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

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From the actor who lived through the most improbable Hollywood success story, with an award-winning narrative nonfiction writer, comes the inspiring, fascinating and laugh-out-loud story of a mysteriously wealthy outsider who sundered every road block in the Hollywood system to achieve success on his own terms—the making of The Room, “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Enter From the actor who lived through the most improbable Hollywood success story, with an award-winning narrative nonfiction writer, comes the inspiring, fascinating and laugh-out-loud story of a mysteriously wealthy outsider who sundered every road block in the Hollywood system to achieve success on his own terms—the making of The Room, “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Entertainment Weekly). In 2003, an independent film called The Room—written, produced, directed, and starring a very rich social misfit of indeterminate age and origin named Tommy Wiseau—made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Described by one reviewer as “like getting stabbed in the head,” the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Now in its tenth anniversary year, The Room is an international phenomenon to rival The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Thousands of fans wait in line for hours to attend screenings complete with costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons. Readers need not have seen The Room to appreciate its costar Greg Sestero’s account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and interpersonal relationships to achieve the dream only he could love. While it does unravel mysteries for fans, The Disaster Artist is more than just an hilarious story about cinematic hubris: It is ultimately a surprisingly inspiring tour de force that reads like a page-turning novel, an open-hearted portrait of a supremely enigmatic man who will capture your heart.


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From the actor who lived through the most improbable Hollywood success story, with an award-winning narrative nonfiction writer, comes the inspiring, fascinating and laugh-out-loud story of a mysteriously wealthy outsider who sundered every road block in the Hollywood system to achieve success on his own terms—the making of The Room, “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Enter From the actor who lived through the most improbable Hollywood success story, with an award-winning narrative nonfiction writer, comes the inspiring, fascinating and laugh-out-loud story of a mysteriously wealthy outsider who sundered every road block in the Hollywood system to achieve success on his own terms—the making of The Room, “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Entertainment Weekly). In 2003, an independent film called The Room—written, produced, directed, and starring a very rich social misfit of indeterminate age and origin named Tommy Wiseau—made its disastrous debut in Los Angeles. Described by one reviewer as “like getting stabbed in the head,” the $6 million film earned a grand total of $1,800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. Now in its tenth anniversary year, The Room is an international phenomenon to rival The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Thousands of fans wait in line for hours to attend screenings complete with costumes, audience rituals, merchandising, and thousands of plastic spoons. Readers need not have seen The Room to appreciate its costar Greg Sestero’s account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and interpersonal relationships to achieve the dream only he could love. While it does unravel mysteries for fans, The Disaster Artist is more than just an hilarious story about cinematic hubris: It is ultimately a surprisingly inspiring tour de force that reads like a page-turning novel, an open-hearted portrait of a supremely enigmatic man who will capture your heart.

30 review for The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made

  1. 5 out of 5

    Patricia A

    Ha ha ha. What a story, Mark.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Brigid ✩

    For those of you who aren't familiar with The Room, it is a glorious piece of American cinema directed, written, and produced by the handsome devil Tommy Wiseau––who also plays the lead role in the film, naturally. … Okay, okay. So basically, this film is often regarded as being one of the absolute worst movies of all time. (Maybe only rivaled by the equally-ridiculous "Troll 2.") And Tommy Wiseau looks like a creepy muppet. That said, I'm a huge fan of The Room because I'm a sucker for hilarious For those of you who aren't familiar with The Room, it is a glorious piece of American cinema directed, written, and produced by the handsome devil Tommy Wiseau––who also plays the lead role in the film, naturally. … Okay, okay. So basically, this film is often regarded as being one of the absolute worst movies of all time. (Maybe only rivaled by the equally-ridiculous "Troll 2.") And Tommy Wiseau looks like a creepy muppet. That said, I'm a huge fan of The Room because I'm a sucker for hilariously bad movies. There is nothing quite like The Room, and I'm not sure how to describe it to those of you who haven't seen it. It follows a pretty basic plot about a man named Johnny who is engaged to a woman named Lisa. What Johnny doesn't know is that Lisa is cheating on him with his best friend, Mark. And the story unravels from there, chronicling how Lisa and Mark's betrayal slowly ruins Johnny's life. Sounds pretty straightforward, right? And yet … there's something quite special about this movie. What sets this film apart from other flat-out bad movies is that every moment of it is completely ridiculous. Every scene, every line is just so odd that all you can do is sit there and laugh uneasily the entire time. Just some of the memorable lines: Other WTF highlights include: - A weird man-child character named Denny who lives in the same building as Johnny and Lisa who they've "adopted" … kind of … ? - A drug dealer shows up and tries to kill Denny––which is never addressed again after it happens. - Lisa's mother casually mentions she's dying of cancer, to which Lisa shows no reaction and no one ever mentions it again. - Johnny, Mark, Denny, and some of their other friends play football in tuxedos in an alleyway for no reason. I could go on and on, but I think I'd have to just describe the entire movie scene-by-scene because like 90% of the scenes are completely irrelevant to the main plot and don't accomplish anything––and are never acknowledged again after they transpire. Anyway, I found out maybe a year ago that Greg Sestero (who plays Mark in the movie) was going to write a book about his experience, and I was ecstatic. There are so many mysteries surrounding this movie, and I was thrilled to find out I might finally get some answers out of Sestero––especially because Tommy Wiseau himself tends to avoid answering questions about it and usually just says something like: I checked for updates on this book regularly, but there seemed to not be much word about it anywhere until a few months before it was set to come out. Then I finally found out it was coming out on my birthday and I was like, "HELL YES." I eagerly awaited the release of this book, and it was well worth the wait. I expected it to be a fun read––maybe kind of stupid, but fun. I'm happy to say that this book far exceeded my expectations and took a different approach than I anticipated. What I feared about this book was that it would end up being 200 pages making fun of how insane Tommy Wiseau is. And while there are definitely a plethora of moments describing Tommy's unusual habits and qualities, I was glad that the book didn't antagonize or mock him to the extent I thought it might. The book isn't just about how crazy Tommy Wiseau and his movie are. It's also a pretty eye-opening look into what it's like to be a struggling actor. As well as chronicling his experience acting in The Room, Greg Sestero also shares his stories about trying to make it as a young actor––the frustrating processes of auditioning, trying to get an agent, etc. It also focuses a lot on the strange and unlikely––but often oddly touching––friendship between Sestero and Wiseau. BFFs <3 Don't worry, there are plenty of hilarious anecdotes about the filming of the movie––things that had me laughing harder than I've laughed at a book in a long time. (For example, one of Wiseau's original plans for the film included a part in which Johnny's car "flies off the roof and into the sky," to indicate that "maybe Johnny is a vampire." … OMG I CAN'T EVEN. I. WHAT.) But in the end, I found this book to actually be quite bittersweet. While it's hilarious, it also shows Tommy Wiseau as a man who genuinely wanted to make an amazing film. Especially learning about some of his horrific life experiences, and seeing how much time and effort he put into the movie, it is quite sad in some ways that his film ended up being such a laughing stock. Of course, he still got he wanted in an unexpected way––because the film does have hundreds of fans, and even ten years after its release, it still has a massive cult following. So, I loved this book. It's hilarious, it's touching … and I learned a lot about one of my favorite bad movies. And of course I can't end this review without saying:

  3. 4 out of 5

    Roxane

    This was a fascinating book about the making of the worst movie I have ever seen, The Room. And in reading this book I learned that The Room was made with all seriousness and not as, like, a parody of a bad movie. At the center of the narrative is Tommy Wiseau, a man who is secretive about his past, and everything in his life but who also wants to be a star, who wants, like all of us, to be seen and understood and loved. This book is fucking hilarious, told through the eyes of Tommy’s friend and This was a fascinating book about the making of the worst movie I have ever seen, The Room. And in reading this book I learned that The Room was made with all seriousness and not as, like, a parody of a bad movie. At the center of the narrative is Tommy Wiseau, a man who is secretive about his past, and everything in his life but who also wants to be a star, who wants, like all of us, to be seen and understood and loved. This book is fucking hilarious, told through the eyes of Tommy’s friend and an actor in The Room, Greg Sestero (and his co-writer). Greg is a little smug but given the travails he shares throughout, that’s kind of understandable. But this book is also heartbreaking and I found myself filled with tenderness for Tommy who is so misguided, and so deluded but who is, also, incredibly committed to an artistic vision he has little control of. Really, this is a story about loneliness and earnestness and The American Dream.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David

