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.