Disaster Artist and The James Franco Problem
SOMETIMES FLAWED PEOPLE can still do beautiful things. And just because they are flawed, that doesn't mean that they or their art should be thrown on the garbage heap.
I regard acting as one of the highest art forms there is. And every once in a while an actor or actress comes around and just demands attention. Right now, I think James Franco is doing some of the best work, across film and television, in Hollywood.
He's definitely a freak of nature. It's apparent not only in the roles he chooses, but in the quality of his performances, in the diversity of his work, but also in the amount of work he actually generates! He is a prolific guy who loves performing and being on camera. Check out his IMDB. His list of credits is pretty bonkers.
There are also some stories that swirl around about him in town, rumors/gossip/creepy stuff, and that is coming back to bite him in the ass with the latest Oscar Snub. We all heard about the #metoo/Time's Up! controversy that flared up right after he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor.
IN FACT, I originally wrote this as a very complimentary piece (and mostly it still is), but after reading all the allegations against Franco in detail, I'd just like to say: I wouldn't want my daughter taking his acting class or auditioning for a role in one of his films or getting a beer with him.
BUT I try to separate the ART from the ARTIST and this film was not solely the work of one man who likes to pull his penis out in front of aspiring actresses (allegedly)... This film was a collaboration of hundreds of people (performers, technicians, photographers, designers, editors, writers, etc.), many of these people probably don't whip out their penis when they are alone in a car in a parking lot after acting class with one of their students....(allegedly)... Many of the people who worked on The Disaster Artist are in deed women who probably are and SHOULD BE proud of this film cuz its good. So there are are plenty of reasons why you should still see the movie.
I understand why Franco was not nominated for a best actor role for his performance, BUT I think, if acting is transcending the real world and becoming the character, losing yourself entirely in a role, then I can't think of a more deserving performances captured on film in 2017.
Franco's portrayal of Hollywood outsider Tommy Wiseau, an artist whose passion was as genuine as his methods were dubious, was and is top notch. And Franco's work should go down in the books as one of the most sincere and authentic performances of the year.
The Disaster Artist tells the story of an enigmatic, passionate and uninhibited actor (Tommy Wiseau) who just can't seem to crack into Hollywood no matter how hard he tries. And frankly he didn't really have the talent either. But what Tommy did have at the time was enough money to make his own movie, "The Room", fully finance it and even rent theater space in LA to project it for several weeks.
The Room had a budget of 2 Million dollars that Tommy Wiseau spent (out of pocket) and the film grossed less than 10K in the theater.
BUT it has since gone on to become one of the most treasured "cult" films of all time, much like "Rocky Horror" or "Big Lebowski", in that there is a subculture that has erupted around the film, a book written about it and now a major motion picture concerning the creation of the film.
The Room was a disaster, but it also is a testament to what a persistent artist can do if he or she just keeps pushing and doesn't let others decide their destiny.
And in that, I think we can see what drove Franco to the material and why he chose to make this "movie-about-a-movie" and "movie about a movie maker".
But it's a shame that Franco's off-screen antics have diminished an otherwise great film for EVERYONE involved in the production.
Go see it if you haven't.
More reviews to come and until next time: Save the Drama 4 Your Mama.