    Optimal mental health—if such a thing there be—probably lies somewhere roundabout midway on the self-awareness continuum, but often without thinking, people assume that 'not giving a fuck what other people think' is a sort of modern virtue, suggesting confidence, strength of character, and (if nothing else) the sheer convenience of living only for oneself. If we stop and scrutinize the concept, however, we soon realize that it's an ideal sorely in conflict with the fundamental nature of our live Optimal mental health—if such a thing there be—probably lies somewhere roundabout midway on the self-awareness continuum, but often without thinking, people assume that 'not giving a fuck what other people think' is a sort of modern virtue, suggesting confidence, strength of character, and (if nothing else) the sheer convenience of living only for oneself. If we stop and scrutinize the concept, however, we soon realize that it's an ideal sorely in conflict with the fundamental nature of our lives: we are social beings, enmeshed in countless relationships with others, whether they are close friends and family members or strangers we find ourselves driving 75 MPH beside on the highway—both of us trusting that the other won't suddenly veer into our lane. We don't even consider these kinds of relationships because they are usually automatic; except maybe once in a while we marvel at the fact that we've survived however many years without some asshole harboring a death wish driving head-on into our car, killing us instantly. In the end there are just so many tacit (and fragile) rules holding this thing called society together. What does this have to do with anything, you wonder. Well, The Disaster Artist by actor Greg Sestero and writer Tom Bissell happens to be about a self-styled actor-director named Tommy Wiseau, who, if the particulars of this book are accurate, may be the most un-self-aware person I have ever heard of (who is not a diagnosed psychotic). Wiseau's magnum opus (and only opus) The Room from 2003 provides more than enough evidence to support the case that the man has absolutely no understanding of how the world works and how he fits into it. (If you are unfamiliar with the film, I recommend it to you. It is without a doubt one of the worst films ever made—which of course makes it more entertaining than many, many films that are objectively speaking better than it. This 'highlight' reel will give you some indication what the film's like.) I'm not implying that anyone should be limited by social conventions—but neither should one perhaps flout these conventions without understanding them... or at least being aware of them. It's as if Wiseau were dropped on the planet earth by an alien spacecraft and his only preparation for life on this planet was reading the Cliff's Notes on human civilization. What else can you say about a strange-looking man of indeterminate age and origin who imagines that suddenly he can decide to be an actor, a screenwriter, and a film director without any of the necessary skills or qualifications? This is a man who is unable to assimilate normal casual human behavior in his day-to-day life; how can he hope to emulate other behaviors? Lacking much empathy in his real life, how will he empathize with the characters he will play? Can such a level of narcissism even crawl out from under the weight of its own immediacy? Well, one logical solution is for the narcissist to write the role for himself—and to make that role as approximate to his own peculiar personality as is possible. He can go even one step further: he can position that self-characterization in a world that is entirely contrived to express his own childishly narcissistic agenda. As Sestero/Bissell points out in the book, one commentator said that The Room was essential a $6 million daydream in which an adolescent mentality (i.e., Wiseau's) gets to act out his suicide and watch his friends mourn him and regret how poorly they've treated him. Was there any petulant teenager who didn't have this fantasy at some time? But not all of us had millions of dollars to pour into a vanity project that would literalize the fantasy. The Disaster Artist is told from the perspective of Wiseau's co-actor in The Room and erstwhile friend Greg Sestero, a pretty-boy actor and former model who is (I believe) the only actor in the film that had a professional credit to his name. Sestero and Wiseau made for an odd couple. Sestero was young, tall, blond, and handsome while Wiseau was an eccentric raven-haired European, trollish in appearance and significantly older—although he would never reveal his actual age. The two met in acting class in San Francisco. Sestero was fascinated by the oddball Wiseau, whose acting was so bad that it beggared belief. After all, it's not easy to be that ostentatiously awful. But Wiseau was, and Sestero was intrigued. Gradually, as Sestero gets to know him better, Wiseau becomes all the more mysterious. He won't discuss his past—or what he does for a living—or where he gets all his money—or where he was born—or how old he is. Sestero, whose mother is French, is convinced he is not French, based on his accent, but his accent is strangely indeterminate—a mongrel accent that's impossible to pinpoint. Naturally, Sestero's girlfriend, his mother, and his friends are all leery of Wiseau and advise him to steer clear. As Sestero enjoys some limited measure of success in his career, their relationship becomes strained. Wiseau grows increasingly jealous of Sestero's auditions and his new friends. At one point when Sestero is dozing off on the sofa one night, Wiseau makes an ambiguous comment about sharing a bed. Is Wiseau in love with Sestero? Does he want to be Sestero? Suddenly Wiseau decides he's going to be an actor too—despite the fact that he's too old, too unattractive, and too untalented to embark upon a career. When he grows despondent from his lack of success in the acting biz, Wiseau elects to write, direct, and star in his own (self-financed) movie The Room, which is not only the self-aggrandizing vanity project to end all vanity projects; it's also a sort of revenge on everyone who rejected him—and even on Sestero himself. The Disaster Artist surprised me. I expected it to have a lot of interesting gossip, but I didn't actually expect it to be a good book. And it is. If you need any more convincing, I stayed up until 3 AM last night finishing it, and I was so tired this morning that I took a vacation day at work. It's more than a behind-the-scenes tell-all, it's also an engrossing character study. I don't know to what extent this book is Sestero's and to what extent it's Bissell's, but Sestero's first-person persona is likable and generous to a fault, as he navigates the unforgiving and unending road to stardom and exposes this odd little man named Tommy Wiseau, who took a shortcut. Ironically, The Room did make Wiseau a 'star' of sorts, in the sense that infamy is a parallel route to celebrity.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    In 2003, a movie called 'The Room' opened in Los Angeles. The film - a drama about a woman (Lisa) who betrays her fiancé (Johnny) with his best friend (Mark) - was written, directed, and financed by Tommy Wiseau, who also stars as Johnny. The movie, often called "one of the worst films ever made", garnered less than $2,000 in it's initial run and looked like it was headed for the movie junkyard. Wiseau, however, had other ideas. The auteur kept the movie open and continued to advertise it on a l In 2003, a movie called 'The Room' opened in Los Angeles. The film - a drama about a woman (Lisa) who betrays her fiancé (Johnny) with his best friend (Mark) - was written, directed, and financed by Tommy Wiseau, who also stars as Johnny. The movie, often called "one of the worst films ever made", garnered less than $2,000 in it's initial run and looked like it was headed for the movie junkyard. Wiseau, however, had other ideas. The auteur kept the movie open and continued to advertise it on a large billboard for the next five years. Wiseau, who has long black hair and a thug-like visage, is a rather oddball leading man - but his movie caught on. Tommy Wiseau 'The Room' gained traction as a quirky comedy, and became a cult hit. I agree that 'The Room' is among the worst films ever made, but it's VERY FUN to watch. Greg Sestero, the co-author of this book, played Mark in 'The Room.' Greg Sestero Sestero's relationship with Tommy Wiseau, however, started before the movie was even conceived. This memoir, written years after the film became a big hit, tells the story of Sestero's friendship with Wiseau.....and the making of 'The Room.' ***** Nineteen-year-old Greg met Tommy in a San Francisco acting class. Greg's attention was caught by Tommy's terrible - but wildly spirited - rendition of Stanley Kowalski (from 'A Streetcar Named Desire') and the two aspiring actors became scene partners.....and eventually friends. Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero became friends Heavily accented Tommy - who's very secretive about his age, country of origin, and source of wealth - is an odd but amiable fellow. He allowed Greg to live in his empty Los Angeles apartment so the young man could pursue his acting dream. Greg worked hard to break into the business and had limited success - getting small parts and starring in a straight to DVD horror movie. Greg Sestero in 'Retro Puppet Master' In time Tommy joined Greg in Los Angeles, but was unable to make any headway as an actor. So Tommy decided to write and produce his own movie, which turned out to be 'The Room' - and Greg was (eventually) pegged to co-star. ***** In 'The Diaster Artist', Sestero and his co-author Tom Bissell alternate between sections that describe Greg's youthful struggles to succeed as an actor, and sections about the making of 'The Room.' In the parts about Sestero, we learn about 12-year-old Greg's 'Home Alone 2' screenplay 👍; his teen age modeling gig in Europe; his mother's doubts about his choice of career; his acting classes; his bit parts; his friendship with Tommy; his move to L.A; his attempts to secure an agent; his minor roles; his supplemental job in a men's clothing store; his girlfriend; and so on. Greg Sestero was a model (among other things) In the sections about 'The Room', we get a blow by blow description of the film's production. Much of this is laugh-out-loud funny, because Tommy knew nothing about movie-making. Thus, once Wiseau finished his rather confused script, he bumbled about auditioning actors; hiring (and firing) crew members; purchasing equipment; choosing his (bizarro) wardrobe; designing scenery; directing the film; arranging for the premiere; and much more. Tommy Wiseau learned on the job while making 'The Room' Greg's descriptions of Wiseau's efforts are intentionally humorous, as he describes Tommy's total inability to remember the lines he wrote for himself; his eccentric decisions about décor (which generally came from thrift stores) and staging; his flaky green screen additions; his insistence on extensive love scenes that feature his naked butt 😉; his outrageous over-acting; his decision to feature incongruous scenes - like one where the actors toss around a football while wearing tuxedos; his personal on-set toilet, which cost thousands of dollars.....but had a curtain instead of a door; and so on. Tommy Wiseau made unconventional choices for 'The Room' The movie set wasn't all fun and games though, because Tommy could be difficult. The auteur was hours late to the set every day; was sometimes insensitive to the actors; fired people willy-nilly; didn't air-condition the overheated sets; didn't supply drinking water; rejected suggestions for improving the movie; etc. Most of the cast and crew came to believe the movie would be a total failure that no one would see. Thus, they became lackadaisical about their jobs, and - after a while - production values plummeted. Little did these people know that good-natured insults (and lightweight objects) would be hurled at the screen night after night as fans repeatedly watched - and made fun of - the cult hit. The cast of 'The Room' To add to the success story of 'The Room', James Franco optioned 'The Disaster Artist' for a movie. Franco directed the film, which stars himself as Tommy Wiseau and his brother Dave as Greg Sestero. James Franco playing Tommy Wiseau Dave Franco and James Franco playing Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau I like Franco's movie, which outlines the story of Tommy and Greg's offbeat bromance..... and exemplifies the craziness surrounding the making of the original film. Some of the most popular scenes in 'The Room' were re-shot - pixel by pixel - for 'The Disaster Artist', and it's fun to see the dual scenes side by side in Franco's movie. The thing I like least about Sestero and Bissell's book is the long and speculative 'fantasy tale' about Tommy's early life. The authors suggest that Tommy was born somewhere in Eastern Europe; had a difficult abusive childhood; ran away from home; worked as a prostitute; made his way to the United States; became very wealthy (perhaps illegally); and so on. There are even tongue-in-cheek suggestions that 'The Room' was a creative money-laundering scheme. Though some of this may or may not be true, there's no proof - and these scenes are boring. They should have been left out (IMO). Tommy Wiseau as a young man Tommy Wiseau is mysterious about his past Overall, I like 'The Disaster Artist' book, but I have reservations about Sestero's ambivalent attitude toward Wiseau. Sometimes Greg speaks highly of Tommy; at other times he makes nasty observations about his friend - comments that seem hyperbolic and disingenuous. Though Greg's (sometimes) acerbic criticism of Tommy may be justified, Sestero seems VERY ungrateful to the person who made him a success. If not for Tommy Wiseau, Sestero would probably be an unknown. Moreover, Tommy actually comes across as a sympathetic figure - a lonely man, out of his element, who works very hard to be successful. You have to admire that. Tommy Wiseau became a success If you're interested in this saga, you should first watch 'The Room'; then read 'The Disaster Artist'; and finally see Franco's film. I promise you, you'll get a lot of laughs. You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Kelsey

