Last weekend I saw a movie. It wasn't a regular movie, you see. This film has been called everything, from "The Citizen Kane of bad movies", to "the best worst movie ever made", and let me tell you, the people who called it that are probably right. Never before has a movie so awful got etched so deep into my mind that I can't stop quoting it, I can't stop thinking about it, and I need to exorcize that, so I'm writing this review. I need to get it out of my system.
That movie, my friends, was Tommy Wiseau's magnum opus The Room.
Tommy Wiseau, a man with hopes and dreams of breaking through in the movie business, managed to somehow gather 7 million dollars and actually direct a movie from a script he wrote himself. He not only wrote and directed this movie, no, Tommy, as a true jack of all trades, also starred, produced and executive produced. Where he spent the 7 million dollars filming this turd is what I'd like to know, because this movie looks worse than most of the low budget horror movies I watch, and those are made with a few thousand dollars at best. This one was made with 7 million. It baffles me.
Another interesting thing about Tommy Wiseau is that no one seems to know exactly where he's from. He claims to be American, but his accent is as thick as they come (someone described the way he sounds as " like Borat trying to do an impression of Christopher Walken playing a mental patient" and that pretty much hits the nail in the head). Some people speculate he's actually from somewhere in Eastern Europe, but no one knows. The man is a mistery!
Now, on to the movie itself. The Room is a filme about a saintly man called Johnny (played by Tommy Wiseau) and his beautiful "future wife" Lisa (they never use the word fiancée, it's always "future wife" or "future husband"). Johnny is beloved by everyone, he is the kindest of men, has a successful career (something about the bank business... it's never really clear what exactly is it that he does) and showers his future wife with gifts and attention (saintly as he is though, I bet you'll be creeped out by him. His strange accent, hulking figure, and face that is a mix between Fabio and the melting Nazis from Indiana Jones, all blend together to form an avatar of creepiness that you'll start seeing in your nightmares). Lisa, for some incomprehensible reason, decides she's had it with Johnny and procedes to seduce his best friend Mark (don't worry if you don't get he's "Johnny's best friend" right away, they'll remind you of that fact every 5 minutes). This treacherous back-stabbing sends them, and everyone they know, into a spiral of drama, nonsense and hilarity so incredibly poorly acted, scripted and directed that you'll wonder just what the hell you are seeing.
Don't worry, that's perfectly normal. At first you might think "Oh my god, I am definitely going mad, no movie can possibly be this bad", but no. I reassure you, your sanity is untouched. The movie really is astoundingly bad. Let's break down some of the things that are deeply wrong with The Room:
- Tommy Wiseau is easily the worst actor I've ever seen in a movie (and keep in mind I did see that abomination with Britney Spears). It's not just because of his accent and his haunting face - his delivery is unbelievable! He chuckles at the end of almost every sentence. He even laughs after his himbo best friend tells him the story of a girl who got beat up so bad she ended up in the hospital (something that shouldn't be funny at all). Also, he (and everyone else) seem to greet everyone as if they were LOLcats. When someone comes in the room, it's "Oh hi Lisa!", "Oh hi Mark", "Oh hi Denny", and so on and so forth (there's even a bit where he greets a dog by saying "Oh hi doggie!"). He has the most hilarious line in this film, the line that everyone knows, which is "YOU ARE TEARING ME APART, LISA!!". In this scene we see how badly this man wants to show emotion, and how much he fails.
Art by Fernando Lucas
- Lisa, the female lead, is always being called "beautiful", "sexy" and generally being worshipped as some kind of beauty goddess, but she's average at best. I mean, I'm not one to talk, but it's so exxagerated that it becomes hilarious. She has her hair colored in this unnatural shade of blonde, yet her eyebrows remain dark brown, and her neck seems to have this weird bulge sometimes when she talks. She's definitely a strange character. When engaging in conversations, Lisa commonly brings up subjects that, when asked more about, she claims to not want to discuss. It's always "I don't want to talk about it", or "It'll be fine". Lisa's mother drops by every god damn morning to have annoying quick conversations that never lead anywhere. The most famous part is when she does what would normally be a shocking and life-altering revelation, when she tells her daughter: "Well, the test results came back - I definitely have breast cancer". Lisa doesn't even bat an eyelid, says "It'll be fine", and the subject is never adress AGAIN.
