Movie Blog Post: Tommy Wiseau's THE ROOM & James Franco's THE DISASTER ARTIST

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Disaster Artist vs The Room
Tinsel & Tine's Look at


By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

A couple weeks ago when I received Allied's weekly screening list, Tommy Wiseau's The Room was scheduled. I didn't know anything about the movie, so I went to You Tube for a trailer and discovered something weird and nonsensical - only it didn't appear to be a comedy or a spoof. I didn't even finish watching the trailer; I just sorta scratched my head, didn't give it a lot of thought and chose the other films on the list I planned to see in the coming week.

Blog Tommy Wiseau The Room and James Franco The Disaster Artist
Tinsel & Tine Movie Selfie
Cut to maybe 2 or 3 weeks later, I start hearing about James Franco, finally working with his brother Dave Franco in a movie called The Disaster Artist.  I normally follow the films that do well at Sundance, Cannes and Toronto, so I don't exactly know why I wasn't up to speed on this movie, but upon seeing its trailer, it suddenly clicked... Oh, Hai The Room, now I know why you were on screening list.

Luckily we got another opportunity to see The Room before The preview screening of The Disaster Artist - only, I got another surprise... 80-85% of the audience had already seen the movie, not just seen it, memorized it. They had props for the screening - like an endless supply of plastic spoons to throw at the screen every time the framed spoon portrait came into view.  They tossed blow up footballs around, they knew each character's entrances and exits, of which there are many. Basically, they all were completely in on the joke that is reportedly believed to be the worst movie ever made. And once again, I felt completely clueless.  Why didn't I know about this? To be fair, I will say that same 80-85% of the audience in the know, were under 40, white, hipster-ish, irony seeking types. Not really my peer group. However, now having seen both movies and researched several articles, I can say I've developed a sincere appreciation for the cult classic and its homage.

Dave Franco interview The Disaster Artist working with his brother
Dave Franco was asked by InStyle Magazine about his first time seeing "The Room":

My brother [James] and I were both pretty late to the game. He actually read Greg Sestero's book before ever seeing The Room—he's probably the only person on the planet who did it in that order. But after reading the book, he watched the movie and then texted me and said, "If you haven't seen this yet, watch it immediately. We need to make a movie about this." I was working in Boston at the time, so I watched it alone in a hotel room, which is not the way to watch that movie for the first time—you watch it in a group where you can turn to people and say, "What the f-ck is going on?" READ MORE

For others who have yet to be initiated, let me try and break it down for you...
"The Room" stars Tommy Wiseau and his friend and co-producer Greg Sestero. The film has very little storyline or plot details, it's basically about this guy Johnny (Wiseau) who supposedly works as a banker, I didn't get that from watching the movie, but read it later. His life really revolves around his live in girlfriend Lisa. But she's tired of him, something we hear again and again in heart to heart talks with her mother, who at one random moment announces she's dying of breast cancer, yet it's never mentioned again. Lisa, heeding her mother's advice to stay with Johnny because he's a nice meal ticket, decides she can have her cake and eat it too, by starting an affair with Johnny's best friend Mark (Sestero) who lives upstairs. There's also another kid of maybe 17 or 18 year's old that also lives in the building, who Johnny and Lisa have kind of "adopted" who just stops by randomly for very shorts scenes and then leaves.

Midnight Screening Cult fan favorite worst movie ever THE ROOM

The room has no character arcs, super low budget production value, although it's been reported Tommy spent 6 million dollars getting the movie made. There are these strangely chosen stock footage shots of water and lakes and the Golden Gate Bridge, which pans steadily to the left and then the next time you see this shot it's panning steadily to the right.  The establishing shot of where they live from the outside looks nothing like what their place looks like from the inside. There's one shot of Johnny walking around in what looks like maybe downtown LA, with the Disney store in the background and then he just walks right into the apartment. The love scenes take up so much of the movie, it could almost be a porno, except they are just so badly shot and conceived, even a porn house would be embarrassed to put out something so schlocky. And of course, every moment, whether it involves Johnny, Mark, Lisa, the mother or any other random role, is so, so, so very badly acted.
Canadian documentary filmmaker Rick Harper was given the green-light by Tommy to make a documentary about his life and the making of "The Room", way before Franco decided to do "The Disaster Artist", but right before the doc was to see the light of day, Tommy pulled the plug and threatened to sue Harper, an injunction was order, which has just recently been lifted.

