Best F(r)iends is the newest film from Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, the two men behind the best-worst movie ever made, The Room. Best F(r)iends is directed by Justin MacGregor and was written by Sestero, who also stars in the film, along with Wiseau.
The film is a four hour-long epic that was split into two parts, Volume I and Volume II, a la Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill. The movie looks at Jon (Sestero), a drifter who meets Harvey (Wiseau), a mortician who likes to make masks of his patients. Harvey gives Jon a job assisting around his facility. When Jon finds that Harvey has thousands of gold teeth that can be sold on the black dental market (yes, that’s a thing), the two begin to make a lot of extra side money. But Jon soon becomes weary of Harvey, as Harvey begins to make a number of large purchases and begins talking to a weird mysterious man named Molmö (Paul Scheer). Jon and his new girlfriend Traci (Kristen StephensonPino) decide to steal Harvey’s money and runaway to Colorado, leaving Harvey in the dust. This leads Jon on a path of violence and guilt.
Before my viewing of Best F(r)iends Vol. II, there was a brief interview with Wiseau and Sestero about the film. Sestero said two things that stuck in my mind while I was watching this movie. The first thing he brought up was this movie was inspired by a road trip he and Tommy had and that is was a combination of, “Breaking Bad and Nightcrawler.” Those are lofty expectations, as Breaking Bad is considered to be one of the greatest television shows of all-time and Nightcrawler was one of the most celebrated movies of 2014, and the film comes nowhere near that.
The skeleton of this movie is interesting and this could have been a good movie. Sestero wrote an interesting screenplay that, aside for a couple of unnecessary sequences, weird conversations, and a wildly long runtime, could have been good if in the hands of the right director and right team. Instead, the movie was made on a shoe-string budget and featured Sestero, Wiseau, and StephensonPino as our leads, none of which are great actors. This isn’t nearly as awful as The Room, but the way the lines are written and delivered, we do get quite a few laughs in scenes that I don’t believe were intended for laughs.
Aesthetically, the sound mixing is all over the place and the cinematography has the occasional cool shot, but is really bland and inconsistent in it’s color pallet. Basically, as a general movie, Best F(r)iends isn’t really good. It isn’t the worst movie ever made, hell, it isn’t even the worst movie I’ve seen in 2018. I did like some elements of it, but as a whole, it’s got issues. But that’s not the most interesting part of this movie.
The other thing that Sestero said in the pre-movie interview that stuck with me was that he said he wrote this movie for Wiseau and wanted to write him a character that he was made for. What is interesting about this is that knowing the history of Wiseau and Sestero’s relationship, from reading the book The Disaster Artist and from watching the movie of the same name, you can see that this movie is a thank you note to Wiseau from Sestero.
In The Disaster Artist, the film, there is a scene where Wiseau (played masterfully by James Franco) is in an acting class reciting Shakespeare when the acting teacher stops him and tells him, “You have a malevolent face. You’re a perfect villain.” Tommy disagrees and tells everyone that he is a hero. Throughout the film, Tommy’s goal in life is to be the hero. No matter what anyone says, Tommy believes he is the hero. He wrote The Room with Johnny, his character, as an all-American guy who is the hero of his film, a wildly subjective view of Johnny, but still the one Wiseau had in mind.
With Best F(r)iends, Sestero has made the film that Wiseau has always wanted to be in: he is the hero of this film. As Volume I plays out, Wiseau’s Harvey is being set up as a villain, something that everyone said Tommy was made for. But in Volume II, Sestero twists it and makes Harvey the hero at the end of the movie. He is the character who double backs for his friend, who teaches his friend a lesson, and saves the day.
I looked at this movie as a look inside Sestero and Wiseau’s friendship, but also a thank you note from Sestero to Wiseau. Volume I was the beginning of their friendship and the creation of The Room. Wiseau brought Sestero to Hollywood and the two were going to take the city by storm. Wiseau then wrote The Room and he and Sestero work diligently to get it done, even though Wiseau was insane during the shoot. Sestero and Wiseau clashed during the making of the The Room and the movie almost killed their friendship. Volume II is post-The Room, where the movie’s odd success has sense made both Sestero and Wiseau cult icons and elevated their friendship. Without The Room and Wiseau, Sestero wouldn’t be where he is today. This adds a certain sentimentality and sweetness to Best F(r)iends, a movie in which you wouldn’t think that would exist based on everything about the movie.
This wasn’t an official review of the film, but a deeper, over-analyses of a film that wouldn’t get usually analyzed. As an actual movie, personal context aside, Best F(r)iends isn’t a horrible movie, but doesn’t have the cult weirdness of The Room and doesn’t have the qualities of a good movie. But when you take into account Wiseau and Sestero’s friendship and the history of the two and apply that to this movie, it actually makes for a pretty interesting and sweet piece of cinema. I hope they show this movie at midnight screenings in the future (all four hours at once would be incredible) and that Wiseau and Sestero collaborate again to bring us cinema like we’ve never seen it.
Did you see Best F(r)iends? What did you think? Comment below or hit me up on Twitter and Instagram, @kevflix, or on Facebook by searching Kevflix.