[Editor's note: This interview with Greg Sestero and review of 'Best F(r)iends' comes to us from Bleeding Cool contributor Dana Han-Klein of The DHK.]
Fifteen years after the eventual cult classic The Room, real-life best friends Tommy Wiseau (writer, director, producer, and star of The Room, possible vampire) and Greg Sestero (author of The Disaster Artist, probably not a vampire) are reunited on screen once again in Best F(r)iends.
"He my best friend," says Wiseau about Sestero.
I met fellow Bay Area native Sestero over the weekend at the 3 Below theater in San Jose, where he was screening an exclusive behind-the-scenes documentary about the making of the Citizen Kane of bad films, The Room.
He then participated in a Q&A with the audience, which also involved a live reading (complete with audience participation) of the first edition of the script for The Room. It was mind boggling. This was all followed by a screening of the Golden Globe-winning and Academy Award-nominated film The Disaster Artist.
Sestero is tall, with hair that is on the verge of being called Farrah Fawcett-esque. He speaks in the same monotone that his infamous character Mark does. At first it seems as if he's completely disengaged, but if you listen closer you can tell there are actual peaks and valleys of emotion within that classic Mark range. He's more than willing to talk about any subject — he doesn't shy away from talking about the film that made him inadvertently a legend.
You can watch the conversation on The DHK YouTube channel here:
As for Best F(r)iends as a film, it is not for those who are uninitiated into the cult of Wiseau/Sestero. While the production value has increased considerably since the days of The Room, there are still elementary school level arts and craft produced props, questionable editing, and of course a somewhat nonsensical plot line.
The film follows Jon Kortina (Sestero) a homeless (and initially blood-covered) man who has a chance encounter with Harvey Lewis (Wiseau), a mortician. The two develop a friendship almost as unlikely as their real-life counterparts and embark on a questionable endeavor to turn a profit. Money — and Jon's new beau Traci (Kristen StephensonPino) — begin to drive a wedge between the two friends.
While the movie doesn't have as many plot holes as The Room, but that's a pretty low bar. Wiseau's performance is a million times more refined than his unintelligible mutterings as Johnny, the all-American businessman of The Room. However, once again that's comparing it to a pretty minimal standard. I honestly did not think it was possible, but his hair in Best F(r)iends has somehow managed to evolve into an even wetter iteration of the already drenched version of itself that graced the screen in The Room.
Sestero's Jon (do these guys know how to make a movie WITHOUT a character named Jon or Johnny?) is much less verbose than Mark of The Room. Sestero spends the first 15 minutes of the film in silence, in an attempt to emote his way through the confusing establishment of these two characters. Once again Sestero's borderline monotone delivery makes its way into the film, making me wonder if perhaps he just has one mode of acting.
In case you are a mega-fan of Wiseau/Sestero and plan on seeing the film, I won't go into what one would technically call the plot, for it's almost as thin as Wiseau's skeletal frame. While The Room was Wiseau's attempt at convincing the world he was a successful man who'd made it in America, I'm not sure exactly what Sestero is trying to accomplish with Best F(r)iends. It seems to be partially written as a redemption story for Wiseau/an opportunity for him to showcase some of his "acting chops."
Part of it seems like it's fan service to the throngs of obsessive audiences who've made The Room a cult hit. The film is riddled with Easter eggs (particularly if you're an aficionado of their first masterpiece) and references to their actual friendship. Let me tell you, when/if this hits Blu-ray/DVD/Digital release, sleuths are going to have a field day with creating new traditions surrounding some of the bizarre filmmaking shortcuts they took. The dialogue is also riddled with lines that evoke or are flat-out from their original opus.
The last element of the movie seems to be: he just wanted to make a movie with his friend. There are multiple montages of the two hanging out together as their characters, and you can see that there's a genuine, if not bizarre, connection between the two.
And in case Best F(r)iends nearly two-hour runtime doesn't quench fans Wiseau/Sestero thirst, fear not. There's an entire part 2 coming to theaters soon.
If you have never heard of The Room, or Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, Best F(r)iends is not for you. If you're looking for the accidental genius of The Room, you're also going to be somewhat disappointed. However, if you're morbidly curious to see what happens when these two try to make a grown-up film, boy have I got a movie for you!
Best F(riends) Volume 1 is in theaters March 30th and April 2nd. Volume 2 hits theaters on June 1st and June 4th.