The Disaster Artist

LetterboxD review link

I’ve tried to avoid writing Trump-related reviews all year. I’m not shy of introducing political topics in my reviews, I just wanted this to be a Trump free space. I’m going to break my own promise to myself today. And I apologize to anyone reading this for bringing Trump into this.

To me, there’s no sunlight between someone like Tommy Wiseau and someone like Donald Trump. Here are a few ways in which I find them to be the same:

The Room is not a film for which I have a particular fondness. I know many people who do. And for them, The Disaster Artist works much better. And there is certainly plenty to love including James Franco’s performance/immitation, the fidelity of the recreations, the meta-textual references with “Waiting for Godot” and the ever-interesting topic for movie-goers-how movies are made.

So where does that land us? What happens when we, the audience, sometimes ironically and sometimes not so ironically, props up narcissists like Trump and Tommy? Do we, as Franco/Tommy say, become the villains when we “laugh, ha ha ha” at them? What happens when an artist like James Franco, no slouch in the narcissism department himself, creates a project that pathologizes Tommy. Franco could have explored themes about the audience’s role in creating people like Tommy and Trump, who give themselves up for consumption, and we consume laughing and smiling, until it’s no longer funny. We get none of that, just a simplistic story about friendship, and some laugh lines. Irony and satire are not very potent when they’re built on flimsy moral scaffolding.