You will be utterly fascinated by the movie that he says “you have to see to believe.” What at first appears to be a drama with a rather basic storyline about a love triangle, the horrible execution becomes obvious to the point of total hilarity due to the film’s nonsensical script, awkward acting, repetitive dialogue, and countless subplots that are dropped immediately after being introduced. The Room reaches a point of unintentional comedic gold that even Ed Wood would envy.
But just as interesting as the movie itself is the story behind how it became the paramount “so bad it’s good” film of the 21st century. With this story comes a look inside the mysterious mind of Tommy Wiseau – the writer, producer, director, and lead actor of The Room.
The book shifts between the making-of and memoir parts of the book in an organized fashion, with a chapter being about one and the next being about the other. Those who read the book primarily to find out about the behind-the-scenes drama on the set will be kept interested by the memoir chapters, with those parts being just as, if not more, engaging than the book’s primary selling point.
The memoir component of the book was surprisingly relatable, and will be for many readers. Those who are currently seeking their dream job, or any job at all, will relate to Sestero’s struggles landing acting jobs after moving to Los Angeles. Those who have ever had a roommate will relate to the nightmares that coincide with living in Wiseau’s Los Angeles apartment. Anyone who has ever had a seemingly unrealistic goal will relate to Sestero’s experiences, even if at times left wondering why he tolerates Wiseau’s wackiness, jealousy, and single-mindedness. For Sestero, his dreams do come true, but not in the way he expected. His (and Wiseau’s) biggest success was also his biggest failure.
The exploration into the origins of the strange man who wrote and directed one of the strangest movies of all time through the eyes of his closest friend tells more about the movie than any behind-the-scenes documentary every could. The book tries its hardest to answer the questions that everybody on and off the set of The Room had. While many are left unanswered, Sestero’s provides facts and theories throughout the book that seek to give us a better understanding of his friend. Not even Sestero has all the pieces to Wiseau’s puzzle, but he comes close to solving many fan frequently asked questions: how Wiseau accumulated the wealth he used to finance the project, the origin of his accent, his age, and other secrets that he has tried so hard to keep under wraps.
Sestero’s friendship with Wiseau provides another avenue of examination of the latter’s psyche. At times, Wiseau can be very endearing and genuine, and is actually the one person who encourages Sestero to keep pursuing his acting dream while the rest of his family and friends try to convince him to give up. On the other hand, Wiseau can be deceitful, selfish, and unforgiving. Wiseau’s unique understanding of human interaction is on full display in The Room’s script and direction. As Sestero recounts Wiseau’s actions and behaviors, the reader begins to understand that The Room IS Tommy Wiseau and to understand the movie you must understand the man.
Just like what happens when you watch The Room, reading this book will have you laughing from start to finish. For fans of the film, the funniest parts will be finding out exactly how each of The Room’s most infamous scenes turned out the way they did, and how there are worse takes for each scene that exist. For example, the insane and terribly acted “I did not hit her. It’s not true. It’s bullshit. I did not hit her. I did NOT,” rooftop scene was actually the best take they got in over 40 different tries. Wiseau kept forgetting his lines for that part, and once he remembered them, the crew was too annoyed to care about his acting. The story behind the spoon pictures that appear in the background of several scenes is also explained, and it teaches how to never believe that “nobody will notice” the smallest details in a movie. But seriously, the real story behind the spoons will crack you up!
“The Disaster Artist” is certainly worth the read, as long as you see The Room beforehand. It is well-written, funny, engaging, and (surprisingly) suspenseful and thought provoking. It is currently being made into a movie directed by James Franco (who is rumored to also be playing Wiseau). I cannot wait to see how that will turn out!