The Hollywood Reporter interviewed Harper - But it’s fair to say he’s made a legitimate business out of The Room, right?

Harper: Oh absolutely. Say what you will about Tommy Wiseau, but he’s an excellent marketer. He was able to turn a really horrible movie into a movie that makes so many people happy and they open up their wallets and buy anything — Wiseau shirts and wallets and underwear. He’s made himself a celebrity. In part that’s because of The Room, but also because he’s one of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet. I remember saying to someone that he’s probably the most interesting person after Michael Jackson. There’s no understanding this person and there’s always a thirst to know more about him. READ MORE

The Disaster Artist (based on the memoirs of Greg Sestero) fills us in on who this terrible actor/director/producer Tommy Wiseau is and why this awkwardly put together film exists.  Tommy Wiseau is a guy from an indeterminate Eastern European country who denies being anything but American.  If anyone asks about the accent, he says he's from New Orleans.  He and Greg meet in acting class, although Tommy is not the star pupil, he's not afraid to let go and make a fool of himself when performing a scene, Greg wants to learn how to be that free. Tommy, for some completely inexplicable reason is rich. Really, no one knows where his money comes from, he's often compared to a vampire, so for all we know, he could really be from old Transylvanian money.  At any rate, when he meets Greg at these acting classes they're both living in San Francisco, but after Greg introduces Tommy to some old James Dean movies, Tommy convinces Greg to move to LA with him. He'll pay for all the expenses, he just wants them to encourage each other to never give up until they both become stars.

Bottom Line: What I like about The Disaster Artist is the fact that James Franco takes it all seriously, it's funny, but it's never mocking. It's obvious the film comes from a place of love and fascination for Wiseau and Sestero’s story.
Franco, who stayed in character for the entire shooting of the movie, both as an actor and director of the film, has said he sees a lot of himself in the narcissistic, brittle Wiseau:
"So much. In ways I don't want to admit."

Note: below video of James Franco, Dave Franco, and Dave's real-life wife Alison Brie (Mad Men) won't be visible to those receiving T&T via RSS feed. click HERE to view

There's some great cameo roles for Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith and Megan Mullally and a fun moment for Bryan Cranston playing himself. But it's Seth Rogan who really shines as the script supervisor on the movie set. He plays this, I thought I'd seen it all/done it all in this business, but this guy takes the cake, role in the movie; often stepping in to run things, as Tommy is clueless about running a set, keeping actors happy or really anything about the business of movie making... and yet, he's now a cult movie legend, showing up at midnight screenings around the globe. Just goes to show, you never know what will happen if you follow your dream.

T & T's LAMB (movie bloggers association) Score: 4 outta 5
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Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog



Saturday, November 4, 2017

Films screening at Philadelphia Asian Film Festival Schedule
Tinsel & Tine's Look at :


PAAFF Conference

By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

 POST UPDATE 11/12/17

Philadelphia Asian American Film & Filmmakers is a volunteer run nonprofit organization founded in 2008 to educate and expose the Philadelphia region to films by and about Asian Americans through year round events, primarily the Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF17) November 9-19, 2017.

This year’s Festival highlights the long but largely unheralded history of Asian Americans in the film industry; beginning with the opening night film, a screening of the rarely seen and recently restored silent film The Dragon Painter (1919), starring Japanese immigrant Sessue Hayakawa, and featuring an original live score by singer/songwriter Goh Nakamura. The Festival’s centerpiece documentary, Finding Kukan, tells the story of the almost lost 1942 Academy Award-winning documentary and its uncredited Chinese American producer, Li Ling-Ai. The closing night program, focuses on Chinese French stories, exploring the boundaries of diasporic Asian American film.

