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The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made Hardcover – October 1, 2013
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*Starred Review* Reading this downright thrilling book is a lot like watching Tim Burton’s Ed Wood: it’s sometimes infuriating, often excruciating, usually very funny, and occasionally horribly uncomfortable, but it’s also impossible to look away from. The Room, a 2003 film written, directed, and starring the inscrutable Tommy Wiseau, was massively and enthusiastically lambasted by critics, proclaimed by some as the worst movie ever made (an insult, some movie fans might say, to Ed Wood’s Plan 9 from Outer Space). Sestero, who starred in The Room, teams up with magazine journalist Bissell (who previously wrote about the movie in Harper’s) to walk us through the unpredictable, confusing, and—it must be admitted—wildly incompetent production of Wiseau’s vanity project. This is a making-of book like no other, the day-to-day story about the filming of a movie that everyone involved with it, except its creator, knew was awful. But it’s also the story of a very interesting friendship between Sestero and Wiseau (who knew each other for several years before The Room), and the story of an enigmatic and incredibly self-absorbed man who, in making his film, seemed to be trying to exorcise a troubled past and build an entirely new version of himself. Wiseau, for all his eccentricities, comes off as a sympathetic fellow, someone we, like Sestero, can’t help rooting for. The Room has become a cult fave, and this book goes a long way toward explaining how and why. --David Pitt
The Disaster Artist is co-written (or probably, judging by its wit and literacy, written) by journalist Tom Bissell, and with its allusions to Ripley and Sunset Boulevard, it understands the story it wants to tell. Tommy is a middle-aged man of some means and cloudy provenance, desperately lonely, waiting for the world to take notice. Greg is the beautiful young man who notices. —Louis Bayard
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I think as fans we sometimes forget that these characters we see onscreen (and yell insults to on countless midnight screenings) are portrayed by actual human beings, separate from their characters. I loved reading about how Juliette Daniels ended up playing Lisa and Dan Janjigian's preparation for the Oscar-worthy role of Chris-R. The Disaster Artist has brought an entirely new dimension to The Room. The book's biggest feat was helping the reader understand Tommy Wiseau, as much as anyone can understand Tommy Wiseau. Some of the details that Greg shares with us break my heart. I now view Tommy in the same way one would view a vampire puppy-- with an equal mixture of "aw" and "eek".
I can be sure that the next midnight screening I attend, I'll be giggling to myself over how long it took to shoot the famous, "I did naaht heet her" line. Or over the real reason why Peter was blinking so much. Or whether the enigmatic Chloe knows what obscenities audiences yell when they see her name appear onscreen. Without this book I would never have known that I've memorized The Room better than Tommy Wiseau. It was a fantastic read and I'm so excited to see what Greg Sestero does next!
I'd never heard of the movie before, but I found a copy online and started watching it. As soon as I heard the first awkward line ("Hey babe, I have something for yyuuuu!"), I had to pause the movie because I was laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes.
I then went and got all of my coworkers and we dicked off work for 3 hours watching, pausing, rewinding, and rewatching it.
So this book inspired me to watch the movie which inspired a thousand jokes, and now my wall at work is covered with Johnny memes. I've since recommended the book to 3 or 4 friends who have also downloaded and read it, and I would recommend it to you as well.
SPECIAL NOTE: For those who have yet to read the book or see James Franco’s film adaptation, I highly recommend seeing the film first. Franco’s film is a faithful adaptation of the spirit of the book, but much was obviously excised and changed in order to adhere to feature film length, and I personally feel that the discoveries to be found by reading the true accounts after watching the abbreviated film translation will actually increase your appreciation of both.
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James Franco perfectly took on the character of Tommy Wiseau.Read more