July 19, 2017

How I wasted the last half hour.

I clicked on "See James Franco hilariously fail at acting in 'The Disaster Artist' trailer" and watched the trailer...



... and I did not think that looked as though it would be good movie.

And I do think it's possible to make a good movie about a bad movie. I loved "Living in Oblivion." And "Ed Wood" was an excellent movie about making bad movies, including what everyone used to say was the worst movie ever made, "Plan 9 From Outer Space."

Though I thought the movie "The Disaster Artist" looked bad, I thought the memoir it was based on could be good. I considered buying "The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made." And I was interested in the way I was interested in it, because "The Room," is a movie I absolutely refused to see, because I hate movies in which a woman and child (or woman or child) is trapped and we have to spend a lot of time staring at the faces of female/child actors looking very anxious and afraid.

But it turns out there are 2 movies called "The Room," and "The Disaster Artist" is about the other one.

So... that was a squandering of my magic power — paying attention.

57 comments:

Farmer said...

The book is awful. The guy doesn't really have a story to tell, but he tells it anyway, at excruciating length.

Freeman Hunt said...

I have seen The Disaster Artist one.

SeanF said...

I may be wrong, but I think the other movie you're thinking of isn't even called "The Room" - it's called "Panic Room."

I have not seen either one of them, myself.

Freeman Hunt said...

LOL Now I watched this trailer. He captures the guy very well.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, I think SeanF is right.

Prosecutorial Indiscretion said...

You're tearing me apart, Ann.

Freeman Hunt said...

SeanF, that's a different one. There's one from 2015 called "The Room."

SeanF said...

Freeman, who's in that one? Looking at IMDB, I see there are lots of films/shorts/videogames simply titled "The Room".

FWIW, I object to the text of the link Althouse quoted, as well. Franco's not failing at acting - the character he's playing is failing at acting, and I think it's to Franco's credit that he can reproduce that.

Robert Cook said...

The good THE ROOM won an academy award for best actress for its lead, Brie Larson. And actually, it is not called THE ROOM, but simply ROOM.

Dad said...

One of the reasons ROOM (not THE ROOM) was good was that it was *not* about sitting around looking anxiously at one another while trapped in a room.

Titus said...

How weird. i watched that last night too. And i also watched the bette davis clip you posted before-because I watched Feud, and ended up watching all the interviews of Bette and Joan.

tits.

Laslo Spatula said...

Or you could just watch a Laslo Film instead.

I am Laslo.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Watch the Room, then watch the Rifftrax of the Room.
Althouse, you're tearing me apart!!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

(Also, good call in Living in Oblivion; one if my favorites. First time I saw Peter Dinklage, I think. He's a big part of Game of Thrones...which you don't watch.)
After The Room watch the Rifftrax of Birdemic.
Then become a bad-movie junkie, watch Troll 2 and the documentary on that one called The Best Worst Movie.
Legitimately, I bet you would like that documentary.

Hunter said...

The Room trailer

Wiseau tried to rebrand this movie as a "black comedy" but he definitely meant it to be a compelling drama, and failed spectacularly.

I'm not really one of those people who likes to watch outrageously bad movies, but I watched this one, and it was... well, an experience. There are just so many weird choices that come out of nowhere, and to witness life through this dude's eyes is like thinking through a funhouse mirror.

To give you an idea, Wiseau shot the rooftop scenes on an actual rooftop in San Francisco with a view of the city... and put up those green walls and green-screened everything. Why? Nobody knows.

Kate said...

You are wise to not watch Room. Beautifully acted, very powerful. Awful. Perhaps you referred to the falsity of actors pretending to undergo torture. That, too. Some acts shouldn't be portrayed. This was one of them.

Nonapod said...

I'm a fan of "so bad it's good" movies but I've never really watched "The Room" all the way through for whatever reason. I remember years ago Cartoon Network's Adult Swim used to play the whole movie every April 1st at midnight without explanation (the same Adult Swim that originally aired that "Too Many Cooks" viral video a few years back), and I watched snippets of it when they did that. From what I've seen of it I can tell why people are so fascinated by it.

It's difficult to assess what the best worst movie of all time is. What makes stuff like Troll 2, Manos, the Hands of Fate, Plan 9, and the like so great is that there seemed to be an earnest desire on the creators part to try and make something great, but they were just far too inept at actually creating a movie at all. So you end up with these spectacular burning car wrecks.

