James Franco and Friends, in Disaster Artist. Picture: Justina Mintz

Two words: The Room. If you have not seen this abysmal film that has turned into a cult classic, do so. But, if you’re too lazy and you’d rather just see the ultra problematic James Franco (who said he supports the #MeToo movement only to have sexual misconduct allegations levelled against him) in action, then you won’t feel like you need to see The Room.

And the truth is that Disaster Artist does a good enough job of showing why you have to be a sucker for punishment or a liker of things in order to be in Mzansi and go seek that film out. I’ll explain. 

In the 90s, there was a very eccentric old director called Tommy Waseau. He had a heavy Eastern European accent, but insisted he was from the same hood as Lil Wayne. He had a hectic ability to cling onto his newfound, 19-year-old friend, Greg Sestero. 

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Together, they made The Room – which was written, produced, directed by and starred Waseau. It was an incredibly bad film, so bad that it gained notoriety through word of mouth and, in the end, Wiseau and his eccentricities were left alone because he was able to bring people together in their collective shade-throwing of The Room.


The Disaster Artist takes the viewer through what it was like to make that film and its aftermath. 

James Franco plays Waseau and like Waseau in The Room, the older Franco directs and produces Disaster Artist. Dave Franco plays his young Archie Comics-looking friend, Greg. Ari Graynor is the belittled actress who played Lisa – Tommy’s girlfriend who betrays him.

There are particularly gruelling scenes that depict how Tommy probably behaved on the set. For instance, during a sex scene where he insists that his hairy butt be the focus of the shot, he repeatedly tells the actress who is playing Lisa that the natural spots on her shoulders are disgusting and need to be covered up.

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If the point was to show that Waseau was weird, the creators of this film achieve that point. 

However, you also have to wonder about the self-indulgence exhibited by James Franco. 

He aims to be the hero who gives the weirdo a voice but actually, it seems that he just gives the peanut gallery an even bigger screen to ridicule someone. 
I actually wish that the Francos had made a real documentary instead.