PAAFF Conference Nov 11, 2017 Michael Tow and Teja Arboleda

Another highlight is the 2nd Annual PAAFF CONFERENCE
(Nov 11th 10am-6pm)

This year’s one-day conference (Organized in partnership with University of Pennsylvania Asian American Studies Program and Greater Philadelphia Asian Studies Consortium) features a series of two individual presentations and three panels that revolve around the central theme of Art as Activism. FREE & OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, PAAF Conference 2017, brings together filmmakers, academics, and other creatives presenting programs designed to intersect with various themes found in the Festival. Although attendance is free RSVP is advised due to limited seating capacity. Venue: University of Pennsylvania Arch Building, 3601 Locust Walk, Room 108
Philadelphia Asian American Conference Philadelphia 2017
Saturday, Nov. 11 | Time: 2:45–4:15pm | UPenn As part of the Asian Americans in Early Hollywood Retrospective at PAAFF17, this panel is designed to explore in greater detail the significant contributions of actors like Sessue Hayakawa, Anna May Wong, Sabu Dastagir, Philip Ahn, Keye Luke, and others who paved the way for future generations of AAPI performers in American Cinema.

Moderator: DR. PETER X FENG teaches film, literature, ethnic studies, and gender studies at the University of Delaware; his books include Identities in Motion: Asian American Film and Video, Screening Asian Americans (editor), and Chinese Connections: Critical Perspectives on Film, Identity, and Diaspora (co-editor).

Panelists: STEPHEN GONG, Executive Director of the Center for Asian American Media has served in his current role since 2006. Stephen’s lifelong media advocacy has allowed him to work with institutions such as Pacific Film Archive, National Endowment of the Arts, and American Film Institute. Stephen also discovered the sole surviving print of The Dragon Painter that was reconditioned for DVD release and is an expert on Sessue Hayakawa.

PEILIN KUO is an award-winning filmmaker born in Taiwan and based in New York City whose films have screened at Sundance, Cannes, and LA Asian Pacific Film Festival. Her new project is a feature length biopic of the first Chinese American actress Anna May Wong.

IMRAN SIDDIQUEE is a writer, filmmaker, and activist working to transform how gender and race are represented in the media. He helped start The Representation Project, where he led nationwide campaigns to call-out sexism in the media. In 2014, he gave a TEDx talk called “How Hollywood Can Tell Better Love Stories,” and his 2015 short film, Love Reset, was aired by MTV. His writing has been published by The Atlantic, Buzzfeed, Salon, Mic, and other publications.

ROBIN LUNG is a 4th-generation Chinese American raised in Hawai‘i and director of Centerpiece Documentary Finding Kukan. Robin has spent over fifteen years bringing untold minority stories to the screen, and several of her past films have aired nationally on PBS.

Be sure to check out the full

Mini Interview with Festival Director Rob Buscher

10th Annual Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival Interview

ROB BUSCHER, came on as PAAFF Director in 2014. I got a chance to ask him a few questions about this year's film fest & conference:

T&T: How did the Conference come to be a part of the film festival?

RB: This is the second year that PAAFF has hosted an academic conference as part of the film festival. Since myself and several of the other volunteer staff are teaching faculty at a few of our local academic institutions, it made sense to incorporate this into the festival in some capacity. Also one of PAAFF's primary goals has always been to educate people about the many diverse immigrant groups who make up the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, so hosting a conference gives us a designated space to delve into these subjects beyond the screen.

This year's conference specifically addresses the notion of art as activism, seeking to explore the role that Asian American and Pacific Islander artists have in progressing conversations around social justice issues. The political climate has undeniably shifted in the wake of the 2016 Presidential campaign to be more openly hostile to peoples of color and immigrants specifically, so the art and artists of our community have an even more important role in this challenging time.

T&T: What do you hope people will take away from the conference? And how do you see that differing for Asian-Americans and Non-Asian-Americans?

RB: Both Asian Americans and non-Asians alike will be able to engage with a variety of topics that challenge them to consider art for its most utilitarian purpose; to disrupt and challenge the status quo. While the majority of speakers are Asian American much of their work extends beyond this community, and conference attendees will be able to relate their own experiences to that of the panelists. If nothing else, I hope that our conference attendees will leave with an understanding that film and art have far more to offer than entertainment.

T&T: Among the films screening at PAAFF17 which would you consider the most surprising? most enlightening? and most fun?

RB: Most Surprising - is probably Shu-De! a feature documentary about Baltimore-based African American beatboxer Shodekeh who journeys to Tuva (semi-autonomous region of Russia near Mongolia) to participate in a throat-singing competition. While the scenario is somewhat unexpected to begin with, what surprises me is how seamlessly Shodekeh integrates the traditional throat-singing techniques within his beatboxing in a respectful and interesting way.