Rana said...

For the longest time, my kids would think it the height of hilarity to declaim "You're tearing me apart, Lisa!" while performing the accompanying arm movements when I asked them to do their chores. I will not be seeing "The Disaster Artist."

Ann Althouse said...

"I may be wrong, but I think the other movie you're thinking of isn't even called "The Room" - it's called "Panic Room.""

No, I meant the more recent "The Room," the one Brie Larson won an Oscar for. But I always associated it with that earlier movie you mention, about which I thought at the time if I had to invent a fictional movie as the movie that I would most hate to watch, that would be the movie. I absolutely loathe that form of entertainment, watching a trapped person just suffering. If it were a real person trapped, I would not watch video of it. But it's an actor pretending to be that person. Revolting!

Ann Althouse said...

"FWIW, I object to the text of the link Althouse quoted, as well. Franco's not failing at acting - the character he's playing is failing at acting, and I think it's to Franco's credit that he can reproduce that."

Actually, he is failing at that task. I've seen some great examples of actors playing the role of a bad actor. It's hard to do. Franco's not doing it well.

But I know USA Today didn't mean to make that observation. They think he's doing well. Bleh. One more thing to hate.

Freeman Hunt said...

But Franco is capturing the actual person. The guy acts and talks just like that.

Freeman Hunt said...

I think the reason people enjoy "The Room" is that it is bad in odd ways, and the guy who made it is a singular personality.

Ann Althouse said...

"Also, good call in Living in Oblivion; one if my favorites. First time I saw Peter Dinklage, I think. He's a big part of Game of Thrones...which you don't watch."

I know. I knew him when he wasn't famous.

I also knew Hervé Villechaize before he was on "Fantasy Island" (that is, I knew him from "Hot Tomorrows").

Freeman Hunt said...

The most entertaining bad movie footage I have ever seen was never cut into a movie. It was so deliciously bad that it's a shame almost no one has seen it. We saw the footage almost fifteen years ago, and my husband and I still quote it to each other.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I'm not a big fan of "so bad their good" movies either, so I haven't Plan 9 from Outer Space, or Manos, Hand of Fate, or Trolls 2. However, I have seen Ed Wood (some of the best work Depp has ever done), the Trolls 2 documentary, and a good portion of Manos while watching MST3K.

richlb said...

The Room is just such a trainwreck of a film that is so earnestly pursued. There are bad movies where people just don't seem to care. There are bad movies where it's just not entertaining. The Room has people who seem to care, and there is a level of ineptitude in the script that just makes it so damn entertaining. The cancer micro-subplot. The strange cadence that Wiseau exhibits with his lines.

One thing about Franco here: he's not really doing a good enough Wiseau impression, I think. He's being Franco being Wiseau doing a bad job of acting on The Room. I think a better movie would show Wiseau as more connected to the movie. I have a feeling this will be a lot of obvious jokes.

richlb said...

As far as movies about making a bad movie: Tropic Thunder does a great job of it. Bowfinger is good, but not consistent. Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story is one of the best. It's maybe the most meta movie about making a movie ever.

Robert Cook said...

"I'm not a big fan of "so bad their good" movies either, so I haven't Plan 9 from Outer Space...."

I have. Regrettably. It's so bad it's torture to sit through.

Saint Croix said...

My theory is that this is an intentionally bad movie.

I don't think they spent $6 million on it, as the book claims.

They spent maybe a tenth of that on the movie.

And I think they spent a few million marketing the movie as "the worst movie ever made" and also on the book's promotion.

It's a hoax.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Birdemic, Ron. Check out Birdemic. And the Birdemic Rifftrax.

Here, Professor A: YouTube: The Best Worst Movie

Saint Croix said...

The best bad movie ever made?

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Beyond the Eighth Dimension

So horribly bad, so incredibly good, it's beyond camp, achieving a superstardom of suck that is a pleasure to watch. Ridiculously sublime, moronically brilliant, hilariously stupid. Damn I love this awful awful masterpiece. And forget the bad movie that you make fun of, that ain't what this is. You can't make fun of this movie. You can't mock it. It's unmockable. It's beyond mock. It's beyond everything. Sample dialog:

"Hey, hey, hey. Don't be mean. We don't have to be mean because, remember, no matter where you go, there you are."