    Tommy Wiseau is a weird, weird dude who spent $6 million of his own money to make a terrible, terrible movie.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine

    (This review was originally written for and posted at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography's site. Again, I preordered this bad boy well before I knew I'd be writing about it for anyone other than myself and GR.) In the long-running tradition of so-bad-it's-good entertainment, 2003's The Room is a fairly recent but impressively groan-worthy addition. Its low-budget approach to visual effects, a script held together by non sequiturs and the wealth of glaring continuity errors make it (This review was originally written for and posted at the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography's site. Again, I preordered this bad boy well before I knew I'd be writing about it for anyone other than myself and GR.) In the long-running tradition of so-bad-it's-good entertainment, 2003's The Room is a fairly recent but impressively groan-worthy addition. Its low-budget approach to visual effects, a script held together by non sequiturs and the wealth of glaring continuity errors make it either instantly derided or ironically charming, depending on the viewer's stomach for shoddy craftsmanship and clueless defiance of cinematic etiquette. For the enviably/unfortunately uninitiated, The Room is yet another take on the love-triangle template, offering up one more tale of a fellow whose quietly mundane existence will be predictably turned upside down by the barely concealed affair between his fiancée and best friend, the latter played by Greg Sestero, who also served as the flick's line producer. What sets The Room apart is its enthusiastic departure from the conventions that make a movie watchable. The acting is uneven, as even the more talented cast members could only do so much with the ridiculous script and inept director. Dramatis personae inexplicably come and go with all the finesse of a drunken hippopotamus, and they cling to and then disregard their motives with similarly contrary abandon. The dialogue is wooden at best and hilariously incoherent at worst. Plot lines are introduced, run with and cast off without resolution. In short, this is the very stuff that cult followings are made to immortalize, and the audience participation that screenings both public and private invite help to reshape this train wreck into sublime chaos. While this book heralds itself as being Sestero's life inside The Room, The Disaster Artist reads more as Sestero's attempt to make sense of both writer/producer/director/lead actor Tommy Wiseau, depicted as an independently wealthy manchild who houses more insecurities than does a comprehensive guide to mental maladies, and his self-funded, self-promoted and self-delusional labor of love. Sestero, with enough writing assistance from journalist Tom Bissell to warrant a co-authorship, explores the torturous trajectory of The Room from nascence to its opening night, as well as the strained but symbiotic friendship between Wiseau and Sestero. Sestero's own faltering forays into Hollywood are chronicled as a sort of apologetic explanation for why he stuck with a project he clearly expected to fizzle into obscurity and stuck by a man who gave him both a place to live and an opportunity for work in exchange for the mind-bogglingly creepy way that Wiseau leeched off Sestero--the more successful actor and infinitely more attractive and youthful of the two--as if Sestero's good looks and acting chops were things he could possess for himself via sheer proximity. Much of the book is devoted to recounting Wiseau's especially memorable bouts of weirdness, jealousies and general inability to function as an adult: Goading Sestero into nearly abandoning him just to prove that he has the power to offend; producing a demo reel fashioned nearly blow-for-blow from a scene in one of Sestero's other movies; spectacularly failing to remember the very lines he wrote; subjecting the whole of The Room's creative team to his unnecessary and gratuitously filmed nudity; spending extravagantly on the film when he feels it's in the best interest of his vision but skimping on paychecks and other details he arbitrarily dismisses as minor. To me, if not for a friend's firsthand assurance that Sestero is a genuinely likable guy who regards his accidental ascent to pseudo-fame with equal parts wry humor and gratitude, the book's tone--that of a young actor desperate to make it in L.A., whose naivete, curiosity and willingness to look beyond his vampiric guardian angel's downright hostile quirks all work together to cement an uneasy friendship that barely survives a disastrous attempt at living together--would be off-puttingly glib. Wiseau is painted as the perennial (though unintentional) sad clown who would be a tragic figure if not for his nigh unflappable hubris. But Sestero does, to his credit, try to soften his description of a man who has clearly suffered some obsessively guarded psychological setback that has seemingly forever grounded him in the defensive, combative mindset of a newly minted teenager. An example: All attempts to inject a hint of unscripted coherence in Wiseau's film are met with such disproportionate resistance and unfounded accusations that it's unsurprising the film went through several incarnations of its cast and crew; Sestero attempts to explain that, to the best of his understanding, Wiseau sees all attempts at changing his project for the better as mutinous trespasses, a threat to the tenuous authority he has purchased with his self-propelled picture. Even in the instances where Sestero seems inexplicably passive in his inability to assume control when Wiseau has lost all touch with reality, there is a strong undercurrent of desperately gleaned sympathy that keep his remembered interactions buoyantly surreal rather than needlessly cruel. Still, the bulk of the book's humor is at Wiseau's expense, as it is impossible to read about his diva-sized antics, tantrums, paranoia and obstinate refusal to divulge personal details without cackling the nervous guffaws of tension-eroding disbelief because Wiseau's fiery outbursts are in no way proportional to their triggers. The Sunset Boulevard and Talented Mr. Ripley quotes that begin each chapter and, later, the copious nods to both films just may be the most perfect encapsulation of Wiseau within these pages. This is a man who is painted as sleepwalking through life, who literally cannot help how bizarre he is, who rewrites his own personal history as he sees beneficial. The lingering effects of The Disaster Artist are an increased sense of respect for the hapless players at the mercy of Wiseau's deranged puppet master as well as a nagging suspicion that $6 million can't quite buy talent but it sure can stack the odds in one's favor if one is hellbent on crafting a blockbuster from incoherence and birthing a star from a woeful dearth of thespian proficiency, reality be damned.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    I can remember when I was living in Los Angeles and seeing a billboard advertising for "The Room" movie, and there being an RSVP with a phone number. The billboard was there forever, but I had forgotten about it until I ordered the DVD online and saw the same image on the cover. It was funny to learn that Tommy Wiseau (whom the story is mostly centered on) paid for this prime billboard spot for five years...yes, FIVE YEARS! At $5,000 per week for the advertising space times fives years, I believ I can remember when I was living in Los Angeles and seeing a billboard advertising for "The Room" movie, and there being an RSVP with a phone number. The billboard was there forever, but I had forgotten about it until I ordered the DVD online and saw the same image on the cover. It was funny to learn that Tommy Wiseau (whom the story is mostly centered on) paid for this prime billboard spot for five years...yes, FIVE YEARS! At $5,000 per week for the advertising space times fives years, I believe that adds up to $1.3 Million and it all came out of his pocket as well as the cost for the movie ($6M) and only earned $1,800 at the box office. I was reading an article where James Franco was listing his three favorite books of 2014 and my interest was peaked when he mentioned this book. He said that Seth Rogan had bought the rights to make a film about it, or something to that nature. I decided to read the premise and I knew I had to purchase it once I read all of the praise it had received and what it was about. Not only that, but I ordered the DVD(as stated above) so I could really jump into the experience and even had a friend watch along with me. I swear we laughed so hard that my stomach hurt the next day! The movie was so intriguing that my friend also bought the book. Although we purchased the book we broke down and ordered the audiobook as well, of which I would recommend because Greg Sestero (narrator and co-author)really nails Tommy's accent and makes the experience that much more enjoyable. So what's it about? Well, basically it is about what most consider the worst movie of all time. It's terrible! It's so terrible that it's good, in a comedy sense. The movie was directed, produced, written, and starred Tommy Wiseau, a man of mystery. He speaks with a thick eastern European accent and has an incredible amount of money that one can only speculate where it came from considering he was poor until his thirties. Tommy has a love for America and the film industry and knows that the only way he will ever star in a movie is by making one himself and on his own dime. Tommy has a mindset that his film is spectacular and worthy of an Oscar. It's not. This movie has plot holes galore, the acting is terrible, it goes in way too many directions, a random actor appears at the end that hasn't been in the entire movie and who in the hell he is was never implied. There is a scene where four friends dress in tuxedo's and throw a football around...why? Who knows. In another one, they go to a coffee shop where we see various people ordering drinks and then he sits and talks with his friend about basically nothing. My favorite was when two characters just squat down in the doorway and have a conversation. He thrived on scenes that would normally be cut out of a movie because it adds absolutely nothing to the movie or doesn't progress it in any way. It basically makes no sense and has zero continuity, but this book helps give some idea into the making of the script and its origins. Afterward, I actually wanted to watch it again and again with a new perspective. I've seriously never laughed so hard and the whole experience of watching the movie and reading the book was incredibly fun. I highly recommend for those with a well-rounded sense of humor.