Most Enlightening- may be Finding Kukan, feature documentary about a Chinese American woman named Li Ling-Ai who produced a 1939 film that exposed wartime atrocities that Japan committed during the Sino-Japanese War and garnered US support for China. Filmmaker Robin Lung manages to track down the sole remaining copy of the film, resurfacing the story behind its creation and the incredible woman who made it.

Most Fun- is probably Signature Move, a romantic comedy about a Mexican-Pakistani American lesbian couple. An emotionally repressed Pakistani American woman named Zaynab lives with her recently widowed mother Parveen, a devout Muslim who spends her days watching TV dramas and trying to find her daughter a husband. Zaynab begins a lesbian romance with free-spirited Mexican American Alma, and confrontation with her mother seems inevitable. Zaynab copes by becoming a Lucha-style wrestler.

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Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog



Sunday, October 22, 2017

Philadellphia Film Society Independent Film Showcase

Tinsel & Tine's Look at

Philadelphia Film Society & PNC Arts Alive


By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

Every month PFS supports local Philadelphia Filmmakers of all ages, levels, and backgrounds with a screening of selected films shown at the Prince Theater Black Box. Each Showcase is followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers, cast and crew to elicit feedback from the audience.

Tickets are FREE, through PFS On Us presented by PNC Arts Alive,  although donations to Philly Film Showcase are welcome.

I always have plans to go to more of these but often have a conflict.  I did get to attend the September Showcase, and since it featured 3 films of the Scifi/Fantasy/Horror genres, I decided to wait and post about them near Halloween!

Aleksandra Svetlichnaya Breakfast writer director short film

The first one was by someone I now think of as a friend as we began following and communicating via several social media platforms after I interviewed her for her first film called DINNER (click for T&T post).  Her name is ALEKSANDRA SVETLICHNAYA and she's super kick-ass!  She's now got a series of these Cosplay inspired comedy/fantasy films in motion.  At the showcase she presented...

BREAKFAST - Two friends set out on a quest for an exclusive edition of their favorite comic book one morning and find something unexpected, setting off a series of events that no one could have predicted. And they haven’t even had breakfast! (26 min)

Indie filmmaking in Philadelphia Crew of Breakfast Short
Breakfast Team: lft to rt. Frankie Murphy Production Assistant, Judith Redding, Gaffer, Aleksandra Svetlichnaya, writer/dir/actor/producer and Adam Cardenas, Editor

As I was formulating a mini review, I came across this great one by ROOBLA which I really like:
"Breakfast" brings back the main cast from "Dinner", although not a sequel. This is the second course in the aptly names “Dinner-verse”. The film is again made on a limited budget, but still manages to deliver through some creative ideas, clever twists and slick editing, which really help the film stand out. Bringing the film together are Joshua Kachnycz and Ricardo Segarra who once again play off each other with as much energy as the first film. Their childlike behavior working perfectly to change the direction and tone of the movie...- Philip Rogers READ MORE
Check Out Breakfast Trailer below:
 (Note: Trailer will not be visible to those receiving T&T via RSS Feed click HERE to view)


Philly Film Showcase Aleksandra Svetlichnaya_SuperPower Pictures_Michael Yazujian

The second film in the slate was DO YOU HEAR THAT? | FONTAIN | SuperPOWer Pictures |5min
In this horror comedy, a bickering couple investigate a strange sound in their home.

 No need for me to explain further when you can see the short for yourself:

Note: Film will not be visible to those receiving T&T via RSS Feed click HERE to view.

The 3rd Short of the evening is by a PFS insider, you may recognize him from the box office of the Roxy Theater.

Fun with Brienne Detective Dad Michael Yazujian director


Detective Dad and his partner Brienne get trapped inside of a prison filled with the world’s most dangerous wizards.

Again, no need for me to explain further when you can see the short for yourself. I will say that this film is SO cray cray that I found it highly amusing! Kudos to Michael on thinking up the Birthday Wizard concept!

Note: Film will not be visible to those receiving T&T via RSS Feed click HERE to view.

Now that you've checked out these awesome shorts by Philly's next auteurs. Check out an excerpt of their Q&A which took place after the showcase screenings, hosted by Travis Trew:

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Tinsel & Tine (Reel & Dine): Philly Film, Food & Events Blog


Philly Events Calendar

ADD YOUR EVENT for FREE! - which includes SOCIAL MEDIA BLASTS!  Click AGENDA VIEW to see complete list of happenings.

