The Room (2003), or The Smell Of Wonders

7 12 2009

Watching Tommy Wiseau’s The Room is like joining a club where people go to hit each other with Nerf bats and giggle at one another in the dark; I don’t think it’s harmful to either party, but something about it is shameful enough that you need to join a party to do it with another human being. The Room has gained a lot of steam around the Internet, being touted by many to be the worst film of the decade, and possibly OF ALL TIME. And while I’m normally pretty conservative about calling anything [fill in the blank] of all time, The Room, after having seen it, is truly not your average bad movie. This film, created by some weird German clay sculpture of a man named Tommy Wiseau, is aggressively bad, a terribleness that is not of intention, but rather the wonder and unadulterated joy of disastrously compiled human error; mistakes piled on top of hilarious mistakes from each member of the cast and crew combining hilariously into this amalgam of awful that passes up so-bad-it’s-good, flies by so-bad-it’s-bad, and lands smack dab in the middle of so-bad-it’s good after making a wrong turn the first time.

There’s really not that much to talk about as far as the plot. It’s stretched so incredibly thin over the course of 90 minutes, it really only has about 30 minutes worth of plot to work with. Basically, Johnny is the greatest guy in the whole world. He’s getting kids off of drugs, paying for much-needed college kid tuitions, providing for his future wife, Lisa, and stays close with his guy friends in the process. He’s a wonderful guy, even though he looks like a convicted serial killer, and he does everything he can for the people in his life. But future wife Lisa doesn’t care. She’s tired of him. He’s boring, and sometimes he hits her. Well, he doesn’t, but it doesn’t matter because she doesn’t want to talk about it. Anyway, she needs somebody new. Somebody like Johnny’s best friend Mark. He’s your average, unassuming guy who wants to be a good friend to Johnny, who’s just such a great guy. But Lisa’s lust gets the better of both of them, and she gives Mark a nice, hard love-making session. It will be a decision the two of them will wrestle with the rest of the film, and while Mark still wants to be friends with Johnny (because he’s so great!), Lisa starts to dislike and even hate Johnny for no apparent reason. This bitter love triangle can only lead one place, and it won’t be long before Johnny finds out about all these transgressions…

So that takes about 30 minutes, as I said. Well, what’s the other 60 minutes? A lot of pointless filler scenes. A LOT. I’m talking completely useless dialog, repaeated lines and sometimes whole scenes, random shots of San Francisco landmarks and urban settings, at least four gratuitous and overly long love-making scenes (each with their own cheesy Cinemax slow-jam), and a gaggle of what I call “friendship scenes”, which showcase Johnny’s ability to be a good friend to people he seems to know. This all eats into what might have filled an episode of Guiding Light, or maybe an exceptionally weak Twilight Zone episode, but horrifically drags on instead for over 90 minutes. It’s like watching a nasty train wreck befall an extremely long train; no matter how many cars fall off the track, that caboose is nowhere in sight.

Tommy Wiseau seems to be the problem with this production, seeing as how he is the writer, director, producer, and lead actor. There’s not a thing he does not influence in this production. There’s an amateurism to it, a smug, blithe amateurism that envelops The Room entirely. Wiseau writes a movie where he plays a heartbroken and tragic Gary Stu who only wants to help people, but doesn’t really work on the dialog, the editing, the camerawork, the acting, or anything else of import. Hell, I don’t even know if he even took a second look at this movie before he sent it in to the studio! But that paints a very vivid picture to me of someone so egomaniacal and self-centered that he took the role of the super-swell protagonist and built all of the other parts negligently because he just wanted to tell HIS story and HIS dream project. But The Room teaches me categorically if you’re going to make an ego project, at least take your time on it and make yourself look good!

The acting, beginning and ending with Tommy Wiseau, is pretty fucking awful. He has a thick accent from an unidentified European country, and I’m not sure he learned to act in our language yet, because he is unbelievable. Take a quick peek at one particularly tense scene:

Lines like that make me wonder if Wiseau has actually talked to another human being before. It IS a hoot to watch him try to grasp the subtleties of the language though, and his dramatic gestures are quite the pip. And I guess I’m not expecting much, since their fearless leader can barely emote in English, but the rest of the cast isn’t much better. Juliette Danielle is pretty as the evil Lisa, but she has the same “I don’t know what to do so I’ll just do this” mentality as Wiseau. Her body is pretty great, though, which is more than I can say for Wiseau, who looks like a mottled and pockmarked clay automaton underneath his over-sized suits. The best of the bunch was Greg Sestero, who plays best friend Mark. He is oblivious most of the movie, but when he gets into gear, he knows how to act marginally better than the people around him, so he deserves kudos for shaming himself the least! Keep an eye out for the scene where he apparently play tackles someone too hard and they fall to te fround together! Hilarious!

Don’t watch The Room unless you have a sick twisted sense of humor like me. It’s a chuckle-festival that examines both a love triangle and the hubris of trying to do everything yourself when you’re barely good enough to accomplish one thing decently. It’s undoubtedly one of the worst films of the new millennium, and I think that while everyone should see it once, don’t watch it alone. Wait until you have some pals to enjoy it with, because laughs, like friends, are good when it comes to sharing. If you can brave the terrible production that is this incompetent piece of garbage, I would love to hear your comments about it in the comments section. Let me know what you think about it, and until then, I give The Room, 1 overly-long Cinemax slow-jam. You’re tearing me APART, Tommy!

Tomorrow, I check into Out of Africa. Until then!

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One response

10 12 2009
Jenni

I love the flowershop scene….I will never watch this awful acting trash…I say that but yet Ive watched like 10 scenes already on youtube!

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