  9. 4 out of 5

    emma

    I was going to write a full review of this, but really everything I has to say boils down to the following list of directions. One: Watch the movie “The Room.” (IMMEDIATELY.) Two: Read this book. Three: See “The Disaster Artist.” Bonus points if you choose to listen to either of the How Did This Get Made? podcast episodes about it. Double bonus points if you, like me, develop a crush on Jason Mantzoukas following the above. That is all. --- review to come I was going to write a full review of this, but really everything I has to say boils down to the following list of directions. One: Watch the movie “The Room.” (IMMEDIATELY.) Two: Read this book. Three: See “The Disaster Artist.” Bonus points if you choose to listen to either of the How Did This Get Made? podcast episodes about it. Double bonus points if you, like me, develop a crush on Jason Mantzoukas following the above. That is all. --- review to come

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    “Maybe I am too unique” - Tommy Wiseau The Room is a popular choice for the best worst movie ever*. It was a GIGANTIC VANITY PROJECT bankrolled by, produced by, starring, written and directed by a guy called Tommy Wiseau who was more than a little odd. He was a guy in his 40s, long dyed black hair, looked like one of those heavy metal band guys who’ve been doing drugs and staying up late for 35 solid years, his face looked facelifted, puffy and like he never went outside and slightly melted, and he “Maybe I am too unique” - Tommy Wiseau The Room is a popular choice for the best worst movie ever*. It was a GIGANTIC VANITY PROJECT bankrolled by, produced by, starring, written and directed by a guy called Tommy Wiseau who was more than a little odd. He was a guy in his 40s, long dyed black hair, looked like one of those heavy metal band guys who’ve been doing drugs and staying up late for 35 solid years, his face looked facelifted, puffy and like he never went outside and slightly melted, and he had a weird voice with an unplaceable European accent so that English sounded like his third language, he’d got this mangled syntax and every well-known phrase would come out wrong; and in the movie, he’s like an alien trying hopelessly to pass as human, his reactions slow, off-centre, he chuckles inappropriately, his lines are all in this monotonous singsong, he’s mesmerizingly terrible. You think : there’s something fairly wrong with that guy. In The Room the other main male character is played by the author of this book Greg Sestero, who was a young pretty blonde cardboard cutout actor wannabe when the story opens, and also when it closes, because if you check your IMDB young Greg has hardly had what you might call a career in movies. I think Greg’s mom was right. IRRATIONAL, DIM-WITTED AND ALL-ROUND CREEPY There are three stories told in this book – first, the painful, unfunny and quite dull story of how Greg tried to become a Hollywood actor – headshots, agents, blagging, auditions, managers, callbacks, all the stuff made great fun of in the character of Joey in Friends, and here it’s so not that much fun. Then, in an acting class Greg befriends the older weirdo Tommy, and this friendship is story number two. It’s probably the best part, a friendship barely recognisable as such by Greg, until, reluctantly, it dawns on him that he actually really likes Tommy. Who appears to have no other friends. The third story is how they made The Room, and this does have a certain humour to it; but it turns out that jeering at egomaniacs is not that funny when the egomaniac is a sympathetic character. Because however irrational, frankly dim-witted and all-round creepy Tommy is, he’s not a bad man. He’s a sad man. He’s lonely. No one cares about him, he’s lost. And he’s picked up this absurd dream of being an actor from somewhere; and he made a lot of money selling knock-down schmatter in San Francisco; and now he decides that if Hollywood will never like him, he’ll be his own Hollywood. I found I couldn’t laugh heartily at his antics, the laughs died in my throat. OUTSIDER ART “We have moment-to-moment acting in my film. Words are secondary.” - Tommy Wiseau Outsider Art : that’s what The Room is, like the Watts Towers, the recordings of Daniel Johnson or the beach sculptures at Rothéneuf by the Abbé Fouré. It’s by a person who does not recognise the agreed-upon common-or-garden reality most of us subscribe to. It’s not knowing, unlike your John Waters or your Russ Meyer, not deliberately bad like Pink Flamingos or Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. It’s raw. Most people will laugh at it. I did a couple of times. It’s excruciating; but most of it is, unfortunately, only bad, rather than so-bad-it’s-good. Well, its fans disagree with me, they laugh till their sides split. I don’t have a good explanation for this, but I just saw a movie called Satan’s Little Helper, and that was in the same badness ballpark as The Room, but without any of the technical ineptitude. SLH had all the professionalism of any modern low budget horror movie – it was its ideas which were awful, plus having an unbearable kid as the main role who did most of the talking throughout the movie – I was praying he’d be the first victim, but no such luck. Other eyegogglingly eptless nightmares I have seen or failed to make through in recent times : Suspiria, Switchblade Romance, The Woman, The Counselor, Brick and Zak and Miri Make a Porno. In all of these cases the badness comes from the horrid inhumane or stupid ideas in the movie. They’re all technically good. But The Room has no technical competence. There’s no coherence in the script. Many plot points are mentioned once & once only. There are continuity errors by the dozen. All the actors are first timers or are embarrassed to be there. There is no relief to be had from this relentless tsunami of crapness on every possible filmic level from minute one to minute last. A SCENE FROM THE ROOM Johnny : I never hit you. You shoulda hed any secrets from me. I’m your future husband. Lisa : You sure about that? Maybe I’ll change my mind. Johnny : Don’t talk like that. Whaddoo mean? Lisa : What do you think? Women change their minds all the time. Johnny : (Throws head back and runs hands through hair in a gesture of carefree merriment) Haha. You mus be kidding aren’t you. Lisa : Look, I don’t wanna talk about it. I’m going to go upstairs and wash up and go to bed. Johnny : How durr you tok to me like dat. (Pushes her back onto the couch). You should tell me everything. Lisa : I can’t talk right now. Johnny : Why Lisa WHY Lisa please talk to me PLEASE . You’re part of my life, you’re everything. I could not go on without you Lisa. Lisa : You’re scaring me. (He’s scaring everyone at this point.) Johnny : I never hit you. YOU’RE TEARING ME APART LISA! Lisa : (Scared and hostile) Why are you so hysterical? Johnny : (Pushing her back on the couch a second time) Do you ustellife? (note : I think he means Do you understand life?) Do you? (Now Lisa finally gets up off the couch without being pushed back, third time lucky, & walks up the stair, but pauses and turns to Johnny.) Lisa : (Sudden change of tone to warm and friendly) Don’t worry about it. Everything will be alright. Johnny : You drive me crazy. Lisa : Goodnight Johnny. Johnny : Don’ worraboudit. I still love you. Goodnight Lisa. A QUOTE FROM JULIETTE DANIELLE (who played Lisa) It’s hard to remember a time before The Room I know what you mean, Juliette! *It’s currently on Youtube so you can join in all the fun.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest Vox did a video about The Room recently with the co-author of this book, Tom Bissell, called Why people keep watching the worst movie ever made. He said of it in the interview: "[The Room] is like a movie made by an alien who has never seen a movie but has had movies thoroughly explained to him."  That sentence is scarily appropriate, and goes a long way towards explaining why people thought this book was important enough that it not only Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest Vox did a video about The Room recently with the co-author of this book, Tom Bissell, called Why people keep watching the worst movie ever made. He said of it in the interview: "[The Room] is like a movie made by an alien who has never seen a movie but has had movies thoroughly explained to him."  