The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made


Author: Greg Sestero & Tom Bissell
Release Date: October 10, 2013
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre(s): Nonfiction

Rating: ★★★★★
Review Spoilers: Low
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If you haven’t seen The Room yet, here’s what I’m going to need you to do before you read this review. Call this number: (323) 654-6192. No, seriously, call it and if you’re in Los Angeles, go to that screening with as many friends as you can round up. If you’re not in LA, still call the number, then go out and rent The Room, get a lot of alcohol together (perhaps find a drinking game), and that same lot of friends. Watch this movie, try your best not to die of alcohol poisoning, and then go out and buy The Disaster Artist.

Written by Greg Sestero, who played Mark in the magnum opus you just watched, and Tom Bissell. It chronicles the making of The Room, as well as Sestero’s relationship to the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau – who played Johnny in the film, but was also the Executive Producer, Writer, Producer, and Director. The accepted rumor is that he also financed the entire $6 million film with money from a source he has never identified.

Greg is nineteen when he meets Tommy, who is cagey about his age and never actually reveals it to Greg, in an acting class and – after seeing just how wrong Tommy plays a scene – decides he must be his next scene partner. This sets Greg, who is struggling to become the next big star, on an insane path mixed up with someone whom you hardly believe is real, let alone able to pull off some of the things he manages to do while getting The Room made.

“(after critiquing an actress’ looks) Tommy went off to do his seagull thing elsewhere on set – making a lot of irritating noise while simultaneously shitting on everyone.”

Between relating the chaos that was the making of The Room (seriously, they went through three crews before filming was complete), you get a glimpse into Greg’s life as he aspires to be the next great Hollywood actor. He’s attractive – once having modeled in Milan – with the stereotypical all-American looks, but he never quite breaks into the mainstream. Case in point, have you ever heard of Greg Sestero? Beyond The Room, I’ve never seen him in anything else (and he hasn’t been in much), but The Disaster Artist chronicles many near-misses where he lost out on roles you would recognize to names you would definitely recognize.

The honest look at his prospects and his emotional state during his early twenties really speaks to the young adult crowd that is just coming into their own. When his mother is skeptical of his abilities, Tommy is surprisingly supportive – even offering up an amazing apartment to allow Greg to kick-off his acting career in Los Angeles. Greg has a lot of low points, a lot of doubt, and ultimately there is no real resolution to his fears, but it is almost too familiar to anyone with big dreams.

The book also does a fantastic job of giving a balanced look at Tommy Wiseau. Like those he actually has around him in real life, you can get wrapped up in the rumors, the bizarre behavior, the exorbitantly expensive spending and gifts. But Greg Sestero does a good job of showing the charming side of Tommy, the reasons someone would want to spend an afternoon throwing the football around with him.

My dermatologist gave me when I was 15 and it worked very well, I did not have any acne since then. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if he didn’t. I am now thinking about giving it to my daughter, because apparently, it runs in the family.

But if you’re looking for the “whys” and “hows” of Tommy Wiseau, this is not the book to deliver the answers to your questions – mostly because Tommy has never provided those answers to Greg or anyone else. He remains an enigmatic figure, though countless celebrities have shown an affinity for The Room since it premiered in 2003 and it is well on its way to being The Rocky Horror Picture Show interactive experience viewing for the kids of the 90s.

Now go watch The Room again after reading this book and really appreciate the staging, the acting, the story, and Tommy Wiseau – there’s never going to be another person like him in Hollywood.

Final Thoughts: The Disaster Artist showcases the little guy, how unapologetically following your dreams despite all challenges that are thrown your way turns out for an eccentric Hollywood outsider. Not only does this book make you feel for Tommy Wiseau, but you feel for what could have been for Greg Sestero had he gotten that big break. The Room is a pop culture anomaly and The Disaster Artist succeeds in ushering us all into a backstage peek at how that happened.

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