Featured Post

BlackStar Film Festival Coverage 2017 (Aug 3-6)

Tinsel & Tine's Coverage of the... 6th Annual BLACKSTAR FILM FESTIVAL By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor The 6th Annual BLACK...

Food n Film: BURNT

Food n Film: BURNT
Bradley Cooper has more than charisma, he has an over abundance of Chi, which radiates out from him; so for me, this role as temperamental and damaged chef Adam Jones, who also inspires great love and admiration from those around him, works on the level of characterization. In fact, I think he's among a very short list of actors who would be able to pull off being so self-involved and yet likable. Doesn't hurt that he really speaks French too! READ POST

Eater Philly - All

Food n Film: CHEF

Food n Film: CHEF
Much of the movie centers around the father/son relationship, and how much they learn from each other. But the real star of the film is all the food preparation, every other scene made me groan with want of everything up on that screen! Particularly the perfectly roasted and rubbed brisket, the crispy fat of the pork belly, sizzling bacon and the much ballyhooed Chocolate Lava Cake. READ POST


The key to deciphering both the city it beautifully depicts and the man who eats it best - City of Gold

By Tinsel & Tine Contributor Denine Gorniak (The Bicycle-Chef)

What Jonathan Gold, Los Angeles Times food critic/writer, has done for food writing journalism and for the restaurants that he loves, the movie, City of Gold has done for Jonathan Gold and Los Angeles and its surrounding environs – it has planted taco covered kisses on them... READ POST

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT

Food n Film: CHOCOLAT
If you’re a foodie movie lover who saw Lasse Hallström’s The Hundred Foot Journey (see T&T post), this summer you may be wondering what delicious visual journey might be awaiting you in the theater next. Well, how about a look back at his film Chocolat (2000), which stars French actress Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Johnny Depp. Hallström’s has a special talent for turning cooking into a dramatic movie journey...READ MORE


...young Hassan, a soulful-eyed boy with lush, thick eye lashes, places his face into the sea urchin basket, and breathes in the exotic briny scent. He sticks his fingers into the aquatic ooze, takes it to his mouth and is transfixed by the taste. The vendor, oblivious to the thrusting arms of frenzied women, notices the boy and realizes he is the only one worthy of this oceanic prize; he is the one who can “truly taste.” ... READ MORE

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA

Food n Film: JULIE & JULIA
Personally, I like the unevenness of it, because I fell in love with the post World War II, Parisian sights, sounds, food and romance between Julia and Paul. I always felt a bit jarred back into reality when the scenes returned to Julie's meltdowns and cramped kitchen.READ POST

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE

Food n Film: EAT PRAY LOVE
Six months into my 38th year of this life, I had my first panic attack. I didn't know that's what it was until months later. Symptom after symptom starting piling up on me until there were days I could no longer move my arms or neck. The doctors told me I was suffering from an auto-immune condition that they felt was most likely Lupus. And so began my much deeper journey and exploration into the world of spirit, alternative medicine, yoga, meditation and Eat, Pray, Love. READ POST

Philadelphia Magazine » Blog » Foobooz


With a film like this, food plays a main character in the story and I was lucky enough to get an interview with the film's Food Stylist, Janine Kalesis.READ POST

Food n Film: WAITRESS

Food n Film: WAITRESS
In this 2007 film, Keri Russell stars as Jenna - a desolate diner waitress seeking solace in the art of pie-making. Trapped in an unhappy marriage, she’s eager to escape her husband and her small-town hell and sets about to make a run for it by entering an out of town pie baking contest. READ POST


Those of us in attendance were not only given the opportunity to see Babette's Feast, the Oscar winning, Danish film, considered one of the all-time great "food films"; we also got to taste Babette's menu! READ POST


I participated in WalkMS Philly on 4/30/16
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15 Top Food in Film Flicks

15 Top Food in Film Flicks
Cozy Quilt of Food Movies, we'll add more patches as T &T discovers more films where food plays the biggest "roll"

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Videographer Oliver Gallini 5 min short featuring organic-chemist-turned-chef, Townsend Wentz, who got his start at The Four Seasons Philadelphia.


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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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