Extra Credit: Movies About Filmmaking to Stream After ‘The Disaster Artist’
In the weekly column Extra Credit, Charles Bramesco recommends supplemental viewing for moviegoers whose interests have been piqued by a given week’s big new release.
There’s no business like show business, there’s no business I know. Everything about it is appealing, everything that Hollywood labor union laws will allow.
Though there’s plenty about the calamitous production of The Room — hilariously chronicled in James Franco’s adaptation of The Disaster Artist, in limited release this week before expanding on December 8 — that wouldn’t have passed muster with a SAG rep. Inscrutable weirdo Tommy Wiseau (Franco) sank a multimillion dollar chunk of his vast personal fortune into a deranged melodrama so colossally misguided, so mind-bogglingly incompetent that it commanded the fascination of an ever-expanding cult fanbase. But the beautiful cruise liner crash they released into theaters in 2003 was only part of the story; even stranger dynamics were playing out behind the scenes, where one guy drunk on his own self-assuredness held an entire crew hostage through a long and laborious process.
This film attempts to divine the method from Wiseau’s madness, working from the book written by star Greg Sestero (portrayed in the film by Dave Franco), but it’s also a paean to the mixed-up business of filmmaking, where brilliance can arise even when nobody involved has any idea what they’re doing. So read on for a selection of films, all of which are available to stream online, that take an askance look at the movie biz. Lights, camera, dysfunction: