The Room (2003)

Wiseau as Johnny. Men like football, right? Give the man a football.

Wiseau as Johnny. Men like football, right? Give the man a football.

How can I describe The Room without using words like horrible, terrible, misguided, confused? Easy answer: I can’t. It is all of those things and so much more. You think you’ve seen bad movies before? I dare you to wrap your brain around this one. This isn’t simply amusingly bad, this is appallingly awful. So bad, in fact, The Room has a notable cult community surrounding it, which has inspired a video game, a novelization, and midnight showings that have the audience throwing plastic spoons and shouting epithets at the screen.

Tommy Wiseau is the mastermind behind The Room. In addition to writing, directing and financing the film, he stars as Johnny, an impossibly generous banker. Always willing to lend a helping hand, Johnny supports a young neighbor, Denny, as he works towards a college degree.  Johnny not only supports his fiancée Lisa, he also constantly showers her with gifts. It is quite well shoved in the audience’s face that the two have a scorching love affair, until Johnny doesn’t get his promotion, and the fickle Lisa decides she likes Johnny’s best friend Mark much better. Despite pleas from her mother to stay with Johnny because she is clearly unable to support herself, Lisa puts on her tempting red dress and seduces Mark. Lisa’s adultery and Mark’s betrayal set off an unstoppable domino effect which ends in Johnny’s self-destruction.

Stankface, I mean Lisa, is unappreciative and cranky, as always.

Stankface, I mean Lisa, is unappreciative and cranky, as always.

The plot sounds banal enough, yes? But the execution must be seen to be believed. The writing, acting, and cinematography are all so incredibly terrible, one must wonder: what was going through Wiseau’s head as he was making this? The characters are even more one-dimensional than those from an episode of Walker: Texas Ranger. Some pop up virtually out of nowhere, prompting the midnight crowd to shout: who are you?

The Room isn’t actually a movie I can recommend to anyone, though the midnight experience definitely is. No description of The Room can sufficiently convey its outrageously horrible quality. If you are interested enough to see for yourself, what better venue than with 50 veterans? I have seen it in the theater three times, and I am still shocked and confused every time I walk out asking myself: what just happened? Local Washingtonians should check out E Street Cinema for the next showing, and other Landmark theaters proudly play it as well.

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