Do you love Tommy Wiseau’s The Room? Admit it, you do! And even if you hate it…deep down you still love it. Well, have I got the treat for you!
I have finished reading The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissel, a chronicle of the making of the worst movie of all time, The Room. Let me be upfront, it was a rip roaring good time. One of those books that is so much fun to read that you finish the last few pages very slowly, hoping it won’t end. There was a supreme entertainment factor learning why our favorite scenes from The Room came to be, and discovering just how outlandish the filming process was. Truly it is a miracle that the film was made at all, and the backstage story is just as entertaining as the finished project.
However, the book reaches beyond just laughter (although I still laughed out loud on several occasions). It is sort of a coming of age for Greg Sestero, the author and who at the time was a struggling actor in Hollywood. Sestero quite impressed me with his writing and recollections of the ordeal, my only exposure to him was meeting him briefly (in which he was the yang to Tommy’s craziness) and watching him act in The Room (in which he comes off as an idiot). However, Sestero’s need to connect all of Tommy Wiseau’s actions back to their friendship seemed a self centered, but who’s to say it’s not true? I don’t know them! The Disaster Artist is also the fairly dark explanation of the man who defies all explanation, Tommy Wiseau, the actor, star, director, writer, producer and literal face of the film The Room.
Halfway through The Disaster Artist, I noticed something seemed very familiar, this book was near beat for beat similar to a famous work of literature. A young man, Sestero moves to an outlandish new city, Los Angeles in this case, and tries to make a name for himself. He is then taken in by a mesmerizing millionaire, Tommy Wiseau, who has built an empire yet suffers from severe emotional issues. He obsessed with obtaining what he can’t have, an acting career in this case, and is suffering from some past trauma. The young man then becomes part of the millionaire’s attempt to create his American Dream. Yes, I just described both the plot of The Disaster Artist, and The Great Gatsby. In a way an argument could be made that the story of the making of The Room, and more importantly Wiseau’s and Sestero’s relationship, is an almost a modern day retelling of the classic story of the American dream. Wiseau, supposedly, came from nothing to accomplish is dream of writing, making and staring in his own “masterpiece”, proving that really, anything is possible.
In a way I feel that it would have been interesting to see The Disaster Artist chronicle the years after The Room, the aftermath for all involved, however it ends precisely when it should, a moment of pure happiness when Tommy realizes his life long dream, moments before the tidal wave of derision hits.