisers and readers. We're committed to continued free access to our paper and our website here with NO PAYWALL - period. But of course, it does cost money to produce the Reader. If you're a reader who appreciates the value of an independent, local news source, we hope you'll consider a voluntary contribution. You can help support the Reader for as little as $1.
You can contribute at either Paypal or Patreon.Contribute at Patreon Contribute at Paypal