That sentence is scarily appropriate, and goes a long way towards explaining why people thought this book was important enough that it not only deserved a book, but then a second movie based on that book. The story behind the movie's inception is almost as bizarre as the movie itself, if not more so. In his memoir, Greg Sestero writes about how he met the creator of The Room, Tommy Wiseau in an acting class, intrigued by his odd behavior and pirate-like appearance. The book chronicles Sestero's own rise from minimum wage worker and discouraged aspiring actor to a B-list actor with a couple of serious roles under his belt. Meanwhile, in the background like the proverbial elephant, lurks The Room, and interwoven with Sestero's own narrative is the narrative of what it was like to be behind the set The Room.. And, of course, Wiseau's own narrative arc, as well. Wiseau is one of those characters who is larger-than-life (hence the movie). At times he's hilarious and endearing, at other times, creepy and terrifying. His mood shifts made him difficult to work with and sometimes delayed production, because he had a vision and God help anyone who stood in the way of that. He basically funded this entire movie out of pocket, from a bottomless money hole that led some of the cast members to believe he had illicit ties to the mob. His history remains largely a mystery, although Sestero shares some of the details that he pieced together from the rare anecdote Wiseau thought fit to regale him with, and it seems like he was from an Eastern European country and became wealthy via the American Dream, by starting as a toy-seller in Fisherman's Wharf. Apparently his name is a corruption of Oiseau, which is French for "bird" (because the toys he sold were shaped like bird), although Wiseau himself does not appear to be French. I really enjoyed this book a lot. It's darkly funny and utterly ridiculous. According to Vox, movies like The Room fall into a category of movies called "paracinema," because they're not typical movies and they are not really viewed by a typical audience. The Room, in particular, is a trash film - which I think is probably a nice way of saying "s***." It's funny, because while I was reading this, I was thinking about this documentary I watched a few years ago called Best Worst Movie (2009), which chronicles another trash film: Troll 2 (1990). I watched Troll 2 (although I haven't yet seen the room), and it's about as terrible as you might expect... but there is an art to that awfulness. The timing somehow works out to be so wrong, that rather than being scary, it ends up like a comedy. My Wiki-hopping ended up taking me to a page of movies that are considered to be among the worst ever made. Troll 2 and The Room are both on it, but so are a number of movies that I actually like, such as The Avengers (not the superhero one), Batman & Robin, and Glitter. The Avengers is actually my favorite movie, B&R is my favorite Batman movie, and Glitter was my favorite movie when I was a middle schooler and didn't know any better. Showgirls is on there, as well, but Showgirls is basically the NC-17 version of Glitter, so as you can imagine, I also liked that movie, too. Apparently I have s*** taste in films. (But, again, according to that Vox article, liking trash films is apparently correlated with higher intelligence because they are "subversive." Which, now that I think about it, might go a long way towards explaining my attraction to bodice rippers and pulp.) THE DISASTER ARTIST is the perfect length, in my opinion, and does a nice job balancing both Sestero's and Wiseau's stories. The humor is great, snappy, and witty, peppered with odd-ball humor that fits the subject. Sestero details his tempestuous relationship with Wiseau, and how he slowly but inevitably got dragged in on this crazy project along with the rest of the cast. You also get cool behind-the-scenes trivia, such as why certain lines were said, or why the outfits they're wearing are so weird, or why that one table in the living room is covered with framed pictures of spoons. If you're at all interested in this movie, I highly suggest you read THE DISASTER ARTIST. Watching the movie isn't even necessary to enjoy it (I didn't), although I'm sure it helps. But if you want to feel like you've watched the movie without going through the effort, I urge you to watch CinemaSins's video, Everything Wrong With The Room In 8 Minutes Or Less. What a crazy, crazy story. 4 stars

  12. 5 out of 5

    Simone

    Unlike the people rating a book they haven't read, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an advance copy and have in fact read it, and as an avid fan of the 2003 cult hit, 'The Room' (I've seen it around 35 times) I can assure you it's everything I hoped it would be! Greg Sestero, star of the Room and Tommy Wiseau's right hand man (and line producer) reveals to us some of the greatest mysteries of the cinematic universe: how did this movie get made, and what is the deal with Tommy Wiseau? It Unlike the people rating a book they haven't read, I was fortunate enough to get my hands on an advance copy and have in fact read it, and as an avid fan of the 2003 cult hit, 'The Room' (I've seen it around 35 times) I can assure you it's everything I hoped it would be! Greg Sestero, star of the Room and Tommy Wiseau's right hand man (and line producer) reveals to us some of the greatest mysteries of the cinematic universe: how did this movie get made, and what is the deal with Tommy Wiseau? It switches back and forth between the history of Sestero’s relationship with the enigmatic Tommy, and the making of 'The Room'. People unfamiliar with the movie and Tommy should be equally compelled by his portrayal, though they may find it hard to believe anyone actually talks like that and may think it's made up. I assure you, it is not. When you watch The Room you are often left with a sinking feeling, just wishing you could hear more from Tommy in his often indecipherable accent, and on that count, this book really delivers with quote after quote of Tommy talk to fill that void. The way the story is told feels very honest, showing Tommy as both a tyrant and somewhat of an inspiration. Neither angle seems to have an agenda. It just feels like Sestero is telling it like it is. I expect this book finds an audience with anyone who enjoys bizarre character studies even if they have not seen the 'The Room', but for anyone who has seen it ("at LEAST twoice" - TW) it is essential reading which will have you laughing out loud and giddy over the revelations contained. While it would be impossible to answer every question the film raises, it comes through answering the majority of headache-inducing questions this train wreck leaves in its wake. This book was not an accident. Everything was meticulously planned.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ivan

    Surprisingly well written story about making of one of the worst ones. If you by any chance don't know what The Room is, it's what is considered to be one of the worst movies ever made. It is not just bad it's so catastrophic that it's actually quite fun to watch. Everything in that movie is so weird, like approximation of human interaction from someone who heard fascinating stories about humans but has not actually seen one. This book about making of that movie, about mysterious weirdo behind it Surprisingly well written story about making of one of the worst ones. If you by any chance don't know what The Room is, it's what is considered to be one of the worst movies ever made. It is not just bad it's so catastrophic that it's actually quite fun to watch. Everything in that movie is so weird, like approximation of human interaction from someone who heard fascinating stories about humans but has not actually seen one. This book about making of that movie, about mysterious weirdo behind it but also a tale about struggles of becoming an actor, about one unlikely friendship and working on a dream against the world. Tommy is fascinating and so unlikely and unlikable character that he almost seems like made up. Greg on the other hand is fun, likable and reasonable despite being naive and overly optimistic. Conclusion :

