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The Films of James Franco

The Ape

Fool's Gold

Good Time Max

Saturday Night

The Broken Tower

Sal

Hart Crane: An Exegesis

As I Lay Dying

Bukowski

Child of God

The Sound and the Fury

I Think You're Totally Wrong: A Quarrel

In Dubious Battle

The Disaster Artist (December 27/17)

Based on a non-fiction book by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell, The Disaster Artist details the unusual friendship that forms between a struggling actor (Dave Franco's Greg) and a seriously oddball figure (James Franco's Tommy) - with the movie detailing the pair's efforts at putting together a full-length feature from scratch. It's a promising setup that's employed to consistently middling effect by filmmaker James Franco, with the most obvious (and predominant) issue here the actor's seemingly accurate yet mostly irritating turn as Tommy Wiseau. There's little doubt, ultimately, that the character works best in extremely small doses and yet much of the narrative is focused entirely on his somewhat obnoxious (and completely unsympathetic) exploits, which ensures that large swaths of The Disaster Artist completely fail to completely capture and sustain one's interest - although it's hard to deny the effectiveness of certain making-a-picture sequences in the film's midsection (eg the shooting of the infamous "oh, hi Mark" scene). Equally problematic is the pervasive lack of subtlety within Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber's screenplay, as the scripters pepper the story with eye-rollingly heavy-handed elements that diminish the impact of certain moments. (This is never more true than in the climactic screening of Wiseau's picture, which is handled with all the grace of a hammer to the head.) It does, in the end, seem as though The Disaster Artist might fare better among pre-existing fans of The Room, as Franco the filmmaker generally proves hopelessly unable to draw neophytes into the somewhat notorious cult.

out of

© David Nusair