The Room [2003]


So.  You might’ve heard of a little film called “The Room.”  You might even know that it’s officially  “The Room” Week right now (you should play along–it’s GREAT).  “The Room” been discussed on the “Tim and Eric Awesome Show” and even aired in its entirety on April 1st of this year on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.  It’s a cult film phenomenon!  When Bwana Voodoo of Gorillanaut.com and The Naked Jungle suggested that this might be a film worth my 100 minutes, I was curious.  When Mr. Canacorn of Awesomeness for Awesome’s Sake started singing the praises of “The Room,” I was downright angry at myself for not having watched this movie.

Well, folks–I have watched “The Room” twice now and it’s really everything it’s alleged to be.  Let’s not mince words–it’s simultaneously one of the most earnest and most sublimely stupid films I have ever seen in my life.  It starts off like a practical joke–OK, Bwana and Mr. C talked me into watching a lousy melodrama–ha-HAH–very funny guys.  It looks like I’m spending the next nugget of my life watching some French dude with a funny voice who looks like a romance novel cover that was left out in the rain and his homely fiancee interact with their cadre of increasingly aggravating friends.
But therein lies the rub–I couldn’t tear my eyes away inexplicably malicious Lisa’s attempts to destroy her kind-hearted but quite possibly brain-damaged fiancee Johnny’s life.  I knew I was in for something special (both of the “unicorn” and “short bus” flavors) from less than ten minutes in, at which point I had already been treated to the introduction of one inexplicable character (Denny, Johnny’s man-child ward), an impromptu pillow-fight, and of course Tommy Wiseau’s incredible acting.  By the time the astonishingly downbeat ending rolls, “The Room” had woven its insidious spell in my brain.
This film’s very existence is a beautiful mystery come to life, sort of like if Skunk Ape walked into the middle of a cryptozoology conference and after pouring himself a cup of coffee, decided to do an impromptu Q&A.  “The Room” is a quintessential So Bad It’s Good Movie, with hinkey production values, a sub-normal script and a demented visionary at the helm.  Better yet–that demented visionary has embraced the perception of the film as a “black comedy” and encourages the wacky “Rocky Horror Picture Show” style of screen interaction.
This meant only one thing: I had to share it with Baron XIII.  I was wondering if it might be an infliction of cinema on an unprepared mind, but I was delighted to learn that “The Room” worked its magic on the Baron as well.  After the initial shock of seeing Tommy Wiseau’s “jaundiced and mottled” bottom (twice), the Baron’s brain was in a soft enough state to fully absorb the excellence of this film, and by the time Johnny’s interaction with the florist rolled around, he turned to me and told me that the movie had already packed in TOO MUCH WEIRD.  After that he just kinda gave up and grinned for the rest of the movie.
Comparisons to Ed Wood ring true to me–“The Room” is the product of a man with a vision so strong that only he could properly commit it to film.  Better than that, Wiseau is delighted at his oddball brand of fame, a fact that’s clear in the interviews he’s given.  Don’t believe me?  Then check out this fab-tastic clip of Tommy Wiseau discussing “The Room” on Mahalo Daily.  Even if you haven’t seen the glorious goofiness of “The Room,” you’ll be cheering him on when he says he’s going to produce future films, too!
To me, “The Room” is a prime example of what Mondo 70‘s Samuel Wilson likes to call “cinematic folk art”–there’s a vision there that a man was driven to create, and while it might not have the polish that mainstream cineastes embrace, there’s no denying that the joy this movie brings is something marvelous.

9 thoughts on “The Room [2003]”

  1. Oh man. I HAVE to see this. I mean, just looking at Tommy Wiseau tells you this is going to be a catastrophe of delightful proportions.

    Side note: AAARRRGH you mentioned “Tim & Eric” in the first paragraph JUST to imagine my eyeballs bleeding out of their sockets and me writhing in douche-chill convulsions on the floor, yes? 😉

  2. Knarf Black–this one is worth putting on the SAVE list! Hopefully it’ll be put back into rotation at Netflix if enough folks save it. Barring that, I bought my copy and have found it to be a great movie-night investment.

    Costuminatrix–prepare to have THE ROOM inflicted upon you at the earliest convenience. You and TofuGirl are gonna DIG this, trust me. As to “Tim and Eric,” I had to get that out of the way early, knowing your…erm… aversion to them. It’s like tearing off a band aid–gotta do it quick!

  3. God damn it, Kate. The Film Fiend’s review of it made me take notice, but this review is the final nail in the coffin, so to speak. I guess I’m going to have to check it out now.

  4. Thanks for playing, TK…and thanks for the plug! An excellent write up as usual!

    What I love about THE ROOM is that it’s never boring….no matter where you turn it on there is always something totally awesome happening. Seriously…just pop the dvd in a pick a random scene…it’s amazing.

    I still haven’t seen Tommy’s appearance on T&E…to the Netflix!

  5. Glad I could help twist your arm, Cinema Suicide! I’m really eager to hear what you thought of this oddball little offering.

    Thanks for setting this up, Mr. C. I had a blast reading your thoughts on the film–kudos for playing it through for the ENTIRE week. That’s a helluvan accomplishment, sir. You are SO right about “The Room” never being boring. Just when you think you’re wrapping your brain around what’s *supposed* to be going on, something new happens, right up to the very end. Crazy…! Also, I am STILL green with envy over your evening with Tommy Wiseau. Wish I could’ve been there!

    Brian, you’re so right–the interview with Tommy Wiseau is absolutely essential to enjoying the movie. He’s so good-natured and clearly enjoying his offbeat brand of fame. What a character!

  6. The more I read about this film he more I want to see it.

    It reminds me of my favorite bit of ‘cinematic folk art’ called POINT OF TERROR. Yes the title might suggest a horror film but what you get is pretty much the plot of THE LONELY LADY but with Greg Brady playing Tom Jones in the lead instead of Pia Zadora.

    When I first saw this film I was home alone with the flu. I fired up the DVD player and instead of a scary movie I got this;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsUFBEnW1nc

    If you do ever catch the film I’d love to hear what you think of it.

    Oh and nice to meet you.

  7. Oh, hi. I finally watched this. It is enthrallingly awful. I have so many questions. I won’t ask, as they are rhetorical, but it is so confusing… I never once wanted to turn it off.

    Pardon the semi-coherence. The Room is a hell of a drug.

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