And here we are. Sunday morning. I had a nice, relaxing weekend. Friday was spent not doing too much—slept in slightly late, snacked over and over until about 5pm, did some last minute cleaning, and then watched The Disaster Artist with close friends.
I enjoyed the movie. It was a biopic, which comes with its own demands on structure, performance, and presentation. James and Dave Franco were perfectly adequate as Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, respectively, but I couldn’t shake the impression that the film did the bare minimum to relay the narrative. It assumes familiarity with The Room, and many of its scenes would definitely fall flat if not for that prior knowledge. Sestero’s admittedly slight source book goes in a few different directions, and they would have worked well as a way to further contextualize Wiseau’s weirdness and outright dickishness (the simultaneous depositing of several checks, his specific order at every restaurant, etc.)
James Franco’s performance also never really rises above the level of very accomplished impression, which is a criticism I have of biopics overall. Even the best only just clear the bar, while the rest rely on makeup and carbon copying accents and mannerisms without much thought beyond reproduction. The Theory of Everything was an excruciating watch because of that. Franco has a wig and the weird eye, the strange accent, and the movement down, but I never felt like I was watching anything other than an extended bit from SNL. The other characters are perfectly fine, but Dave Franco gets special mention here for actually doing the work of bringing some nuance to his performance of Greg Sestero. There’s more there than simply makeup and replication. He really pushes himself to actually act here, and it shows—he’s got some measure of depth, of nuance, of actual character compared to his brother’s surface level impression.
But overall I think it was a perfectly fine movie. I don’t think I’d ever watch it again—better to actually rewatch The Room and reread The Disaster Artist, which is a much fuller accounting of the weirdness that went in to the production.
We watched it as we always do when we see movies at home: subtitles on, pauses for restroom breaks, wisecracks and running jokes as the movie wears on, conversations that go on longer than the bathroom break time, etc. We had good conversation, we drank wine (too much in my case—super cheap and very drinkable box wine is apparently my weakness), we ate italian food, and then we saw our friends off as the movie ended. It was an enjoyable night.
Living like I do, it’s refreshing and energizing to see people you love and care about and just enjoy everyone’s company.