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How Tommy Wiseau helped me with failure

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Posted: Thursday, January 25, 2018 11:37 am

I recently had the pleasure of seeing “The Disaster Artist,” a movie based on one of the worst movies ever made. This isn’t a movie review, but instead my story of how I learned that failure is okay.

“The Room,” a 2003 “drama,” has become a cult classic in recent years. Director, producer, writer and actor Tommy Wiseau stars in the film as Johnny, a man in love with his fiancée Lisa. Lisa is secretly cheating on Johnny with his best friend, Mark. There are plot holes and hilarious moments in the movie, yet people are still attending screenings to this day, often featuring Wiseau himself in person.

When I saw “The Room” for the first time, I immediately wanted to learn more about it. It’s one of those movies that’s so bad, it’s good – think “Sharknado.” I learned that a book, “The Disaster Artist,” was written by Greg Sestero, the actor who played Mark and journalist Tom Bissell in 2013. The book shows how insane the making of the film was and illustrated Wiseau’s wacky antics. I highly recommend the book, but after you watch “The Room,” of course.

“The Disaster Artist” then became a movie, starring James Franco as Wiseau, and his brother, Dave Franco, as Sestero. The movie—which was released late last year—is hilarious and actually really motivational. It’s the story of how two dreamers trying to make it in Hollywood became famous through something that others considered a flop.

This made me think. I was inspired how Wiseau took something that people didn’t like, and he felt down about, and promoted it to the world.

As a student leader, and a human being in general, failure is hard. I know that each and every person has, at some point, in his and her life felt that they failed at something. It’s tough. For me, I start to blame myself. I started to beat myself up over something that I should have done, instead of moving on and looking to the future. The latter is easier said than done, especially when you are stressed and have pressure on you.

I saw “The Disaster Artist” in December, which was a tough month for me. I lost my grandmother, Sylvia, an Iona alum early on in the month. My anxiety was at an all-time high. I had just finished a great semester, yet felt like the world was falling around me. I don’t mean to sound cheesy, but this movie was one of the things that really lifted my spirits.

After spending the time I needed to laugh, relax and enjoy the movie, I started to think back about why I beat myself up over failure. Everyone—and I mean everyone—fails at something in life, whether it’s trying out a new recipe or a new skateboarding trick. When this happens, you have to pick yourself up and move on, now that you’ve learned from what went wrong. I started to apply this to my everyday life, and I gradually saw change in myself.

So, yes, I have failed at some things in my life, and I’m not afraid to admit that anymore. The beauty of life is that we learn something new each day. The most important part is taking care of yourself and understanding that it’s okay to mess up sometimes.

In the end, we’ve all been a 2003-era Wiseau. We felt bad about something we did, but in reality, we all have the tools to be happy.

To contact the Ionian’s Anna Maffucci, email her at amaffucci1@gaels.iona.edu

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