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The Disaster Artist Book Review

The Disaster Artist Book

“The Disaster Artist” is a must read book.

Along with films like “Samurai Cop,” “Troll 2,” and “Birdemic,” “The Room” ranks as one of THE best “so bad, they’re good” movies in all of cinema. Written, produced, and directed by Tommy Wiseau, “The Room” is a delightfully bizarre movie that feels so far removed from reality. Wiseau intented for it to be a drama, but the movie wound up being an unintentionally hilarious cult classic instead. It’s unlike anything you will ever see and, as evidenced by the book, it’s a truly life-changing movie.

Written by author/writer Tom Bissell and actor/writer Greg Sestero (who portrays Mark in “The Room”), “The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, The Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made” is a multi-story novel that seamlessly jumps around in time. We learn about Greg Sestero’s family, his former girlfriend (Amber), his modeling, acting and retail jobs, and the origin of how he met the eccentric Tommy Wiseau in an acting class. After their fateful meeting, Sestero befriends the oddball mystery man (who appears to be strangely wealthy) and is later inspired to try and pursue an acting career in L.A. Despite their often rocky friendship, it eventually grows into a working relationship as the two embark on a journey to make Wiseau’s vanity project “The Room.” As you can probably guess, the movie’s production doesn’t go smoothly. In fact, it’s a downright ‘disaster’ as the production is plagued with crew members leaving (or being fired), cheap and impractical sets, on set injuries, and Wiseau’s offensive diva behavior on set. It’s a wonder the movie was ever completed.

Thanks to Bissell and Sestero’s witty remarks, clever film parallels, and observant recollections, “The Disaster Artist” is an endlessly fascinating book about dreams, life, age, acceptance, inspirations, friendship, Wiseau, and “The Room” (naturally). While the book is primarily about Sestero’s life (which I will get to in a bit), the book partially plays like a character study as Sestero tries to understand (and discover) more about the mind boggling Tommy Wiseau. In an age where paparazzi and bloggers know nearly everything about every class of celebrity, it’s surprising to see someone shrouded in mystery like Wiseau. Yes, the book does offer up some insights, hints, part-truths, and lies (?) about where Wiseau came from, how he arrived in America, his accidents, and how he became rich, but we still don’t know the entire truth about the man. He’s quirky, ambitious and (sometimes) kind hearted and yet there seems to be a certain sadness to him. At times, he can even be downright creepy when he becomes consumed by jealousy, delusions, anger, and paranoia. He’s a true enigma who seems to live in his own little world which is what makes him such an interesting individual to read about (or see for that matter).

On the subject of Wiseau, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of hilarious and vivid stories about the man. Via Mark’s point of view, we learn about Wiseau’s behavior in public, his private bathroom for the production of “The Room,” his inability to remember lines he wrote, and, above all, his puzzling quotes such as “It’s just possible side plot. Maybe Johnny is a vampire” when referring to an idea Tommy had about wanting his car to fly in “The Room.” You’ll be hard pressed to stop reading just because you can’t wait to find out what will Wiseau will do or say on the next page.

Wiseau’s weirdness aside, the heart of the book is about Greg Sestero’s coming of age journey and his Hollywood experiences. We learn about his ups and downs, his successes and disappointments, and get an inside look at auditions, acting classes, and the Hollywood system in general. More than anything though, Sestero’s book is about how life seldom turns out the way one expects. He had planned on being an actor, and yet, through his friendship with Wiseau, his life took a vastly different turn. To say it’s a multi-layered story is a gross understatement.

Overall Thoughts: The 268 engrossing pages of “The Disaster Artist” absolutely fly by and leave you wanting more (in the best way possible). You don’t even need to see the movie (or even be a fan of the movie) to appreciate the storytelling here. Perhaps there will be a sequel in the not too distant future? After all, we still have yet to learn about Greg Sestero’s life after The Room became a cult hit nor do we know if Sestero and Wiseau’s friendship has evolved or devolved in that time period.

September 25, 2013 - Posted by | Book review | , , , , , , ,

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