  14. 4 out of 5

    Danger

    Oh man, I LOVED this. I usually don’t read nonfiction, but the story surrounding the genesis and production of The Room is as fascinatingly bizarre as the movie itself. The story paints Tommy Wiseau as a megalomaniacal weirdo auteur, whose supreme lack of talent is only eclipsed by his unrelenting drive. Sure, this is partly a cautionary tale about unchecked hubris, but it’s also a tribute to friendship and never-saying-die, and in that regard, the book is elevated way beyond mockery into someth Oh man, I LOVED this. I usually don’t read nonfiction, but the story surrounding the genesis and production of The Room is as fascinatingly bizarre as the movie itself. The story paints Tommy Wiseau as a megalomaniacal weirdo auteur, whose supreme lack of talent is only eclipsed by his unrelenting drive. Sure, this is partly a cautionary tale about unchecked hubris, but it’s also a tribute to friendship and never-saying-die, and in that regard, the book is elevated way beyond mockery into something touching and a little bit profound. Before reading The Disaster Artist, I would've never guess that I'd end up thinking that Tommy Wiseau is someone we should all strive to be. BONUS: I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Greg Sustero (Mark in the film) who does a PERFECT Tommy Wiseau impression anytime he reads any of Tommy’s dialogue. It really added a layer of entertainment on top of an already interesting book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Korey

    I am a super fan of The Room and I am obsessed with that mystical muppet Tommy Wiseau so of course I had to blow off work yesterday and read this book in one sitting the day it came out. I cannot keep my stupid comments in my pocket anymore. I have to review this masterwork. I had ridiculously high expectations for this book and I am happy to say it totally delivered. I don't know if I have ever laughed out loud so hard when reading a book in my life. This is so consistently funny I had tears in I am a super fan of The Room and I am obsessed with that mystical muppet Tommy Wiseau so of course I had to blow off work yesterday and read this book in one sitting the day it came out. I cannot keep my stupid comments in my pocket anymore. I have to review this masterwork. I had ridiculously high expectations for this book and I am happy to say it totally delivered. I don't know if I have ever laughed out loud so hard when reading a book in my life. This is so consistently funny I had tears in my eyes from laughing. You will get lots of great behind the scenes info about this trainwreck production. There are also some poignant and insightful moments as Sestero unpacks his bizarre relationship with Wiseau. As for the man, the myth, the legend himself, this book provides a lot of info on what makes Wiseau tick without puncturing the air of mystery around him. I was worried Sestero might pull his punches given his ongoing relationship with Wiseau but he does not hold back. While I read this book because of my fascination with the Room and Wiseau, Sestero's discussion of his own fledgling acting career outside of the Room was also surprisingly engaging. I became interested in him as a person as well, not just as a Wiseau information delivery system. If I had one thing to change about this book I only wish it had been longer. It is so interesting you never want it to end. So stop playing tuxedo football and read it already, preferably in the company of your best friend and future wife. Definitely don't get breast cancer before you get to finish.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    "Tommy, can you hear me?" What a great anecdote from the wealthiest of all story-plot-novel mines: Hollywood USA! The story is engrossing, the locales all have sunshine and beach particles; the darkness comes in the form of ambition, but the power of friendship overcomes it all! Great read! The film is likewise great, though it's got that whole Jimmy Franco pee-ew ness to it, as to be lesser than this magnificent book. Truly one of a kind. "Tommy, can you hear me?" What a great anecdote from the wealthiest of all story-plot-novel mines: Hollywood USA! The story is engrossing, the locales all have sunshine and beach particles; the darkness comes in the form of ambition, but the power of friendship overcomes it all! Great read! The film is likewise great, though it's got that whole Jimmy Franco pee-ew ness to it, as to be lesser than this magnificent book. Truly one of a kind.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Leigh

    As earnestly terrible as The Room is as a movie, there's something unseemly and desperate about Greg Sestero's expose. Yes, the behind-the-scenes look at the disastrous filming production and production process are just as jaw-dropping as the quality of the finished product, but the creepiness of Sestero and Wiseau's relationship--from both parties, let's be real here--just made me feel sorry for Tommy and empathize less with Greg, who just seems like a standard LA douche telling all kinds of pe As earnestly terrible as The Room is as a movie, there's something unseemly and desperate about Greg Sestero's expose. Yes, the behind-the-scenes look at the disastrous filming production and production process are just as jaw-dropping as the quality of the finished product, but the creepiness of Sestero and Wiseau's relationship--from both parties, let's be real here--just made me feel sorry for Tommy and empathize less with Greg, who just seems like a standard LA douche telling all kinds of personal stories about Tommy clearly without his permission. Plus, given his relentless criticism of the film, I would expect Sestero to at least have some kind of skill at writing, which he does not, and his co-writer does little to cover up. The quotes from Sunset Boulevard and the Talented Mr. Ripley were overkill as well. It just seems like Sestero is trying so hard to elbow his way in on the cult status of The Room and break down the myth of Tommy Wiseau, that it's a little distasteful. Sestero seems to be waving his hands around saying, SEE I WAS HERE TOO AND I CAN TELL YOU WHAT REALLY HAPPENED, when we all know what happened: the best bad movie ever made. It's an interesting enough read, but only if you know and love the hot mess that is The Room and realize that there's a reason Sestero hasn't done any sort of acting or writing or much of anything since (hint: he's not good at it).

  18. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I read this account of the Best Worst Movie Ever Made after seeing the film. I loved the movie in December and I savored every word of Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell's story just as much. It was at once weirdly touching and laugh-out-loud funny. And, of course, I heard in my head the incredible voice of Tommy Wiseau every time the man with the (forgive me) vision spoke. I read this account of the Best Worst Movie Ever Made after seeing the film. I loved the movie in December and I savored every word of Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell's story just as much. It was at once weirdly touching and laugh-out-loud funny. And, of course, I heard in my head the incredible voice of Tommy Wiseau every time the man with the (forgive me) vision spoke.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lea

    I found this book incredibly sad.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    The Disaster Artist is an amazing book, and I don’t mean that in the same way that people say the film The Room is amazing, i.e., amazingly bad. I mean that it is actually a really amazing character study of one Tommy Wiseau, the wealthy, earnest and completely bizarre auteur behind what has been called "the Citizen Kane of bad movies." As is often the case, truth is stranger than fiction, and the character of Johnny from the film only scratches at the surface of the weirdness of the real-life T The Disaster Artist is an amazing book, and I don’t mean that in the same way that people say the film The Room is amazing, i.e., amazingly bad. I mean that it is actually a really amazing character study of one Tommy Wiseau, the wealthy, earnest and completely bizarre auteur behind what has been called "the Citizen Kane of bad movies." As is often the case, truth is stranger than fiction, and the character of Johnny from the film only scratches at the surface of the weirdness of the real-life Tommy. Tommy speaks bizarrely broken English with a heavy Eastern European accent, but insists that he’s from New Orleans. Tommy wants to be an actor even though he can’t remember simple lines in a script that he wrote himself. Tommy always puts his phone on speaker so that he can record conversations with a cheap tape recorder and play them back later. Tommy is so secretive and paranoid that even after a number of years his close friend Greg is still clueless about whether he has any family or what he does for a living. Tommy is someone who steadfastly occupies his own reality and refuses believe anything else, real world evidence notwithstanding. We meet Tommy through the eyes of his close friend, actor Greg Sestero. Disaster Artist is in fact Greg’s memoir, not Tommy’s biography, but there really is no better way to approach the subject, since verifying even simple biographical facts about Tommy is virtually impossible, let alone figuring out what's going on in his head. Seeing him from Greg's perspective helps to humanize him. An aspiring actor in San Francisco, Greg meets Tommy at an acting class. Charmed by Tommy’s fearless obliviousness to his lack of acting ability, Greg strikes up a friendship with Tommy, a friendship that will prove to be crucial for both men. Tommy will help jump-start Greg’s acting career by renting him a cheap apartment in Los Angeles. And Greg will be Tommy’s close friend, maybe his only friend, and help Tommy make the film which will make him infamous. Intercut with this story is the making of The Room itself. If you haven’t ever seen The Room, I urge you to do so immediately. It is a unique experience and laugh out loud funny. The film is sort of a love-triangle dramedy gone wildly off kilter. It’s a story about chasing the American dream as it might be written by a space alien who had only read about such fantastic concepts as ‘football’, ‘friendship’ and ‘emotions’. People spout nonsensical lines like "leave your stupid comments in your pocket", plot lines lead nowhere, continuity errors abound and characters are constantly and ham-handedly throwing footballs around for no reason. Whatever strange confluence of events the viewer might imagine resulted in such a weird film, the truth is surely stranger. The sublimely ridiculous rooftop scenes were shot in a hastily erected set in a parking lot, despite the fact that Tommy owned an actual rooftop with gorgeous views of downtown San Francisco. Tommy routinely showed up for filming four hours late. He shot on both film and HD cameras simultaneously, even though he had no intention of using the HD footage. Actors were scared away from the casting process due to Tommy’s insistence on meeting them at night in a parking lot. And famously, it would take hours and hours to get a passable take of many of Tommy’s simplest lines even though he wrote them himself. All of these bizarre stories and many more are faithfully recalled by Tommy’s best friend on and off the screen, Greg Sestero, but the heart of the story is Sestero’s friendship with Tommy. Sestero comes across as an unbelievably patient and forgiving friend, willing to let Tommy be his own weird self and encouraging him in his starry-eyed ambitions. This despite the fact that at times his friendship with the paranoid and secretive Tommy feels extremely toxic. Tommy is, after all, the guy who hired a documentarian to secretly spy on the cast and crew of the film. Although Sestero makes it clear that he knows more of Tommy’s story than he is willing to reveal, he does drop hints of an extremely rough upbringing in Europe and the rocky road to fortune - and eventually fame, of a sort - in America. Still, much about Tommy remains mysterious. Where he originally came from, the nature of his business and what happened to his face are matters of guesswork. Nonetheless, Sestero makes abundantly clear that the secret to ‘The Room’, the thing that makes it such a uniquely strange and riveting film, is that it’s filtered through Tommy Wiseau’s unique vision. Tommy Wiseau would be one of the great characters in literature, if he weren’t completely real. To their credit, Sestero and his co-author Greg Bissell do not approach their subject with a spirit of mockery. They treat Tommy as a genuine person, albeit a very unusual and fascinating one. Tommy has his highs of ebullient fearlessness and lows of manipulation and paranoia. Sestero and Bissell capture both in the style of the best documentarians painting a picture of a very complex and troubled individual. This book is compulsively readable, one of the best character studies I’ve seen, and made me laugh out loud at several points. Watch The Room if you haven’t seen it, then pick up The Disaster Artist immediately.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mizuki

