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James Franco
James Franco, Dave Franco, Alison Brie
Writing Credits:
Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber

When aspiring film actor Greg Sestero meets the weird and mysterious Tommy Wiseau in an acting class, they form a unique friendship and travel to Hollywood to make their dreams come true.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 3/13/2018

• Audio Commentary with Actor/Director James Franco, Filmmaker Tommy Wiseau, Author Greg Sestero, Actor Dave Franco and Writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
• “Making a Disaster” Featurette
• “Directing a Disaster” Featurette
• “Getting to Know Tommy” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• Trailer
• Previews


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Disaster Artist, The [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 14, 2018)

Many view 2003’s The Room as the worst movie ever made – or at least the “best bad movie”. 2017’s The Disaster Artist offers a view of The Room’s creation.

Set in San Francisco circa summer 1998, Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) meets Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) at an acting class. Though Tommy shows a woeful lack of talent, Greg finds himself infatuated by Wiseau’s bold spirit and refusal to follow others’ rules.

The two become pals and move to LA together to pursue movie careers. When this doesn’t go much of anywhere, Tommy decides to finance his own movie, one in which he’ll write, direct and act. The production hits snarls and the friendship encounters issues as well.

When Artist hit screens in December 2017, it came with a fair amount of Oscar buzz. However, it earned only one Academy Award nomination under the Best Adapted Screenplay banner.

Some feel Artist failed to garner much Oscar love due to some controversies related to James Franco, and those may have had an impact. I also think it’s possible – and probably likely – that the film didn’t gain more than the one nomination simply because it’s not a great movie.

I don’t intend that as severe criticism, for I think Artist offers a pretty entertaining affair. However, it lacks a certain depth that would elevate it above the level of enjoyable diversion.

Artist really offers a fairly basic “bromance” tale, as it focuses heavily on the Tommy/Greg relationship. Of course, we spend a lot of time on the Room set and bask in Tommy’s cinematic insanity/incompetence, but the connection between the two leads remains the core of the movie.

That’s not the greatest choice, mainly because the two don’t form an especially compelling pair. I get that Greg acts as the audience’s proxy, as he allows us to view Tommy from the “ordinary person’s” view, but his apparent inability to recognize Tommy’s multiple quirks and flaws limits his utility as “everyman”.

Greg also simply isn’t an interesting character, though Dave Franco does well in the role. He manages to add some warmth to Greg, so we empathize with him as the story pulls him in different directions.

On the other hand, we never really connect to Tommy, though I’m not sure how much Artist wants us to bond with him. I guess we’re supposed to root for him as an underdog, but he’s such a bizarre character – and so often such a jerk – that we can’t identify with him.

Tommy mostly gets played as a weirdo, and James Franco manages an entertaining performance, as he nails his impersonation of Wiseau. I don’t think he offers a lot of heart, however, so Franco’s Tommy remains an entertaining persona but not one who manages much real humanity.

Perhaps all those Oscar aspirations color my view of Artist and I should just view it as a comedic romp with occasional dramatic overtones. In that domain, it does pretty well for itself, though I can’t claim it feels especially original.

As mentioned, Artist often follows a pretty standard “bromance” motif, and it wears cinematic inspirations on its sleeve. Dump Bowfinger, Ed Wood, Waiting for Guffman and any number of Judd Apatow productions into a blender, hit “puree” and you’ll get Artist.

Despite the derivative feel, Artist offers a largely entertaining experience, and James Franco’s ample Rolodex helps, as he packs the film with a slew of his famous pals. We get a terrific cast, and they contribute a fun vibe to the film.

While I do think Disaster Artist could’ve been better if it’d worked a little harder to give us substance, it nonetheless offers a mostly enjoyable 105 minutes. Keep expectations in check and you’ll probably dig it, flaws and all.

Footnote: a fun side-by-side comparison of The Room and scenes recreated for Artist pops up after the movie’s end, and a cool tag appears after the credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C+

The Disaster Artist appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a satisfactory presentation.

Overall sharpness seemed solid. A couple of wide shots looked a smidgen soft, but those were the exception to the rule, as the majority of the flick was accurate and detailed.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws were absent, as the movie looked consistently clean.

In terms of colors, Artist opted for a heavily orange and teal palette. Within those parameters, the hues were positive.

Blacks seemed deep and dark, while shadows showed good smoothness and clarity. I felt happy with the transfer.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Artist, it lacked a ton of ambition. The soundfield focused on music and ambience, though it opened up on occasion, mainly in terms of restaurant or movie set atmosphere. Nothing especially memorable occurred, though.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music offered good clarity and range, and effects worked well enough.

Those elements didn’t have much to do, but they appeared reasonably accurate. All of this ended up as a perfectly satisfactory soundtrack for this sort of movie.

When we shift to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from actor/director James Franco, filmmaker Tommy Wiseau, actor Dave Franco, author Greg Sestero and writers Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber. With Sestero on the phone, all six sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the production of Artist and areas related to Wiseau and The Room.

Despite the presence of six participants, the commentary really offers “The James and Tommy Show”, as those two occupy most of the track. In particular, James tries to get Tommy to dig into various areas, and the ever-slippery Wiseau provides a foil.

I like the fact James doesn’t kiss Tommy’s butt – he challenges Wiseau’s BS on a nearly-constant basis – but I admit I wish the commentary included the others more and also focused more heavily on the creation of Artist. This often feels more like a discussion of The Room than Artist, so while it’s fun, it’s not as informative as I’d like.

Three featurettes follow, and Oh, Hi Mark: Making a Disaster runs 13 minutes, seven seconds and brings remarks from James Franco, Neustadter, Weber, Sestero, Dave Franco, actor/producer Seth Rogen, producers Vince Jolivette, James Weaver and Evan Goldberg, and actors Ari Graynor, Josh Hutcherson, Jacki Weaver and Alison Brie.

“Mark” looks at the project’s roots/development, story and characters, cast and performances, and attempts to recreate The Room. Though somewhat superficial, “Mark” offers a decent overview of production topics.

During the seven-minute, seven-second Directing a Disaster, we hear from Jacki Weaver, James Franco, Rogen, Jolivette, Goldberg, James Weaver, Brie, director of photography Brandon Trost, and actor Paul Scheer. “Directing” views the relationship among director and producers as well as challenges James Franco faced in his dual roles. This turns into another short but acceptably informative little piece.

Just a Guy Leaning on a Wall: Getting to Know Tommy lasts seven minutes, 12 seconds and features Graynor, Rogen, Wiseau, James Weaver, Goldberg, Neustadter, Jacki Weaver, Dave Franco, Scheer, Sestero, Brie, Weber, costume designer Brenda Abbandandolo, head hair stylist Vanessa Price, head makeup artist Sweet P Vaughn, and actors Ike Barinholtz, Keegan Michael Key, Kristen Bell, Kevin Smith, Adam Scott, and Danny McBride.

Here we get a taste of the real Tommy. It’s fun to see more of Wiseau, especially when we watch an in-character James Franco chat with him.

We also find a Gag Reel. It goes for four minutes, six seconds and presents the usual array of goofs and giggles. It’s forgettable.

The disc opens with ads for Lady Bird, The Florida Project, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Swiss Army Man and A Ghost Story. We also find the trailer for Artist.

Entertaining but insubstantial, The Disaster Artist never digs very deep. Still, it presents a fun experience most of the time. The Blu-ray brings us very good picture with adequate audio and a few bonus materials. Artist becomes a mostly enjoyable mix of comedy and drama.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2 Stars Number of Votes: 5
2 3:
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