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Most viewers probably remember the hit of the end of last year, Disaster Artist, a sentimental and spectacular bow to the production of the worst/best film in the world, The Room by Tommy Wiseau. James Franco is not an outstanding actor, but his mediocrity worked in the Disaster Artist in favor, allowing him to copy the iconic character of Tommy-Johnny from The Room almost one to one (which probably even the best acting workshop could not provide).

Although the actor’s performance, chemistry between the Franco brothers and a huge load of situational humor – a treat for the fans of the original – were admirable, they did not saved the movie from unenjoyable creaks. One could get the impression that Wiseau is almost exclusively a comedy trampoline for Franco. The hidden tragedy of the character gives way to screen bravado. What’s more, there were rumors that the last scene (after the subtitles) of the film, in which Wiseau takes part, was repeated several times, because the latter could not speak a short line. There was also a not-so-nice incident while Franco was receiving the Golden Globe for the best actor in a comedy or musical.

A little on the wave of buzz around the iconic movie, the success of Disaster Artist, and somewhat independently, Justin MacGregor created a two-part movie, Best F(r)iends, starring two infamous figures of The Room: Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero. Fears of a fiasco of the production, in which actors requiring outstanding delicacy, personal approach and enormous directing tact seemed to be justified. And yet, to the pleasant surprise, MacGregor was able to tame the eccentric characters, exploit their iconic potential, and even find a place for audiovisual quotes from many works of culture, thus creating a real entertainment pulp.

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Best F(r)iends is a story – attention, attention – “based on facts.” Apparently, the script idea came from Wiseau’s and Sestero’s old journey together, when Tommy suspected his companion of plotting to take his life. The story of the film revolves around friendship, shaky trust and an atmosphere of conspiracies. Harvey (Wiseau), cosmetologist of the dead and artist creating masks for the dead, embraces the homeless Jon (Sestero). The latter discovers a forgotten treasure in the form of piles of golden teeth – the long-term effect of Harvey’s work with the dead. This fortune will become a plot axis, mixing the convention of comedy with a thriller and criminal intrigue with a sweet lesson about loyalty. Conspiracy theories will hang in the movie like in Under the Silver Lake, director sometimes goes towards Lynch (similarities with Twin Peaks), sometimes the movie resemble Hitchcock’s works, sometimes reminds of Tom Ford[1], there are also direct references to the Sunset Boulevard (1950).

Fun resulting from inappropriate love for the cinema could not have gone out so well, if not for the surprisingly successful performances of the actors. Best F(r)iends is a film that will not only play on the sentimental notes of the world’s worst/best film, but also effectively demythologize it (which Franco could not do), bringing a new life out of the cult duo. One can only imagine how enormous directing work MacGregor did. It seems that Wiseau is not only himself anymore, he is copying himself, returning to old lines, but he also understands their phenomenon and consciously uses his, after all, tools. If you listen to coelhian clichés, let them only flow out from Tommy’s mouth.

Chemistry of friends and their relationship give the film a hilarious, improvisational atmosphere. It’s hard to believe how much potential there was in this affective bond. Best F(r)iends is great entertainment not only for movie theaters and for fans of The Room – but MacGregor’s movie can be also recommended with a clear conscience to those who need a solid dose of self-ironic, embarrassing humor.


[1] Thank you, Kamila, for this trail!

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Mateusz Tarwacki

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