Yes, the title of this article doesn’t resemble the usual ‘Follow your dreams’ ideologies, but this is the whole premise of The Disaster Artist and I like it. It’s the truth.
From birth until adulthood, we are told to excel at what we love in order to be valued within society. But why can’t we just do what we love and that’s it? Why can’t you get up on stage and give a mediocre performance? It sure beats not getting up on stage at all. Why can’t you start penning down a shitty novel? It’s far better than never writing one. What’s wrong with following your dreams even when your dreams don’t really want to follow you? When Tommy Wiseau made The Room, he did not follow his dreams, but rather chased them down with a shovel.
The Disaster Artist is not about talent or achievement; it’s about doing. Achievement would have meant Wiseau making The Room with $10,000 instead of $6,000,000. Talent would have involved Wiseau proving the movie industry wrong by making a relevant film with an unconventional plot-line.
Instead, Wiseau, alongside his very American wavy-haired friend Greg Sestero, was incapable of making a movie that would be accepted within Hollywood or anywhere else for that matter. In fact, he sabotaged the whole thing with his ego trips, lack of common-sense – he paid for indoor sets that could have easily been filmed on location – and irredeemable acting skills.
The man was a force during filming, but not the good kind. Still, good can be boring. Perhaps this is why The Room gained notoriety for being so outrageously awful. Because sometimes people need to watch, read or listen to mediocre artistic expressions and not because they’re humorous, but because they allow them to escape the monotony of having to pause and see the meaning behind everything. Why not enjoy something that was created with conviction and not a lot else? Scratch that. Why not enjoy something that was created full stop?
If you’ve watched The Room, you’ll have noticed how much Wiseau stands out from the rest of the cast. It’s as though he hired them on the basis of being blonde and looking like actors from a 70s sitcom. In The Disaster Artist, it’s made obvious that his artistic vision is based on what he sees as typically American. Although he does this to appeal to the general public, his casting choices speak more about his internal struggles than anything else, because being the protagonist in a film next to a bunch of soap-opera lookalikes gives him the acceptance he lacks in the real world, even if it is only on screen. Consequently, the entire catalyst behind this terrible masterpiece is his yearning to be loved by America.
And yet, he doesn’t mimic his co-stars in the slightest which is why he blends in as much as a pensioner at a nightclub. Here is a man who wants to be accepted in America, but is unwilling or unable to give up any of his peculiarities for this to happen, not even one of his two belts (small reference to his odd fashion sense). In this way, Tommy Wiseau displays an impenetrable resilience to change. So, on the one hand, Wiseau has this intense need to recreate what in his mind is normality and on the other, he is incapable of sacrificing the most unusual parts of his identity in order to do so.
The Disaster Artist isn’t just a laugh-out-loud comedy that mocks the creation of what’s considered to be the worst movie ever made, but also a sensitive analysis of a mystifying man who wants to be adored above all else.
Oddly, both Tommy’s failure and success derived from his self-destructive nature which in turn allowed him to create something so terrible, it’s almost rebellious.