‘The Room’ introduces the world to Tommy Wiseau and the best bad performance ever

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The RoomTheRoomPoster
Written by Tommy Wiseau
Directed by Tommy Wiseau
USA, 2003

The Room has been referred to as the Citizen Kane of bad movies. This is due to the fact that Tommy Wiseau wrote, produced, directed and starred in the picture, like Orson Welles. Following suit with Welles, Wiseau has likely achieved his magnum opus the first time out as it’s fairly unlikely he’ll be able to top the epic awesomeness of The Room. In fact it’s the adorably cartoonish presence of Wiseau that makes The Room bad movie gold. Looking like a sedated Robert Downey Jr. on a bad day, Wiseau brings a heartfelt and sincere feel to the film in the same vein as the legendary master of all things bad Ed Wood.

The film starts off with a series of shots of San Francisco, which are on par with vacation home videos. Wiseau uses these establishing shots of famous landmarks throughout the film when he cuts from one scene to another. We get it buddy we’re still in San Francisco. After the intro we’re then immediately introduced to the main character Johnny (played by Tommy Wiseau, yup originality runs deep here) his girlfriend Lisa, who he repeatedly remarks is both beautiful and sexy, and their neighbor Danny who acts as a surrogate son of sorts. The playful interaction of the three makes this painfully obvious as they horse around until Danny is asked to leave. Cue the soft-core porn music and one incredible awkward and unsexy love making scene. Don’t worry, there are two or three more of these bizarre moments to come and they’re each like 3-5 minutes long.

tommy WiseauDespite hilariously awkward romance scenes the film also achieves the single greatest inadvertent running gag ever as Johnny greets every character with his heavily accented “Oh Hi (insert name here)”, and when I say every character I mean every single one…every single time. It might not sound like much on paper but after the first 10-15 minutes audiences will start bursting out with laughter and eventually greeting the characters along with Wiseau.

Much of the film centers around Lisa’s numerous infidelities to Johnny and his naive childlike devotion to her. The show stoppers however are the moments when characters have such remarkably blasé reactions to serious scenarios. Lisa has a sit down with her mother who confesses she has cancer. Lisa responds with “Mom, don’t worry about it” (that’s right kids, don’t worry about “cancer”!) and it’s never spoken of again. 

Later Danny is confronted at gunpoint by a drug dealer and confesses to being an addict; Johnny reassuringly replies “Don’t worry about it Danny”. Again, this seemingly significant plot point is never mentioned for the rest of the film. Best scene honors however have to go to Wiseau’s blatant rip-off of James Dean’s iconic “You’re tearing me apart!” line in Rebel Without a Cause.  After spending the entire film in a cheery nonchalant state it’s a hysterically comical burst of emotion.

Spoon

The film has gained cult acclaim over the years and showings of The Room have some audience participation moments akin to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. There’s a framed picture of a spoon (either Wiseau took a picture of a spoon and thought “that’s gold” and framed it or, the far more comical, he saw it on a corner thrift shop and said “I must have that”) which has grown in such infamy audiences throw plastic spoons at the screen every time it makes a triumphant appearance.

So to recap, bizarrely iconic lead character, amateurish cinematography, rip-off of famous movies and easy going approach to life threatening situations. Yup, The Room is the crowned jewel of bad movies of the past decade. Grab your spoons and enjoy an evening falling in love with Tommy Wiseau’s labor of love, hopefully no one walks in during the love making scenes and exclaims “What the heck are you watching?”.

– Matthew Younker

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