Horribly Awesome: The Room
There was a time when I would comb the aisles of my local BlockBuster for the films that make angels cry. Desperate for the sweet release of death, I picked up dusty DVDs with covers that would make most children have night terrors and subjected myself to some of the worst movies ever made. Thankfully I’m not quite the masochist I once was and most BlockBusters have shut down, but that doesn’t mean the memories of horrid movies have gone away. Like a veteran suffering from PTSD I lay in bed most nights thinking of weird accents, awkward transitions, and obnoxiously long sex scenes. In a bid to start my tenure here at Mission: Geek with a bang, I’m tackling one of the most hilariously inept films humanity has ever produced: Tommy Wiseau’s The Room.
Who is Tommy Wiseau? I wish I could tell you but it would appear even Tommy isn’t aware. He hasn’t confirmed much about his life, but has claimed to have grown up in New Orleans, lived in France, and hopped between the US and Europe for most of his life. He prefers to be referred to as American, but I prefer to refer to him as ‘French Borat’. Tommy is the Writer, Director, Producer, and Star of this hot mess. But how can one man fund an entire motion picture of his own making? “Importing leather jackets to Korea.” He claims he made $6 million by importing leather jackets to Korea and spent it on this movie. $6 MILLION. Remember this dubious statement as you watch a film that looks like it was edited with two VCRs.
Often described as the Citizen Kane of bad movies, The Room essentially boils down to a love triangle between Tommy’s character “Johnny” (points for originality), his fiancée Lisa and best friend Mark with plenty of pointless characters and excessively long sex scenes thrown in for good measure. Normally this would make for a pretty bland drama, but the inept acting and deadpan delivery of ridiculous dialogue are what turns this turd golden.
The movie opens on stock footage of San Francisco as we see Tommy Wiseau’s name roll across screen several times. Because Tommy is a quadruple threat and can’t be bothered with silly things like ‘fading-in’ and ‘fading-out’, most scenes end and begin with what only be described as the opening of Full House. Johnny comes home from a long day of work to greet Lisa and man-child adoptive son Denny. Not six minutes into the movie we are treated to our first cringe-worthy sex scene. Common characteristics of every sex scene include red roses, awkward laughter, candles, RnB music, sex with belly buttons, and an over whelming urge to stab myself at the sight of Tommy Wiseau’s butt. Three minutes pass and Johnny has fallen asleep, bringing Lisa to the realization that she’s unsatisfied with this relationship. We then shift to a pattern: someone has sex with Lisa, her mother reassures her to stay with Johnny, we’re treated to a pointless scene that goes nowhere, and someone goes out of their way to mention that Johnny could probably cure cancer if he tried. Rinse and repeat. The film hits its climax at Johnny’s birthday party where he and Mark get in a fight over Lisa. Johnny somehow doesn’t realize that they’re fighting because Mark is screwing Lisa. Things end in tragedy when Johnny suddenly gains 20 IQ points, confronts Lisa, and takes the news poorly. Hearts are broken, carpets are ruined, and man-children cry. The film fades to black and we all walk away a little dumber.
Probably the best and worst thing about The Room is its dialogue. Inappropriate laugher in the midst of conversation, poor overdubbing, and chicken noises are commonplace in parallel-universe San Francisco. It doesn’t help the film’s level of ineptitude that the only skilled actors are Lisa’s Mom, armed drug-dealer #1, and Johnny’s psychologist friend Peter (who coincidentally vanishes after 3 scenes as the actor quit half-way through the production).
Make no mistake friends, The Room is a glorious hot mess. Full to the brim with hilariously terrible execution (that has to be seen to believed), I’ve done my very best to restrain myself from quoting all of my favorite lines of dialogue - of which there are many - in order to preserve the experience. Do yourself a favor and find this movie ASAP. Savor the horrendously-awesome awkwardness that persists in every scene and unintelligible mumbling that only Tommy Wiseau’s acting style can deliver.