"They're only monkey-boys. We can crush them here on earth, Lord Whorfin."

"Take her to the Pitt! Go, Big-booty. Use more honey! Find out what she knows."

"The man's been through solid matter, for crying out loud. Who knows what's happened to his brain? Maybe it's scrambled his molecules! All I'm saying is, Mr. President, let's not panic."

"Evil! Pure and simple from the eighth dimension!"

"Sealed with a curse as sharp as a knife. Doomed is your soul and damned is your life."

"Shut up, Big-booty, you coward! You are the weakest individual I ever know!"

"You're like Jerry Lewis, you give me hope to carry on, then you leave me in the lurch while you strap on your six-guns..."

"You can check your anatomy all you want, and even though there may be normal variation, when it comes right down to it, this far inside the head it all looks the same. No, no, no, don't tug on that. You never know what it might be attached to."

"Buckaroo, I don't know what to say. Lectroids? Planet 10? Nuclear extortion? A girl named John?"

MikeR said...

I see Disney is making "A Wrinkle in Time"; just saw a trailer. I well remember it from when I was a kid that as perhaps the worst book I ever read. It was apparently very popular, with several sequels; total mush and touchy-feely pseudo-ethics pretend sci-fi instead of a story. Spoiler: If you love enough you conquer even the greatest evil.
I look forward to its becoming perhaps the worst movie I've ever seen. We can hope.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

If ever anyone needed to torture Prof A cinematically they would only need to use the movie <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1462758/”>Buried</a>. It is a man in the situation, though, and not women and kids. Still, that'd work.
I haven't seen the James Franco movie 27 Hours, but I assume you avoided that one, too.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Buckaroo Banzai is just weird, not bad. You need more than a nonsensical plot, I think. Howard the Duck is the same. Both are bad but entertaining, and their badness isn't transcendent.

I liked the Wrinkle In Time book, Mike--the first one. I doubt the movies will be any good.

richlb said...

For just plain weird, add to Buckaroo Banzai (which I love) and Howard the Duck (eh...) the movie Tapeheads. John Cusack and Tim Robbins.

Tobias said...

One of my favorite movies about a bad movie is "American Movie." This odd mix of relatable characters, yet alien...mixed in with a lot of laughs.

Ann Althouse said...

The subject isn't so much movies that are bad (that you might be able to enjoy by getting into a so-bad-it's-good frame of mind).

It's movies about bad movies like "Living in Oblivion" and "Ed Wood." Within movies like that, actors (who could be and should be excellent actors) have to play the role of a bad actor. Martin Landau (who recently died) won an Oscar for playing Bela Lugosi in "Ed Wood."

I'm trying to think of other examples. Katharine Hepburn played a bad actress in "Stage Door" (though she becomes a good actress in the end).

I'm interested in the conundrum of good acting in the role of a bad actor. I don't think James Franco is doing it right. And I'm assuming it's hard to do.

Maybe another one is Bette Davis in "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?" And, clearly, Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard."

M Jordan said...

Maybe it's just me but I thought Sharknado 3 was the best of the three.

M Jordan said...

"For Your Considersation*" ... isn't that a good movie about the making of a bad movie?

(*You know, the one with the "Best in Show" gang.)

M Jordan said...

Speaking of bad movies, how about bad lines in bad movies? For me, the worst line in a movie ever was in "Sharknado" when, after the restaurant-owner looks teary-eyed at his shark-destroyed business, his Aussie buddy says, "Don't worry about it. Insurance'll cover it."

I still chuckle in recalling this bit of dialog.

brylun said...

I thought the picture was of Marlon Brando when I first looked at it.

D said...

Woody Allen film w Cusack .... Barely remember .. Maybe 20yr back?.... Didnt it have some bad acting on stage storyline (or sub story?) The one line I remember from it is Dianne Wiest saying "shhh dont speak." My wife laughed - i could say it at dinner tonight, and she would still laugh.

"I did not hit her! I did NOT! Oh hi Mark" (from "the Room") is easily in the Top Ten moments of Cinematic ....Something. Thank you Rifftrax, for exploring oceans of film to find unbelievable lines/scenes, and bringing the movie magic (of a certain essence) to wider attention.

