In January 2013, attendees of the Sundance Film Festival watched "Escape from Tomorrow." In this bizarre, psychological film, it follows an ordinary man named Jim on vacation at Walt Disney World with his family after being fired from his job. Filmed guerilla style on location at both Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and Disney Land in Hollywood, California, and dubbed as the “film that should not exist,” according to Drew McWeeny from HitFix, anyone who watched this film were lost with words on both sides.

It had a reaction that a movie rarely had: the mixed feedback.

What was the deal with "Escape from Tomorrow?" Why was the potential given so much yet gave movie watchers so little? Some praised it with the acceptance of its eccentric tone while others criticized it for being too different. However, there is a small group that were left lost; they did not understand how they felt and either left the film in the dust or came back to "tomorrow" to fill in their gap of unanswered questions.

The literal meaning of "Escape from Tomorrow" was to show that big business establishments are the antagonists, as explained by director Randy Moore. Many watchers began to agree with director Moore as the film showed the dark side of Disney, as he stated in an interview with the Today Show, "I went there religiously as a kid, and we had a great time." However, his wife said that she had an "awful, awful experience," after Moore took his family to the theme park.

Figuratively, it was to show the dark depths of escapism, and it made sense - the theme parks are known as “the most magical place on Earth.” Disney movies showed the innocence of childhood, by giving heartwarming messages of family, loss, redemption, and true love, of course.

Yet the innocence of a Disney movie did not stop conspiracies of the “dark side” of the company, and that’s where "Escape from Tomorrow" gained its potential.

With many conspiracies on innuendos, brainwashing, and the strange one about Walt Disney’s frozen head, "Escape from Tomorrow" gained its potential by wanting to show that anything people see is all an illusion; it’s not real and anybody that is brought into the paper town are brainwashed by its magic. However, the deep message that Randy Moore wanted to convey just left the attendees at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival with an odd movie.

Randy Moore tried to make his film timeless but failed with its storytelling aspects. Five years later, there hasn’t been a movie that would be on par with "Escape from Tomorrow" until Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero would reunite again after 15 years to give audiences their next collaboration, "Best F(r)iends". So what's the deal with Volume One?

Oh, hi Movie

In 2003, an eccentric wannabe filmmaker named Tommy Wiseau directed, wrote, produced, and financed the “best” worst film ever made, "The Room." It grew a cult following over the years and on special nights, local theaters would play a showing of "The Room" and anyone who bought tickets will show up with plastic spoons, rose petals, footballs, and some would even cosplay as Tommy Wiseau himself!

"The Room" stars Wiseau as businessman Johnny and Greg Sestero as his best friend, Mark, whom both moved to Hollywood to find their careers in the entertainment industry. Production of the film was an experience so worth telling that Sestero wrote his memoir, "The Disaster Artist," which gave readers the opportunity to follow his life with Tommy before, during, and after the production of "The Room." It caught the attention of James Franco, who was a major fan of the cult classic and collaborated with his brother, Dave Franco, and longtime friend, Seth Rogen, to adapt the book into a screenplay. "The Disaster Artist" received critical acclaim and won James Franco his award for Best Actor in a Comedy at the 2018 Golden Globes for his portrayal as Wiseau.

Following the success of "The Disaster Artist," Tommy Wiseau partnered with Fathom Events in January 2018 to re-release "The Room" in theaters giving Wiseau the chance to finally live his life's long dream – to have his “magnum opus” released nationwide in theaters. Tickets were sold out and fans came in ready with spoons in their hands. However, the fun did not stop there.

Last year, a concept trailer was released for a new movie titled, "Best F(r)iends." It would star Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau collaborating once again after fifteen years of buildup from "The Room." It was written by Sestero after feeling sympathy for Tommy after the success of "The Disaster Artist" and was directed by Justin MacGregor. During the nationwide release of "The Room," and after the end credits, fans were given an official trailer of "Best F(r)iends" as it was announced that it would be released in two parts: Volume One in March and Volume Two in June.

