Movies »The Room

the room tommy wiseauIt's only fair to start this entry off by warning you that The Room is a uniquely terrible “movie” – but it's more than just hilariously bad, it's powerfully infectious and, make no mistake about it, The Room will haunt you long after its 139 minute running time. Weirdman Tommy Wiseau (who punctuates every hard to understand line from, “You wasn't kidding, underwear, I got the picture,” to “Yes, the barbecues chickens was good and the rice,” and, “Anything for my princess,” with his signature forced, eerie laugh), will show up mumbling in your dreams.

Actually, more accurately, after viewing an exorbitant amount of sex scenes scored to porny 1990s R&B (make sure to follow up with this week's song), wherein his filmy, blueish-white body (which looks entirely skin grafted), begins butt clenching and thrusting, it's your nightmares that he'll be showing up in.

Wiseau, whose name appears dozens of times at the movie's intro (including not one, but two poorly executed logos for his company, Wiseau Films), wrote, directed, produced and stars as Johnny in this strange tale about a strange man that everyone seems to love except his fiance, a blonde whiner named Lisa whose biggest achievement in the film was making me want to exercise more.

In a bizarre way, she's actually well cast (if she could have acted at all, and like everyone here, she can't, her portrayal of an underemployed 'computer worker' would not be nearly as memorable), you can really see this woman as the crazy girlfriend of a crazy man – but as a temptress who is “so beautiful” and makes every man fall in love with her with the aid of long “sexy” night gowns? Not so much, unless you harbor latent sexual fantasies about Becky from Roseanne with lots of whore thrown in.

She begins an affair with Johnny's explicitly defined best friend Mark, who kind of reminds me of Spencer without the evil, but if I may say it, even dumber? Like Lisa, Mark is quite a bit younger than Johnny, and the question of exactly how these two are best friends lingers throughout the film.

Age is unclear and disturbing in other characters as well, particularly with Denny (who everyone refers to as Dinny), a man/boy who barges into the first scene with no context or introduction. He's clearly a man, but with his clothes, the way he's treated like a ten year old, and his creepy affected child voice, it's clear he's meant to be a boy – what age boy and with what mental capabilities is not understood. No matter what the answer, it's awkward when he jumps in between Lisa and Johnny before one of their horrible, rose petal accented love making sessions in an attempt to start a pillow fight.

Unlike other plot holes, some of the?mysteries surrounding the origins of the “boy” Dinny are explained, but the answers only confuse matters. He has no parents, he's 18, Johnny wanted to adopt him but instead set him up in his own pad (which lacks butter and sugar) and has paid for his tuition. But if the boy is 18, and Johnny is meant to be the peer of a bunch of twenty-year-olds, isn't Johnny adopting a man just a few years younger than he is?

If you find yourself wondering what happened to Dinny's drug situation or Lisa's mother's breast cancer, I'm afraid you will be left in the dark. Always mysterious as a filmmaker, Wiseau doesn't answer all the questions and follow up all the plot lines he introduces – but he will throw in a long scene at a coffee shop that serves cheesecake and include two different sets of extras ordering before the action begins.

Set design, costumes, lighting, makeup – it's all terrible. Even rooftop scenes are weirdly blue-screened because there was no budget for a real rooftop.

The “film” debuted in LA and ran a billboard on Highland Avenue, it was word of mouth of the true horribleness of the film that has quickly gained its cult status as a midnight movie. Less well known on the east coast, you could have still caught glimpses of it in an episode of Tim and Eric featuring Wiseau or at midnight on April Fools, on Adult Swim. Numerous screenings have swept parts of the country (but to my heartbreak, I just missed a screening in the city) and everyone from NPR to the Times has taken notice of the phenomenon. Any fan of hilariously bad movies who hasn't already become obsessed should take notice too.

See more: Movies

Posted on July 6, 2009

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