director and actor

Photo Credit: Lex Rojas | Daily Texan Staff

Director and actor Tommy Wiseau created 2003’s “The Room,” which many people claim is one of the best “worst movies” of all time. Online entertainment company RiffTrax, famous for mocking popular films, will broadcast a live “riffing” of “The Room” on May 6 in hundreds of movie theaters. After reading The Daily Texan’s article about The Texas Travesty’s special screening of the film last week, RiffTrax reached out to the Texan and set up a Q&A with Wiseau. 

The Daily Texan: Why did you choose film to express your version of art? 

Tommy Wiseau: I like to direct. I like to share what I have in my head. I always say you need ambition before you do anything. Without a vision, you don’t have anything. When you present it, you have to also take a risk because you don’t know if people embrace your project. As you know, some people call “The Room” ‘this way, that way and whatever,’ but I still feel that it’s my responsibility to present the world as I see it for a better tomorrow.

DT: What, in your view, makes a great movie?

TW: I personally think that when you present something real with emotion, that’s a part of it. But you cannot just use one word. Good movies relate to vision. If you have a vision, that’s one step, but the second step is the rehearsal process and how you present it. It’s a lot of preparation. You have production and performance, then you put everything together. 

DT: Your co-actor Greg Sestero has stated that you have a “fascination with all things America.” Can you elaborate what he means by that? 

TW: I honestly don’t know what Greg Sestero said. I read his book, [“The Disaster Artist”], but it’s [an] exaggeration. I love America because I’m American. I’ve lived in this country for quite a few years. My uncle grew up in New Orleans, and I grew up there as well. You may go to Europe, you may even go to Canada and find that they don’t have as much freedom as we [do]. I think this is the best country in the world.

DT: Do you think that the relationship dynamics presented in “The Room” between men and women have changed since the movie’s been released? 

TW: I don’t think so. I always say about girls that you don’t have to wear jeans to be tough. The ladies have a certain different approach in life. I don’t think this has been changed in decades. You may change environment, but if you look at the relationship between man and woman or friends, it has not changed that much. 

DT: How do you feel about people who enjoy the movie but enjoy it because they perceive it as terrible? 

TW: If you enjoy it and say it’s terrible, that’s your choice. But with the same token, if you know how I created “The Room” and all its obstacles, you may change your mind. I don’t think “The Room” is terrible. 

DT: You stated in previous interviews that you tend to dislike mainstream media and the politics in Hollywood. What advice do you have to filmmakers who will one day encounter the Hollywood system? 

TW: Just ignore media if they write about you. If you believe deeply about what they write, it’s not right for you. Believe in your project, and eventually you’ll have people who will actually respect you and will admire whatever you accomplish. It can be sometimes brutal, and you have to be strong and keep going. 

DT: Why did you choose to establish your own underwear line? 

TW: I decided to design underwear because I didn’t like what I saw in regular retail stores, to be honest. I have all kinds of different underwear. We all wear it, unless you don’t want to wear it. I put [my underwear] in “The Neighbors” [Wiseau’s new sitcom on Hulu] for product placement, but I wanted to see how people would react, and we did get a reaction. People were laughing. 

DT: What are your plans for future projects?

TW: I’m working on a movie about foreclosure. I’d like to produce three or four movies a year, but I think I will produce at least one for sure. I’m also working on a vampire movie, and I’d like to work on that this year, as well.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Patriot Films | Daily Texan Staff

“Wild Horses,” the latest offering from director and actor Robert Duvall, attempts to capture the essence of the Texas spirit while juggling a dark crime-drama at the same time. The result is a messy blend of two narratives that separately have potential, but together make for an unengaging film. Most of the actors manage decent performances, but an unfocused story weighed down by unnecessary subplots ultimately results in an unenjoyable, disjointed film.

Duvall plays Scott Briggs, an aging ranch-owner who decides the time is ripe to discuss his will with his family. His distant, gay son (James Franco) returns to the ranch, prompting re-examination of some of the family's dark memories. Years prior, Scott caught his son with a ranch hand and drove them away at gunpoint. The same night, the ranch hand disappeared. Now, a female Texas Ranger (Luciana Duvall) reopens the disappearance case and begins to investigate Scott and the family.

The film’s narrative is basically split into two separate stories, each of them basically representing two different genres. At times, the film is a family drama about reconciliation and acceptance. Simultaneously, it is a murder-mystery filled with gunfights and drug dealing. The two storylines fail to mesh together at all, and the ties connecting them are thin. Duvall seems to have been in love with both ideas. Though he clearly tried his best to incorporate both, he ultimately created a mediocre compromise with two plots constantly fighting for the audience’s attention.

One positive aspect of the film is Duvall’s performance. His take on a conflicted, conservative rancher is stunning. He shows an accurate portrayal of a father trying to understand and bond with his family. Franco is decent as his son, and his struggle to reconcile with his father feels real. If the movie focused entirely on their relationship, it would have had the opportunity to really go in-depth on this interesting connection between father and son. Luciana Duvall, who is Duvall’s real-life spouse, is lackluster as a tough-as-nails ranger. She speaks with a confusing accent that seem half-Texan and half-European, and ultimately doesn’t add anything to the story. She just meanders about and doesn’t have much pull in moving the plot forward.

The Texas of the film, a place where everyone owns a farm and wears a cowboy hat twenty-four hours a day, comes off as a weird, fantasy land. In a scene toward the beginning, Scott hosts a family barbeque that transcends into a list of stereotypes associated with living the quaint "Texas" lifestyle. All the kids are learning how to make a lasso, while all the adults are decked out in plaid and denim. This isn’t a realistic take on Texas, and doesn't feel like a place where a murder mystery is supposed to be unfolding. This is the Texas of Budweiser commercials, and it’s jarring that a dark story is thrust in the middle of it.

“Wild Horses” wants to be a brooding, crime drama set in a bright, happy countryside in Texas, but the contrast never transcends "clunky." Duvall gets greedy and packs everything he can into the film, and the audience is worse off for it. The shifting storylines steal focus from his and Franco’s good performances. If "Wild Horses" didn’t spend so much time on convoluted subplots, and instead explored the relationship between Duvall and Franco in greater depth, “Wild Horses” might've been an intriguing story about the struggles of a family stuck in its ways, trying to move forward. 

  •  
  • Director: Robert Duvall
  • Genre: Drama
  • Runtime: 102 minutes
  • Rating: 4/10 Cowboy Hats