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  Best F(r)iends: Volume 1 Room For ImprovementBuy this film here.
Year: 2017
Director: Justin MacGregor
Stars: Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Kristen StephensonPino, Vince Jolivette, Rick Edwards, Tom Bissell, Michael Davis, Robert Briscoe Evans, Carter Friend, Angelina Guido, Blake Hastings, Erin Hodgkins, Kristopher MacGregor, Trisha Miller, Paul Scheer
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Weirdo
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Jon Kortina (Greg Sestero) is a drifter who wakes up beside a bridge one morning with blood all over the shoulder of his T-shirt and cuts on his face and hands, not remembering where all this came from. He makes a few jokey cardboard signs to generate funds by begging from passers-by and begins to make progress, but the real stroke of luck arrives when he is passing a large gate and sees a white hearse enter through it. Intrigued, he follows and is confronted by mortician Harvey Lewis (Tommy Wiseau) who asks him for help in transporting a coffin from the vehicle to the building. After some trouble manoeuvring it, they are soon inside, and Jon has a surprise in store...

Could it be that Greg Sestero was just as bad as his pal Tommy Wiseau at expressing himself artistically? That chilling conclusion had to be drawn by Best F(r)iends: Volume 1, a film that lasted over three hours originally therefore had to be edited into two parts, though precisely how many people would return for that second instalment after sitting through the first was highly questionable, especially as Volume 2 was a couple of hours in itself. Aiming for David Lynch-style mystery and dreamlike arrangement, it merely concocted an endurance test where only the audience's fascination with the two leads was likely to sustain any dwindling interest.

This was apparently intended as a showcase for Sestero, who wrote the screenplay, and cohort Wiseau, who sounded as if he was speaking the first thing that popped into his head rather than sticking to the script, at least for most of the time. Fans of his weirdo charms may be diverted, but without the maniac dedication to... whatever Wiseau was trying to express in his messterpiece The Room some fifteen years before, all that was left was less the whiff of pretension and more the heavy smog of pretension. While every so often you could raise a chuckle as his line deliveries or the blankly non-sequitur quality of what he was given to act out, tedium set in early and never shifted.

The plot had Jon and Harvey (wouldn't those names be better swapped for the performers playing them, considering the accents we were dealing with?) becoming fast friends thanks to the latter's lucrative business pulling gold fillings from the corpses he attends to and selling them to unscrupulous types, thereby making a fortune that somehow ends up in his own personal ATM. Jon finds himself more attracted by the money than he is the value of friendship, which builds to a desert confrontation atop a cliff, but before we reached that there was the matter of his girlfriend Traci (Kristen StephensonPino) who is encouraging him to betray Harvey after being well and truly weirded out by him, which although she's supposed to be a villainous female comes across as perfectly reasonable as a reaction.

Echoes of The Room were felt throughout, lots of dialogue references were loosely Room-like, and there was the same mistrust of women who damage the supposed purity of male friendships, but the frustrating thing was that Sestero had already proved himself talented - just not as an actor. His account of making the movie he will be forever known for was a book called The Disaster Artist, which had been turned into a film itself with a proper, well-known cast thanks to its worth; it was one of the best accounts of making movies on a low budget you'll ever read, though of course the issue was with Tommy that he had apparently bottomless pockets to dip into. You had to muse that his character may have been truer to life than anyone realised, and that Wiseau really was selling gold fillings to make his fortune, and you probably would as your mind wandered through the boredom of the meandering blather this consisted of. Precisely what the point of this was, other than a cash-in on previous notoriety, was difficult to fathom, and it was only The Room's existence that would have got it produced. Music by Daniel Platzman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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