    I kept seeing videos about this book on Youtube after I watched, and laughed out loud at honest trailer and videos about The Room, supposedly the most weird and aggressively BAD independent movie ever made. 'You're tearing me apart, Lisa!' Who can ever forget this one! LOL Oh why oh why there also is a Disaster Artist movie trailer here!? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qab3... I kept seeing videos about this book on Youtube after I watched, and laughed out loud at honest trailer and videos about The Room, supposedly the most weird and aggressively BAD independent movie ever made. 'You're tearing me apart, Lisa!' Who can ever forget this one! LOL Oh why oh why there also is a Disaster Artist movie trailer here!? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qab3...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    You probably know how much you're going to like this just from reading the title. Maybe you've seen the movie, starring the rich man's Shia La Boeuf. It was good. The book is well ghost-written. There are sortof boring parts where Greg Sestero talks about anything other than the making of The Room. There's a truly bizarre refusal to just outright examine the idea that Tommy Wiseau is gay and this whole thing was about hitting on Greg. I'm not going to actually watch The Room; it's probably borin You probably know how much you're going to like this just from reading the title. Maybe you've seen the movie, starring the rich man's Shia La Boeuf. It was good. The book is well ghost-written. There are sortof boring parts where Greg Sestero talks about anything other than the making of The Room. There's a truly bizarre refusal to just outright examine the idea that Tommy Wiseau is gay and this whole thing was about hitting on Greg. I'm not going to actually watch The Room; it's probably boring. The fact of its existence is more interesting than its content. This is decent airplane reading.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marianna Neal

    Tommy Wiseau is an inspiration when it comes to never giving up. Greg Sestero is an inspiration when it comes to doing an impression of Tommy Wiseau. This book is not as heart-warming as the movie (because real life isn't a movie), but it's an excellent read, particularly if you listen to the audiobook narrated by Sestero himself. Tommy Wiseau is an inspiration when it comes to never giving up. Greg Sestero is an inspiration when it comes to doing an impression of Tommy Wiseau. This book is not as heart-warming as the movie (because real life isn't a movie), but it's an excellent read, particularly if you listen to the audiobook narrated by Sestero himself.

  24. 5 out of 5

    DarthLolita

    ...whatever Tommy had been running from, he'd managed to turn and face it down in his script. Instead of killing himself, he wrote himself out of danger. I took this book with me while crusading through the odder parts of Miami today. I'd barely read fifty pages of it before it started to feel like the universe was trying to align perfectly and make me experience this story in full. For example, barely before 10 am, some woman on the street wandered into the Starbucks I was at. She kept tryin ...whatever Tommy had been running from, he'd managed to turn and face it down in his script. Instead of killing himself, he wrote himself out of danger. I took this book with me while crusading through the odder parts of Miami today. I'd barely read fifty pages of it before it started to feel like the universe was trying to align perfectly and make me experience this story in full. For example, barely before 10 am, some woman on the street wandered into the Starbucks I was at. She kept trying to get people's phones, rambled on and on with nonsense, went up and down the street trying to run across traffic, yelled at people at random, and somehow disappeared before the police arrived to check on her. At a bus stop, another woman sat beside me. She had dusted her eyelids in rainbow eyeshadow and glitter and she was dressed in frilly layers of skirts, all stitched together--which might have been neon colors once but were now washed out and faded--with handmade cloth jewelry hanging off every wrist and finger. She asked me what I was reading, read the cover out loud, asked multiple times if it was boring, and engaged me in some odd conversation before asking if I wanted to buy anything she had on for a dollar. If I could, I'd mention where I went for an interview afterwards. Sufficed to say, during that very peculiar interview, I heard a story involving a very sick woman wielding a butter knife and what she tried to do with said butter knife. Then on the bus back, three really drunk construction workers simultaneously tried to yell through the back door at people on the street and then kindly saved and offered me a seat. And really, what better way is there to experience this book than with the reminder that the world is weird? People can be weird. Art, especially, good or bad, is really weird. I've seen The Room before and cringed and laughed at all the right places. I've become kind of put off by the douchey nature of some of its male fans (and if you've ever seen this movie with a crowd entirely made up of college boys, you might be inclined to agree), but I've never really stopped to consider the people involved. Or the creator. I know enough about film to know it takes hard work--more than I could ever be able to put forth. So you'd think at some point I would have realized something like The Room shouldn't have even happened. How many people just as strange or stranger than Wiseau would have written the most gratuitous self-insert script ever and then given up on it after forcing their best friend to read it? When this book delves into all the work people put in, it's actually kind of admirable. Even the people who eventually walked away clearly tried to stick through it for as long as possible--in need of money and some experience, but nevertheless, still trying to see things through to the end. At first I wasn't too taken with the format of the book. It's told in two timelines, alternating every other chapter. The first is Greg Sestero realizing his love for film, trying to become an actor and struggling through that, and meeting Tommy and the friendship they developed in those first few years together. The second timeline takes place entirely through the filming of The Room. And it's hilarious. It's seriously hilarious. This whole book had me laughing practically every page. Given the subject matter, that probably wasn't difficult to accomplish. What undoubtedly was difficult, and what is truly an accomplishment, is how much it made me feel torn up. And how much it made me think about art in general. As it ended, I realized why the book had such a specific format--Tommy is strange and hilarious and creepy at the beginning of the production. He's strange/hilarious/creepy when he first meets Greg Sestero. But as time passes, we learn more about him, understand more about him. That first timeline contextualizes the production scenes slowly, and it can even lead to some really sad or frightening moments. Make no mistake, from what we see here, Tommy Wisaeu is a terrible person. He emotionally manipulated a young Sestero, he treated people like shit in his production, he acted like a total freaking creep with the female actresses and just the crew in general. At times, as funny as some scenes could be, they were also making me incredibly uncomfortable. I could barely imagine how some of the cast and crew felt having to deal with this man all the time, and when he lost it in the car with Sestero, I couldn't figure out why the two of them would stay friends, let alone make a movie together. But in a way, that's what makes the book work. Just as Sestero can write about being absolutely terrified of Tommy, he can also show moments where the two of them had fun, where they encouraged each other, where they shared a very interesting kind of friendship. Anyone who has seen The Room knows that--among its many, many problems--it's nothing more than a narcissistic story where a great, wonderful, incredible man is fucked over by the people he loves and who don't deserve him. Tommy Wiseau wrote a classic self-insert Gary Stu and spent thousands of dollars to make a film around it. Discussion of the Mary Sue has changed over the years. Now there's some talk of how young girls so often turn to it in fiction because they're put down by societal expectations. Oftentimes the creation of a Mary Sue character is how they find confidence, acceptance, love. And it certainly makes for terrible fiction and it can reveal some pretty problematic undertones and it's important for artists to grow out of it--but there is merit in that kind of thing. And as terrible as Tommy can be in the stories told here, I do feel I can sympathize as a fellow artist. We write, paint, film, create because it's how we survive. It doesn't often help all of us and some of us turn out to be terrible at our chosen mediums, but even if the end result is bad, art is still there as that outlet for everyone and anyone. In some ways, reading this book kept reminding me of Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop. The documentary is a bit more interesting in that it leaves some ambiguity in the questions it asks as opposed to The Disaster Artist's slightly neater conclusion, but they're both about art in the end, what we consider art, what makes art good or bad, and what merit is there in either? It's all certainly worth thinking about.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Boyd