- Denny, Denny, Denny. Denny is a huge enigma in this movie. He's sort of Johnny and Lisa's man-child neighbor. We know he's an orphan and that Johnny, angel on earth that he is, got him an apartment right next door and is paying for his college tuition. What a kind heart! Despite the fact we are told that Denny's in college, it's open for discussion if he has some kind of mental problem or not. He certainly looks and sounds as if he has one - he acts like a 5 year, despite being 18 or over - but we're never told anything that leads us to believe that. One of the creepiest moments of the movie is right at the beginning, after Johnny comes home from work with a new red dress for Lisa. She tries it on, and who should drop by but jolly boy Denny, who claims she looks very sexy. Johnny and Lisa then try to kick him out so they can go practice the horizontal tango, but Denny apparently can't take a hint. He sticks around, picks up an apple, and then sneaks into Johnny and Lisa's room, jumps in the bed with them and then, when try to kick him out again, he drops this bomb: "I like to watch you guys!". Way to go, sleazy perv Denny. Instead of being disgusted and horrified, Johnny and Lisa just laugh and push him out the door. And then... oh god, then...
- The soft-core sex scenes. Yes, there are 4 unnecessarily long, incredibly cheesy, horrifiyingly shot sex scenes in this movie. They are the worst thing I've ever seen. Afterwards I felt like washing my eyes with soap. Naked Tommy Wiseau is quite a vision. He's strangely muscular, but he just looks frightening, like Frankenstein's monster. I don't know if it seems that his muscles are in all the wrong places or what, he's weird. And then there are prolonged shots of his naked ass when he's humping what's, apparently, Lisa's belly button (all I know is he's not doing it in the right place). Terrifying. As if this wasn't enough, all the sex scenes have this horrendous R&B soundtrack. These are the cheesiest damn songs you'll ever hear and they'll make you want to vomit, be warned. The sight of Tommy Wiseau's ass combined with the gut-churning R&B songs is a spirit crushing experience, but hopefully you'll be at least laughing hard enough to muffle the sugary disgust of the R&B tunes. There's also a highly amusing sex scene between Lisa and Mark on a spiral staircase. Comfortable! I can't help wondering how she felt with the edges of the stairs lodged between her ribs.
- The dropping of subjects. This movie is constantly bringing up problems and issues that never see any kind of resolution and instead are immediately dropped. I understand that Tommy Wiseau probably wanted to adress a lot of society's bigger problems now a days, - like cheating, drugs, cancer, job issues - but he just didn't know where to go with any of it. I already mentioned the cancer bit, but another famous instance is when Denny is bullied by a drug dealer of sorts (who I think was the best actor in the movie). This guy, Chris-R, points a gun at Denny and demands some money, but of course he's quickly subdued by our hero Tommy and his sleazy backstabber "best friend" Mark, leaving Denny to face the wrath and circular dialogue of Lisa's mother. Really, I swear, it's 5 minutes of the same dialogue just going back and forth. She asks what "that horrible man" wanted, Denny says he bought some drugs off him, she asks "WHAT KIND OF DRUGS?", Denny says it doesn't matter, she asks again, Denny says it doesn't matter again, and it goes on ad nauseum until Denny screams "You're not my fucking mother!!", which is a great line in this movie. After this, they all just go to dinner or something, and Denny and his drug problem are never heard from again.
I forgot to mention that there's some rooftop scenes which were very clearly shot with a green screen.
- The downright "WTF" moments, like the tuxedo football - in this one scene, Johnny and all his friends are shown dressed in tuxedos. You'd think it's Johnny wedding day - after all, why would they all be dressed like that in the same day - but it turns out it's not. Apparently the whole gang just likes to tux up once in a while and go out to play football. Yeah, they go to a dirty back alley to throw a football back and forth while dressed in tuxedos. Not to mention this one guy trips, falls and never appears on the movie again (so it's not only subjects being dropped, entire characters disappear suddendly). Also, why are there framed pictures of spoons on the Wiseau household? Why is the tv behind the couch? Why does Lisa's neck bulge? All these are questions left unanswered, and as such will haunt you for a long time.
Well, this is already a pretty long sum up of what goes on in The Room. The movie is incredibly bad, but what's truly astonishing about it is how Tommy Wiseau managed to create not just a mind-bendingly awful movie... but a hilariously entertaining one. You'll be laughing from beginning to end. Tommy is now marketing this movie as a "Black Comedy", but there's no doubt in my mind that he only chose to do so after attending many screenings where he watched people crying with laughter - it's clear when you see the movie that any comedy that's happening is unintentional. Poor Wiseau, he set out to do a deep study of human nature and interactions and ended up with a laugh riot. Well, it's better than nothing, since the movie now has a widely recognized cult status and enjoys several screenings all throughout the USA every month, always with an emphasis on audience participation (it's common to see people throwing plastic spoons at the screen, throwing footballs around, and screaming "YOU ARE TEARING ME APART, LISA!!"). Its popularity just keeps growing, and amongst its fans are people like David Cross, Paul Rudd and Jonah Hill.
I recommend, no, I urge you to see this movie if you have a good sense of humor. If not, you should stear clear, but if you're the kind of person who enjoys the "so bad it's good" kind of movies, you'll have a blast with this one. Trust me.