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The Room (Pt. 1)

For a long time, the crown prince of “so bad it’s good” cinema was Plan 9 From Outer Space. Ed Wood’s magnum opus was crammed with bad writing, horrible acting and worthless directing. It had a zombie army of three and aliens that looked entirely terrestrial who were acting out some half-baked Hiroshima allegory. Still, as awful as that movie was, at least Ed Wood had ambition. He set out to make a spectacular film centered around a message about humanity’s self-destructive tendencies. He didn’t have anywhere near the talent or the money to make his vision work, but at least he failed miserably while trying to make a great sci-fi/horror epic. That’s far more than I can say for The Room, which failed miserably while trying to make a mini-soap opera.

If you’re among those ignorant/fortunate enough to have never heard of the film, give this a look. That should be proof enough that The Room is a very special kind of bad. The movie — released in 2003 — is the brainchild of lead actor Tommy Wiseau, who also wrote, directed and produced the picture. He is solely responsible for this movie’s failings and there are a lot of them. The acting is non-existent, the camera work is boring and often out of focus, the editing is worthless and everything that can go wrong with the screenwriting does go wrong. Most perplexing of all is that Wiseau raised $6 million to film this picture. Six million dollars to make something that anyone with a camcorder and a dozen friends could’ve made just as easily. If that’s not a sign of Wiseau’s talent as a filmmaker, I don’t know what is.

If you’re wondering what the film is about, I’m not really sure what to tell you. Wiseau himself would probably say that the film is about love and betrayal, how the world would be better off if more people loved each other and how abusing love can lead to disaster. In truth, the film is about Johnny (played by Wiseau, natch) whose fiancee Lisa cheats on him with his best friend Mark until Johnny commits suicide. This threadbare premise is endlessly padded with redundant scenes, inconsequential characters that appear out of nowhere, plotlines that are immediately forgotten and sex scenes that define the word “incompetent.”

The main source of padding is Lisa, who is without hyperbole the dumbest, sluttiest, most transparently evil bitch in cinema history. I know that’s quite a claim, but my point stands until I hear of another female character who would literally have sex with a man over her fiancee’s dead body before the corpse has gone cold. At least half the movie consists of Lisa going on about how she doesn’t love Johnny and trying to seduce Mark in the most awkward ways possible. It really does make you wonder how misogynist Wiseau must be to have created this character.

Additionally, it must be asked why Johnny took so long to figure out his fiancee was cheating on him, since every other character in the movie knows about it. When Johnny’s not onscreen, Lisa is totally incapable of shutting up about it. Of all the people who insist that Lisa should tell Johnny, you’d think at least one of them would have figured out that the bitch needs psychiatric care and telling Johnny behind her back would be the smart thing to do.

I feel that I should talk about Wiseau’s acting, but what can I possibly say? His accent is impossible to place, his style of line delivery shouldn’t be possible without mental damage and he can’t emote to save his life. I’ve seen dozens of accurate impressions, but I’ve yet to see or hear an accurate description. Wiseau is truly one of this movie’s star attractions, since his performance must be seen to be believed.

This is not a good movie in any way, shape or form. And yet, as I said earlier, The Room is a very special kind of bad. Everyone involved is totally incompetent, yet there’s a weird kind of charm in just how sincerely these actors are delivering their shitty dialogue. Everything in this movie reeks of a rather endearing earnestness. What’s more, the film is totally shallow. There is nothing in the film — aside from some impossibly bland nudity — that could be considered challenging or shocking. It’s bad, but not in a way that’s painful to watch.

Thus, we have the fanbase.

One Comment

  1. Ping from The 26th Birthday Gauntlet » Movie Curiosities:

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