Oh man, this book is something else.
If you’ve been on the internet for longer than a minute or even if you just kind-of pay attention to pop culture phenomenon, you’ve probably heard of the movie The Room. It has been parodied and critiqued all over the net and has seeped into the minds of almost everyone. It is a movie in only the loosest sense of the word with insane, seemingly random edits and action and dialog that is stilted and unintentionally hilarious. Written, directed, produced by, and starring Tommy Wiseau it follows a group of friends as they go about their business in San Francisco. There is a love story and a betrayal (“You’re tearing me apart Lisa!”), a creepy 18(?) year old neighbor, and a drug dealer, plus a seemingly random admission of breast cancer that is never brought up again. It’s pretty terrible, yet fascinating and is excellent to watch with a group of friends.
This book, The Disaster Artist:My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, is written by one of the lead actors who played Mark in the film. When this book came up for a Kindle Daily Deal on Amazon I knew I had to put all other books on hold to read it and it did not disappoint.
It tells two stories, one is the story of the terrible and traumatic filming process and the other is a story of Greg and Tommy meeting and becoming friends. The narrative switches back and forth between them as he tells the story.
The story of making the film is at turns funny and a little scary as you see how unhinged Wiseau can be and all of the strife he put the actors and crew members in. You really start to sympathize with these poor people who have to say these insane words and try to bring them to life. Not to mention the crew Wiseau put together to film this damn movie. Greg Sestero really has a great way of telling this story where you can see that he is trying very hard not to run away screaming and just wants to get finished with the movie and put the whole thing behind him. Plus, its nice to hear good things about the other actors on set and learn a bit about them.
The other story is two stories in one. One is the story of Greg Sestero trying his hardest to become an actor. I came into this book to hear about the filming of the movie but was pleasantly surprised to find out I really liked this portion of the book as well. It really does give you a pretty great idea what it is like to shoot for a dream that seems more and more out of grasp. The other portion of this story is the story of an unlikely friendship that grows between Tommy Wiseau and Greg. From first meeting him is an acting class and following the friendship I stayed riveted. You really get the sense that, at first at least, Greg found Tommy fascinating and alien but also a source of comfort and confidence. Tommy seemed to come into his life when Greg needed someone to push him out of a comfort zone.
Both of these story lines are well told and quite funny. I found my self laughing quite a bit while reading. Both because of humor and a sort of cringy disbelief. I am so glad I picked this book up, it gives a new perspective on an old pop culture punchline and really makes you comprehend the utter madness involved.