TWW said...

Worst movie ever made: Lost in Translation.' They couldn't go to sleep; I couldn't stay awake.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

And, clearly, Gloria Swanson in "Sunset Boulevard."

We consider it bad acting now, but what's considered bad acting has changed. During the silent era most actors had a background in theater, where grand gestures and heavy makeup was necessary. This carried over into silent films, where, since you could not use your voice to convey emotion, you had to be even more expressive with your face. What looks comically absurd to us today was what was expected at the time. Gloria Swanson's character is an actress that couldn't make the leap to talkies because she couldn't unlearn the acting habits that had served her well in the silent era.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Saw the trailer for Birdemic on youtube just now. Software sales, true love, and shooting attacking birds with AR15s, the perfect trifecta.

Mark said...

"You're tearing me apart"

Haven't seen The Room. But I know enough to know this line is a rip-off.

Will Cate said...

This might not be a bad movie, but, wow... it's a real inside-baseball kind of subject. I don't know anyone other than film buffs who've even ever heard of "The Room" -- not quite as infamous as "Plan 9 From Outer Space"

Ann Althouse said...

"We consider it bad acting now, but what's considered bad acting has changed. During the silent era most actors had a background in theater, where grand gestures and heavy makeup was necessary. This carried over into silent films, where, since you could not use your voice to convey emotion, you had to be even more expressive with your face. What looks comically absurd to us today was what was expected at the time. Gloria Swanson's character is an actress that couldn't make the leap to talkies because she couldn't unlearn the acting habits that had served her well in the silent era."

I agree that we can presume the character's silent movies were good, that she was a good actress in that context. And we don't really see any of her movies, so we don't see the character acting in that sense. But around her house, out of work, she's still actress-y and not like a normal person. So I'm kind of thinking of her being a "bad actress" as she goes about her regular life, and Swanson is playing that woman and playing her well.

Ann Althouse said...

"This might not be a bad movie, but, wow... it's a real inside-baseball kind of subject. I don't know anyone other than film buffs who've even ever heard of "The Room" ..."

Yes, that's why I abandoned interest in buying the book. I don't already know the underlying movie and I wouldn't want to have to watch it to get up to speed.

Earnest Prole said...

It's fortunate your magic power is paying attention, since the rest of us are so prone to distraction: you're like the proprietor of an opium den.

Alex said...

Hunter - I think Greg Sestero indicated in his book that the reasoning behind the green screen on the roof was Tommy was infatuated with the idea of using all the tools of Hollywood... coz reasons. Tommy was like a child bumbling around in his father's work bench area.

Freeman Hunt said...

"This might not be a bad movie, but, wow... it's a real inside-baseball kind of subject."

No kidding. Surprising that this film was ever made.

Mark said...

I'm interested in the conundrum of good acting in the role of a bad actor.

Growing up, I heard in many places that Laurence Olivier was the greatest actor ever. That apparently being beyond dispute, I would think he is the best example of good acting like a bad actor. Practically everything I've seen of him is insufferably over the top.

Mark said...

There's Jean Hagan in Singing in the Rain
Catherine O'Hara in Schitt's Creek (TV)

Ann Althouse said...

"One of my favorite movies about a bad movie is "American Movie." This odd mix of relatable characters, yet alien...mixed in with a lot of laughs."

Yes, I love that. The commentary on the DVD has the bad moviemakers still deluded and thinking their work is good. Very funny.

gg6 said...

"So... that was a squandering of my magic power — paying attention."
Ah! and ha! - that is priceless, Ann Althouse!
And to at least this reader, strikes me as so very true about yourself. Although perhaps I would have called it your 'powerful curiosity' rather than 'powerful attention'.
But either way, I'd say you're correct, it is definitely your 'power' and a form of genius! Lucky you!

SF said...

"Buckaroo Banzai" is a perfect goofy pulp sci-fi action comedy. That might be a very niche genre, but that movie is exactly what its creators meant it to be.

It's the polar opposite of something like Birdemic (haven't seen The Room (2003) yet), where the director wanted to make a tribute that tied Hitchcock's The Birds to deep thoughts on global warming, but managed to make a movie that failed in every single aspect. (Pacing, plotting, dialog, acting, special effects, sound, camera-work... all terrible.)