    For those who, like me, delighted in PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, generally considered to be the worst movie ever made, THE ROOM was, and is, a revelation. Even a movie starring the deceased Bela Lugosi and pocked with flying saucers variously identified by viewers as pie tins or paper plates cannot compare with the awfulness of Tommy Wiseau's self-directed, self-produced, self-written and self-starred-in masterpiece. Made for 6 million dollars, the film's inexplicably cheap-looking and ludicrous se For those who, like me, delighted in PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, generally considered to be the worst movie ever made, THE ROOM was, and is, a revelation. Even a movie starring the deceased Bela Lugosi and pocked with flying saucers variously identified by viewers as pie tins or paper plates cannot compare with the awfulness of Tommy Wiseau's self-directed, self-produced, self-written and self-starred-in masterpiece. Made for 6 million dollars, the film's inexplicably cheap-looking and ludicrous sets frame some of the worst acting--rooted in a peerlessly ridiculous script--ever witnessed by human eyes, with the auteur himself putting in a performance that has to be seen to be believed. THE DISASTER ARTIST, written by one of the film's lead actors, Greg Sestero, is a fabulous account of the production of THE ROOM and a somewhat loving portrait of the truly bizarre man behind it. Tommy Wiseau is a justifiably failed actor with an accent not found in nature, a background shrouded in mystery, and an apparently bottomless supply of cash from sources unknown. Wiseau, who can't remember the simplest line in his own script, tramples all over the openly laughing actors and crew like a rogue elephant, but at the same time is shown to be a vulnerable loner whose moods swing wildly between grandiosity, paranoia, and furious resentment. As sketched by Sestero, he is one of the most memorable non-fiction characters ever set loose on a page. Apparently the book is now being made into a film starring James Franco and Seth Rogen. I am beyond impatient for it to be released. Anyone who hasn't seen THE ROOM should go immediately to the nearest video store or Netflix account and view it without delay. Then after you've marveled over its insanity for a few days, read Sestero's book and get the deep background. Believe me, it's a world of its own.

  26. 4 out of 5

    juicy brained intellectual

    “Before running the scene one final time, Tommy wanted to talk to the flower shop owner about her dog. “So cute,” he said, as he petted the dog. “Hopefully he doesn’t bite me, my God.” I think the owner somehow misinterpreted this as Tommy wanting the dog out of the next take. “Well,” she said, “he’s actually really old now. He just sits around. He won’t bother anyone. He kind of rules over this counter.” Tommy nodded, smiling, still gazing down at the motionless little dog. “So is it real thing?” “Before running the scene one final time, Tommy wanted to talk to the flower shop owner about her dog. “So cute,” he said, as he petted the dog. “Hopefully he doesn’t bite me, my God.” I think the owner somehow misinterpreted this as Tommy wanting the dog out of the next take. “Well,” she said, “he’s actually really old now. He just sits around. He won’t bother anyone. He kind of rules over this counter.” Tommy nodded, smiling, still gazing down at the motionless little dog. “So is it real thing?” The flower shop owner looked at Tommy uncertainly. “I’m sorry?” she said, after a moment. “Your dog,” Tommy said, unfazed. “Is it real thing?” The woman kept looking at Tommy, probably trying to figure out whether this man who’d taken over her store was really asking if her dog was real. Did Tommy think it was a robot? An android pug of some kind? “Yes,” the woman said finally. “My dog is a real thing.” i haven't been reading a lot lately, but i devoured this book within a few hours. so gdamn good.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Tess Taylor

    4- A few weeks ago, on a regular weeknight at home, my husband and I were browsing Amazon Prime for a movie and we happened upon James Franco's The Disaster Artist. Neither one of us had much understanding of what the movie was about, aside from the fact that it was the true story of an eccentric filmmaker. We watched the movie in its entirety, with utter disbelief and enthusiasm. Immediately after finishing The Disaster Artist, we knew we had to track down The Room. We found a bootleg version o 4- A few weeks ago, on a regular weeknight at home, my husband and I were browsing Amazon Prime for a movie and we happened upon James Franco's The Disaster Artist. Neither one of us had much understanding of what the movie was about, aside from the fact that it was the true story of an eccentric filmmaker. We watched the movie in its entirety, with utter disbelief and enthusiasm. Immediately after finishing The Disaster Artist, we knew we had to track down The Room. We found a bootleg version on Youtube (with random Italian subtitles, no less) and devoured it. By midnight, when we had finished, our stomachs hurt from laughing, we had at least 10 new inside jokes, and we realized that our lives had been forever changed by this film and the story behind it. I think this is pretty normal after a first viewing of The Room. I sent my husband to the library the very next day to track down the book that Franco's movie was based on and began reading it as soon as I got home from work. I couldn't get enough. I am obsessed with "stranger than fiction" tales, and Tommy Wiseau's life story may just be the king of them all. The book lived up to my expectations, aside from some problematic formatting. I thought the decision to flop back and forth in time (every chapter bounced between Greg and Tommy's pre-Room days and the production) was unnecessary. I much rather would've read the story linearly. Furthermore, and this is a personal preference, I'm not a fan of quotes in books. At all. I think they're wholly unnecessary. This book opened with a whole page of quotes before the first chapter, and then every chapter also opened with quotes as well. I'm pretty sure half of the dialogue in Rebel without a Cause and The Talented Mr. Ripley was represented throughout the chapters of Disaster Artist. Despite these small setbacks, I thought this was a great book. One of my favorite aspects is that Greg Sestero was able to treat his descriptions of Tommy with thought. You can tell he truly cares about Tommy and didn't want to make fun of or hurt him by writing this book. However, Sestero was still able to tell the story as needed- in full, gory detail. Go watch The Room and then read this insane, hilarious, cringe-worthy, TRUE story of how it barely got made. I promise you will not be disappointed. It's a masterpiece of crazy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

    Greg Sestero had quite a story on his hands when he met the creator of the best worst movie ever made, Tommy Wiseau. However it feels like once he put it down in writing the story became clunky, even with the help of Tom Bissell. Also, he made way too many references to Retro Puppet Master. We get it Sestero. Retro Puppet Master was your first big Hollywood gig, but I bet most of your readers weren’t interested in that.

  29. 5 out of 5

    xTx xTx

    There should be a piece of Tommy Wiseau in all of us. The world would be a better place.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Twerking To Beethoven

    I haven't watched "The Room" yet, I've only gone through a few hilarious clips on youtube in order to get a rough idea about it. However I did watch James Franco's "The Disaster Artist", having no clue what it was about (I had never heard about "The Room" back then), and I thought it was a sweet little & hysterical flick. Franco's performance as Tommy Wiseau, in particular, is absolutely flawless, spot on & hilarious. So, recapping, I watched Franco's film, then waited a couple of years before r I haven't watched "The Room" yet, I've only gone through a few hilarious clips on youtube in order to get a rough idea about it. However I did watch James Franco's "The Disaster Artist", having no clue what it was about (I had never heard about "The Room" back then), and I thought it was a sweet little & hysterical flick. Franco's performance as Tommy Wiseau, in particular, is absolutely flawless, spot on & hilarious. So, recapping, I watched Franco's film, then waited a couple of years before reading this book...which covers the same story, apart from a few bits here and there. Having said that, I think each and everyone of us has an acquaintance who's kind of an oddball and has made us feel awfully uncomfortable and awkward at least once. Still we refuse to cut ties with them because, at the end of the day, there's something endearing about them. And I think that's Tommy Wiseau's case, too. I found the biographical chapters detailing Tommy's youth in (probably) Poland and then France, before fleeing to the US to be the best bits in the book. Overall, an entertaining, funny and fascinating read. Four stars.

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