I must admit that I’m a slow reader as it is, but it took me ten days to read The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made. I decided to challenge myself and read one hundred books this year, so this was a misstep if I had to read at three times that pace, right? Well, the book isn’t exceedingly difficult, verbose, or long-winded by any means. No, it turns out that this book is exceptionally funny. I was up reading this book with my morning coffee for a week and a half trying desperately to not wake my wife up as I stifled my laughter at each page that passed.
The Room, for those who have seen it, recognize it as being among the greatest bad movies of all-time. Those two ideas (“greatest” and “bad”) seem like somewhat of an anomaly when juxtaposed against one another, but The Room is an anomaly itself. The co-author of The Disaster Artist, Tom Bissell, explains the movie as such: “It is like a movie made by an alien who has never seen a movie, but has had movies thoroughly explained to him” (“Why People Keep Watching the Worst Movie Ever Made” 00:53-01:02).
Greg Sestero, the co-author of the book and supporting actor in the film, explains his rise to cult stardom through his journey to Hollywood, his various successes and failures, the troubled production of The Room, and ultimately his friendship to the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau—the director, producer, writer, and lead actor in the aforementioned film. Wiseau’s background is a mystery that attempts to get solved during the book. The questions that are raised by Sestero about Wiseau are intriguing and part of the reason I was so hooked on this book.
If you feel like this book would interest you, I recommend that you watch two films as companion pieces. First, of course, is The Room. While it is not necessary to watch the film to enjoy the story, I feel that the reader would get so much more entertainment out of the book by being given a concrete visual of the events as they happened. Second, The Disaster Artist. This is a 2017 film that was adapted from the book, so it would be best to watch this film after having completed the reading. A warning about The Disaster Artist adaptation: there is some now problematic casting in the film, so if you feel that might deter you from viewing the movie, I would skip it.
As far as the book goes, I thought it was a five-star read—something I don’t easily say with most media. I highly recommend this book, especially during such a dark time in our collective histories. It feels good to be carefree, having a cup of coffee, and laughing away with this oddity of a tale.
R.J. Stanford is a student at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, where he is studying to earn his master’s degree in English. He also holds a lifetime membership to Sigma Tau Delta, the premier English honor society. Career-wise, the author is working toward a professorship. In the meantime, he works as an independent contractor. Having worked in the field of corrections for nearly a decade has shaped the author’s worldview and storytelling style. He and his wife reside in Hondo, Texas.
“Why People Keep Watching the Worst Movie Ever Made.” YouTube, uploaded by Vox, 14 June 2017, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k27mr6p-yhY.