The Good, The Bad and The Room
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 1 Comment
The history of film is littered with bad movies (anyone seen “Gigli”? I didn’t think so). But sometimes, a film is so colossally bad that it becomes a thing of legend. “The Room” is one of those films.
Written, produced, directed by and starring Tommy Wiseau, “The Room” is Wiseau’s first foray into the realm of film, and boy is it evident. The film is littered with terrible acting, hilariously bad dialogue and many under-developed characters and subplots.
I had first heard of this film around two years ago after seeing a bunch of clips of the movie on YouTube that had me rolling around on the floor with laughter. Adult Swim began broadcasting the film annually on April Fool’s Day, and I was finally fortunate enough, and at the same time unfortunate enough, to catch it.
The film’s premise isn’t exactly groundbreaking. The seemingly dramatic film is the story of a tragic love triangle between friends. Wiseau plays Johnny, a vaguely European San Franciscan who is quite generous to those around him, especially his two-timing, money-grubbing fiancée Lisa. Played by newcomer Juliette Danielle, she comes off as bi-polar and sex-crazed. Greg Sestero plays Mark, Johnny’s best friend and Lisa’s secret lover. Phillip Haldiman plays Denny, an 18-year-old kid that Johnny wanted to adopt at one point.
The film is the result of Wiseau’s determination to see a project through to the end. He initially wrote “The Room” as a play and novel. He tried to shop the project around Hollywood to see it turned into a movie. No offers were made. Wiseau then penned the script himself and went on a fund-raising bonanza, the details of which he has been mostly quiet about, eventually amassing $6 million.
That’s right, folks. This piece of shit cost $6 million to make. I think fifth graders could make a better film with their allowance money.
The film premiered in one theater in LA in 2003. It was so bad that people were said to be laughing ten minutes into the premiere. It was gone from theaters after two weeks. But, after Wiseau received numerous emails thanking him for making the movie, he began to screen the film once a month at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theater in Hollywood. The film quickly gained cult status, with audience members interacting with the film, much like at screenings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Taken less seriously, the film took off.
This film is so bad I almost don’t know where to start. First, I couldn’t take Wiseau seriously as an actor. He is so hilariously bad, often delivering his lines at rapid speed and with either no emotion or too much emotion, that I just found myself laughing at nearly everything he said. He utters nearly all the good quotes of the film. When he yells the line, “You’re tearing me apart Lisa!” I nearly died from laughter.
Second, there are many gratuitous sex scenes. Sex scenes in movies are fine, but when they come off as schlocky as these do, you might want to remove them. You can tell when one comes on because an awful, awkward and corny R&B track comes on to set the mood. It’s as if Wiseau dropped multiple soft-core porn scenes right in the middle of the movie. We get to see Wiseau’s ass numerous times, causing me to wonder if the dude wrote the flick just to show off his ass and fake hump an actress. Seriously, this flick should’ve been a soft-core porno. It’s just that bad.
That being said, goddamn is it hilarious. There’s so much to laugh at in this film. Wiseau is constantly greeting everyone he sees with the phrase, “Oh, hi,” like it’s a fucking surprise. Danielle’s Lisa is constantly jumping quite manically between being a devoted fiancée with a month left before a wedding to an unhappy, scheming shrew that is only living for the moment. Sestero’s Mark is confused as to whom he should be loyal to after Lisa seduces him. He gets to deliver one of the best lines of the movie: “Leave your stupid comments in your pocket!” Haldiman’s Denny is probably the worst thing in the film. He comes off as an annoying adult-kid who is always butting in to Johnny and Lisa’s world, always showing up to see Johnny and wanting to toss a football around. He almost gets murdered in one scene that is never touched upon again. Believe me, I was disappointed he survived.
I’m not sure if you’re ever supposed to feel anything for the characters in the movie. Wiseau’s writing prevents you from really connecting with them. Because of this, the film lends itself to the mocking it gets in the screenings that have given it cult status.
Having finally seen it, I’m glad I got to bear witness to its awfulness. However, I watched it at home by myself. This movie is something that needs to be seen with a bunch of people in a theater with others ready to mock the fuck out of Wiseau and his claim-to-fame. But do yourself a favor and watch it. You’ll laugh your ass off and get to see a piece of cinema history, one of the worst movies ever made.
Wrecked Rating: 1.5 / 5