REVIEW: Best F(r)iends

Oh, you have a real criticism of Best F(r)iends? Well why don’t you leave your stupid comments in your pocket!

A homeless drifter befriends a bizarre mortician in Los Angeles as the two eventually hatch a scheme to make millions.

I am speechless. Seriously, I have no idea what I am meant to say here. How on God’s green Earth am I meant to even begin when discussing my opinion of Best F(r)iends? This would have to be the weirdest, stupidest and most randomly constructed film I have seen all year. And yet, I was kind of expecting it…

From Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, the duo who brought us the notoriously labelled best worst film ever made, The Room, back in 2003, Best F(r)iends stands as the long awaited reunion of the two cult legends. Firstly, in comparison to The Room, Best F(r)iends was not that film. What I mean by that is that Best F(r)iends was not a catastrophic and poetic disaster on all accounts which failed in competence through and through like The Room, but instead, Best F(r)iends was more an artificially made calamity that actually, kind of, worked.

Again, I want to reiterate how difficult it has been for me to write this review. From all accounts, Best F(r)iends was crappy filmmaking, yet the movie absolutely knew how crappy it was and, instead of denying it, embraced its kooky nature. So to properly assess Wiseau and Sestero’s new joint project, I am going to be basing my review purely off my personal experience and the more intimate response I had overall to the film rather than the usual analyzation of filmmaking techniques.

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(Jacobs 2017)

I had fun watching Best F(r)iends. Like real genuine fun. The filmmakers knew what they had on their hands and decided to wholeheartedly jump head first into the film’s utter bizarreness. As opposed to Wiseau having written and produced The Room, Best F(r)iends was penned and produced by Sestero who, with director Justin MacGregor, constructed a film tailormade for an insane performance from Wiseau and a series of ensuing shenanigans of a high cult status.

The film opened as most films do, with the title card reading ‘Best F(r)iends‘. It then stated, after cast listings, that the film was supposedly based on a true story (real Fargo-like sh*t) before unveiling the title, ‘Best F(r)iends‘, for a SECOND TIME. So almost immediately, from the beginning, you knew exactly what kind of film you were watching. The movie did indeed have a plot, but the film never truly adhered to it. Best F(r)iends stumbled and jerked around as if the narrative did not matter as, instead, what mattered was Wiseau’s constant ramblings about literally nothing. The film may have been about a scheme played out between the film’s two protagonists but the story had time for inconsequential romances, random trips to Las Vegas and conversations that literally went nowhere. Best F(r)iends was the kind of film where Tommy Wiseau was weirdly let off the leash as a mortician and never did the premise drag or become annoyingly repetitive. Best F(r)iends knew exactly what it was and, with said knowledge, managed to elevate its material which, in anyone else’s hands, would be have been unforgivable garbage.

The best part of Best F(r)iends was how the filmmakers managed to saddle and tame the wild Wiseau by giving him a character appropriate for him to be himThe Room was ridiculous because never was Wiseau believable as the central All-American guy. Wiseau’s (supposedly) unintentional brand of dramatic comedy never fit the mold of his character of Johnny from The Room or any of his follow up material; though with Best F(r)iends, Wiseau’s portrayal of a mysterious and obscure mortician was insanely perfect for the performer to adapt his own genre of over-the-top acting. Best F(r)iends played to the strengths of Wiseau, so in order to really spotlight the cult actor in an intentionally humorous light, everything about the film completely indulged in what makes Tommy, Tommy.

Best F(r)iends also effectively utilised and called back to elements of The Room to large comedic effect. From the partnership between Wiseau and Sestero’s characters to a sequence of the two playing basketball, this movie had homages to The Room interwoven throughout. However these homages and slight connections also featured as the film’s most detrimental faults.

Kudos to Sestero for setting out to create something new and fresh for himself and Tommy to sink their teeth into, however the biggest flaw in Best F(r)iends was that, no matter how much it tried, the movie never escaped the shadow of The Room. The problem came with the fact the film opened itself up to so many nods and homages to the 2003 classic, yet still, at times, it took itself a bit too seriously and tried too hard to separate itself from any of its established connections to The Room.

The film, to its credit, tried being a bit experimental and succeeded in a more thematic approach to its narrative than The Room ever did, though Best F(r)iends was never able to escape the success of Wiseau’s original and therefore surrendered to an ample amount of fan service that it faltered in uncovering its own identity. I do not want to say Best F(r)iends was a slave to The Room but it kind of was at points and the sad part was the fact that the film actually tried to really set itself apart.

However, I don’t think getting into the specifics of what made Best F(r)iends good or bad was enough to really help build appraisal or recognition for the film. You really just have to be a fan of Wiseau and Sestero to enjoy this film for what it was. On occasions, the film branched out from the success of The Room and in ways I would consider the feature its own explosion of cult magic, but this was still heavily a reaction to The Room first and foremost.

And building off what made The Room great was not completely a bad thing! The majority of the film contained scenarios so wildly orchestrated, they worked. Best F(r)iends may be one of the only films for which succeeds in being terrible after setting out to, quite frankly, be terrible. The movie was like an ambitious, though incompetent student film, for which managed to hire actors from the deepest pits of obscurity and unintentionally captured scenes of cinematic gold. I am hugely in awe of Sestero, MacGregor and their crew after seeing this film. If we really want to get into specifics about the technical filmmaking (for which I do not think is a fair assessment when observing Best F(r)iends), I think the film occasionally contained some solid frames of cinematography. I rated most of the indie song choices. The lines of dialogue between Wiseau and Sestero were perfect. But that’s about it – the rest of the movie’s technicalities were crap through and through.

Yet, some of the scenes in this film, MY GOSH, cannot be topped. There was a large sequence where Wiseau and Sestero went through with a ‘deal’ at Wiseau’s place of business that was just priceless to behold. Another sequence involved Wiseau’s character meeting Sestero’s character’s girlfriend for the first time as the moment was just incredibly baffling to experience. I could literally sit and list to you every scene of complete obscurity to try and sell this film to you, but I do not want to spoil anything that happens; this film was just downright insane.

It’s so difficult to actually ‘rate’ this movie, since I believe it appears to run in its own lane completely. In fact, I cannot imagine a rating that would suffice for cinema of this calibre. Though, what I hope comes of Best F(r)iends is a new era of indie filmmaking where Wiseau and Sestero collab for film after film of crappy avante-garde cinema. I mean they’ll have to come up with a new name for the freshly established weirdo genre, like what was done with the Greek Weird Wave… so how about, the Wiseau Weird Wave? Fits, don’t you think? Next up for the Wiseau Weird Wave appears to be Best F(r)iends Volume 2… at least, in a few minutes, b*tch.

Best F(r)iends is a bloody… CRUSADE!!

 

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