In “But How Gay Is It?”, we seek to answer the biggest questions you have about a new movie release in theaters now including, most crucially, the titular question. Does the movie have any queer characters? Are there stories involving same-sex lovers? Which gay icons star in the film? We’re bringing you all that and more.
What is The Disaster Artist?
If you’ve ever known a straight man (a foreign idea, I know), you’ve likely heard of The Room. Director Tommy Wiseau’s notoriously disastrous film has a cult following with midnight showings and participatory actions expected of the audience. Think of it as straight people’s Rocky Horror Picture Show.
The Disaster Artist is director/star James Franco’s chronicle of how The Room got made as well as something of a story of friendship between Tommy and his co-star, Greg Sestero. If the movie sounds a bit one-joke it’s The Room in the making! that’s underselling it; Franco’s actually made a pretty sweet, very funny film here.
Who’s in it?
Franco plays Tommy, while his younger brother, Dave Franco, plays Greg. Filling out the cast and crew of the film-within-the-film are Seth Rogen as script supervisor Sandy, Ari Graynor as female lead Juliette, and Josh Hutcherson as odd child Philip. There’s even a Zac Efron cameo that’s almost too weird to process.
Why should I see it?
The elder Franco’s getting a bit of Oscar heat for his performance, and should at least show up in the Golden Globe comedy/musical nominations. But frankly, The Disaster Artist is worth seeing even without the Oscar factor. It’s a surprisingly charming movie, with just enough in-jokes about The Room to keep fans of the cult phenomenon happy without locking out those who haven’t seen it.
There are moments when the movie winks a little too broadly, sure. And beyond Franco, everyone’s basically playing a version of themselves. But this movie could have been so much dumber and so much more self-involved than it actually is. That Franco came up with such a loving portrait of Tommy and Greg’s friendship is a testament to how he’s evolving as a filmmaker: His movies are no longer one hook, but a development of what lies beyond that hook.
But how gay is it?
Considering Franco is notorious for gaybaiting, you might expect some queer undertones here. But while there are a few suggestions that Tommy is somehow in love with Greg, there’s nothing too significant. The very fact that it’s about The Room makes the movie pretty straight indeed.
If you were reading very closely, you could say the friendship story two men who move away from their home to follow a dream together, and go through typical “relationship troubles” in the process is a queer story. But that’s reaching a little bit. The Disaster Artist is mostly hetero, and that’s OK sometimes.
Do I need to have seen The Room to get this?
Nah. Several friends of mine who loved the movie haven’t seen The Room. You’re fine.
What makes James Franco’s performance award-worthy?
He gets all the eccentricities of Tommy Wiseau who is a deeply eccentric man, all odd accent and mysterious fortune right, without making that the whole character. He never forgets to give the man a heart and feelings, which would be easy to forget. After all, most of the cult around The Room is built about making fun of what Wiseau made. It’s really remarkable how much of a human Franco made out of such a big character.
Is Dave Franco hot in this movie?
Depends on how you feel about Dave Franco with a beard.
The Disaster Artist is in theaters now.