Inspired by true events, "Best F(r)iends" follows Jon Kortina, (Sestero), as he drifts lonesome throughout the city of Los Angeles but soon meets a mysterious mortician named Harvey Lewis, (Wiseau). After working with him for a while, Jon steals Harvey’s dental scrap collection out of desperation and sells it for money. Soon, Jona and Lewis decide to hatch a plan with the scrap that Harvey keeps hidden but hatred, jealousy, and greed soon tests their friendship and they must consider if they can trust each other as friends, or live the life as enemies.

Tearing me apart, Movie

Comparing to "The Room" with "Best F(r)iends," it is with no debate that "Best F(r)iends" is the better movie. Instead of Tommy Wiseau having all control, Greg Sestero wrote the screenplay and asked for Justin MacGregor to direct it; Wiseau would only be an actor. Does this mean that the movie was better because Tommy was not creatively involved? Not necessarily.

Yes, the potential of the movie was surrounded by the fan base of "The Room." In fact, many references were made throughout the movie - one scene of the two characters throwing a basketball while having a discussion - but Tommy had an interesting message about the theme of "Best F(r)iends" in an interview with Newsweek, and he said that after viewing it, "your mind will find paradise."

Your mind will find paradise. In the movie, Tommy’s character, Harvey, would say to anyone who entered his home, “Welcome to my paradise.” If anyone tried to disrupt Harvey in his own home, he would say something along the lines of, “you’re ruining my paradise!” In addition, the reason why the theme of paradise works so well in "Best F(r)iends," and fails the theme of escapism in "Escape from Tomorrow," is because of its compelling story.

A movie should always have a three-act structure – the audience wants to be built up to a great conclusion. Remember, Greg wrote the screenplay because he felt bad for Tommy being “mocked”. Maybe this gave Tommy the redemption he wanted, and needed, for fifteen years after many moviegoers laughed, instead of cried, giving the reaction of his "real Hollywood movie." After fifteen years of finding success with the “best” worst movie, and working with his best friend once again, perhaps Tommy finally found his paradise.

What's going on?

Coming back to the discussion of storytelling, "Escape from Tomorrow" had a big theme but little story; "Best F(r)iends" was vice-versa. In the movie, Tommy’s dialogue had the word “paradise” a few times but the theme never over-shadowed the story. In "Escape from Tomorrow," the story relied too much upon of its theme that it was distracting. By the end of the movie, its character, Jim, dies in his family’s resort room, and his corpse is taken away by employees, but immediately after he arrives in the same hotel with another family. Should it be mentioned that Jim had fantasies of a couple of young college girls whom he stalked throughout the theme park?

We get it. It was all an illusion. The finale of "Escape from Tomorrow" was so damn distracting that it was the sole purpose as to why many attendees at Sundance were left with an empty pit in their critical heads. Why this choice of an ending? What were the character motivations? What's the deal with cat flu?

On the other hand, "Best F(r)iends" did not spoon feed its theme to its audience. In a heartwarming yet funny montage, we follow our two main characters to Las Vegas where they get drunk, gamble, and have an authentically good night. After the montage, the story slows down to develop its characters. Viewers come to understand Sestero's character, Jon, with flashbacks of childhood bullying and pictures of his wife whom viewers have no idea what happened to her. Questions are still up in the air but, after this scene, we understand more of Jon’s motives. With fireworks lighting up in the air, it is shown that Jon may have found paradise with his new friend. However, with the problems that the characters had to face, "Best F(r)iends" left on a literal cliffhanger. Fans wanted more. Now, they are ready for Volume Two.

After the movie, an audience member said, “You know, despite everything, this was actually genuinely good movie,” and he may be right, after all. "Best F(r)iends" will go down in cinema history as one of the most genuine movies ever made.

In conclusion, a theme can work well in a movie if it is directed and written well; moviegoers want a relevant story. People can relate to the theme of escapism, but how can they relate to the main character given its creative choices from "Escape from Tomorrow." In "Best F(r)iends," desperation is what drove Jon to make the choices he made.

At one point, someone was so desperate enough that they did whatever they can to survive, especially if it was to steal something that was not theirs for money. The movie gave viewers clear character motives and something that they can relate to, and more will be answered in Volume Two, this June.

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