Best F(r)iends Written by Greg Sestero
Directed by Justin MacGregor
Starring Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Kristen StephensonPino, Vince Jolivette, Paul Scheer, Rick Edwards
Lionsgate | Rated R
Release date (Digital & OnDemand): September 25, 2018
Fifteen years ago, a cult classic of epic proportions was born. Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed, produced, and starred in The Room, a film that would earn the moniker of Best Bad Movie of all time. Thanks to his co-star and friend Greg Sestero’s 2013 memoir The Disaster Artist and the James Franco Oscar-nominated film of the same name, Wiseau and Sestero have enjoyed a career resurgence. Their on-screen reunion takes place in the new film saga Best F(r)iends, written by Sestero and directed by Justin MacGregor.
Best F(r)iends will inevitably be compared to The Room due to Sestero and Wiseau’s involvement. However, as a film it is much better, with a cohesive plot, well-defined characters, and genuinely engaging interactions. It does feature some truly bizarre and original moments, and thanks to Wiseau’s off-beat acting style, there is a lot of humor, both intended and not. While I don’t think Best F(r)iends will garner the reputation and midnight-movie following of The Room, fans of the actors and that film will not be disappointed.
The film focuses on Jon (Sestero), a drifter in a bloody shirt who stays silent for the first 15 minutes. In a back alley he stumbles into Harvey (Wiseau), a mortician who offers him some money and night’s rest for some help around the morgue. Wiseau steals these early scenes making Harvey an instantly memorable character. He creates masks to cover scarred corpses and alleges he just wants to make everyone happy, even in death. Blink and you’ll miss a tribute to James Franco as his picture appears in the morgue, perhaps as a mask for one of Harvey’s bodies.
Harvey explains that he keeps all the gold fillings from the bodies he prepares and shows Jon bags of precious metals he keeps in storage. Jon steals one and realizes the hidden value in this unconventional black market trade. Feeling guilty he confesses to Harvey and they form an unlikely underground business complete with a wacky array of side characters getting involved in the scams. Jon and Harvey have a unique friendship, to say the least. Harvey is almost fatherly, or at least big brotherly towards Jon. Complications arise when Jon begins seeing a pretty waitress Traci (Kristen StephensonPino) and soon involves her in their schemes. In a development that mirrored the real-life tension between them in The Disaster Artist, Harvey begins feeling disconnected while Jon and Traci start planning on ways to separate themselves. Couple in mysteries about Harvey’s past and their relationship is about to head off the deep end.
Wiseau and Sestero have a fanbase established from The Room and those fans will specifically love Best F(r)iends. Wiseau delivers a great performance ranging from genuine and humorous to borderline creepy. The film ends with a cliffhanger and you’ll want to come back in January for the release of Volume 2 just to see these characters and actors again. Best F(r)iends Volume 1 shares many themes with The Room and The Disaster Artist, namely friendship, betrayal, and paranoia. I suggest watching with a group of friends. Will this become a cult classic, only time will tell. My fear is that because it’s a better overall film than The Room, it won’t be revered as much. Maybe after Volume 2 comes out, we’ll revisit this question.
Best F(r)iends Volume 1 is available to rent or buy now on Amazon Prime, iTunes, GooglePlay, YouTube, Vudu, and Xbox. You can check out my interview with Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau here