“You are tearing me apart, Lisa!”
After some internal debate, I’ve decided to review The Room, written and directed by and starring Tommy Wiseau. Now before you freak out, I know this movie is bad. If you don’t know, it is so, so, so bad that it’s become legendary simply for how bad it is. So what’s it doing on this site of classic, essential, or just plain good movies? It’s so bad that it’s actually extremely entertaining to watch. There is no parody movie in existence that so perfectly parodies basic tropes in major movies as this, and this was done with total sincerity. It’s often said of bad but interesting things that they’re like a train wreck; this is like a train colliding with a submarine in the middle of the jungle. It is just so out there and completely inept that you wonder how any of this got put together in the first place. But it’s all there, and it’s immortalized on film, and there’s really nothing else like it.
The plot centers on Johnny, an unintentionally strange man of indeterminate age, who is engaged to Lisa, a young, shallow, impetuous young woman. Lisa decides she’s not in love with Johnny anymore for no real reason, and she decides to seduce Johnny’s best friend Mark, who voices concern but jumps into bed with her anyway. They play football a lot and rehash a lot of the same conversations multiple times. Will Johnny find out? How will he react? How many cringe-worthy sex scenes will they force into this movie?
I did not hit her, I did not! It’s bullshit! I did not hit her! I did not! Oh, hi Mark.
The best thing about this movie (or, more accurately, the worst thing that is so bad that it’s good) is the creator: Tommy Wiseau. Everyone else in the movie is mediocre, but not terrible. There’s even a pretty decent performance by a random drug dealer who’s on screen for about two minutes. But every single thing that Wiseau worked on is complete garbage. It’s like King Midas, but instead of gold, everything he touched just turned to shit. The script, the directing, and his acting performance are all spectacularly bad. Again, it actually functions as a perfect parody of modern film, as if put together by a bad AI who was able to glean certain nuggets of information from watching other movies, but had no idea what they all meant or how to put them together effectively.
Before watching this, I had seen clips, and they were both ridiculous and hilarious—but no clip can really convey how amazing this movie is. Every scene is like that one bad scene that makes you cringe in that movie you kind of like. Every single one. And it’s all thrown at you non-stop for 99 minutes. The sex scenes (there are three in the first 30 minutes of the film) are extremely awkward and set to really bad love ballads. Every time one started, I was thinking, “No! Not again!” But, like a train hitting a submarine in the jungle, you cannot look away and will be talking about it for weeks. I was initially worried that this movie was going to be bad, but hard to get into and hard to finish, like the Star Wars Christmas Special. It’s not. This movie is the special kind of bad that will have you grabbing the attention of anyone in the room and saying, “You’ve got to check this out.”
The Room is a failure on nearly every level, but it is an amazing triumph of the American spirit. We’re always feeding kids these bullshit lines that they can grow up and be anything they want to be, do anything they want to, but Tommy Wiseau actually did it—he made a feature-length movie with absolutely no idea how to do it. Tommy Wiseau is a true American hero and an inspiration for us all. And this movie is fucking hilarious.
If you’re wondering how this movie actually got made, the recent film The Disaster Artist is about the making of this film. I’m actually hoping to do a double-feature movie night sometime in the near future with both of these.
Director: Tommy Wiseau
Genres: drama, indie