Usually I have this column for movies that are great, but are never talked about in favor of those Oscar bait pretentious ones we pretend to love. Our secret favorites.. because they would be to “pulpy” otherwise. However you could look as my guilty pleasures also as bad movies I love. One of these, I have mentioned plenty of times on my blog , I crossplayed as the main guy, we went to special viewings, I haven’t sent mail to the director.. who never sent anything back unfort… and It’s tearing me apart!
A spoonful of horribleness
The Room is a movie directed by the infamous and mysterious Tommy Wiseau and saw a theater release..for three days or so.. in 2003. It is described to be the best worst movie ever and rightfully so. In this movie we follow protagonist Johny (who never gets a last name) who sees his wife Lisa slip into the arms of his best friend Mark after being denied a promotion at the bank. We see a positive and dog loving man, change into a tortured shell of his former self. Trapped in despair…. or at least that is what it seems this movie is about. In actuality I think this is a dramatic retelling of the old TV-Show “Third Rock from the Sun” about aliens visiting earth, because the characters in The Room are far from human. From casually saying they have breast cancer to having sex on your friends couch for no reason at all. All emotions in this movie are crooked and wrong. From moving into a serious talk towards a casual “anyway how is your sexlife” to tossing a football in costume at a very inappropriate event. I think it’s aliens!…Vampire Aliens to be exact.
During the opening credits we see the name Tommy Wiseau pop up a lot. He written, directed, produced and starred in this movie..among other things. The deuteragonist being played by his (former) best friend Greg Sestero. Juliette Danielle playing the female lead and Philip Haldiman complete the main cast. It’s almost completely set in one or two homes , Greg’s and Tommy’s with a few scenes like a park and a flower shop. Yet this movie costed a whopping 6 million dollars to make. Which you never see in this movie. This movie was almost entirely self funded by Tommy and where the money comes from is a big mystery. When you see this movie, you will also wonder where that budget went. This does not look like a six million dollar movie. It looks bad, it sounds bad and the green screen doesnt look ever look right. It’s written horrible, it’s acted atrociously bad and now it also looks and sounds horrible?! How can this movie be good than? Well this is not just a movie.. this is a phenomenon.
A spoonful of mystery
Strictly as a movie, this movie already definitely falls under the “so bad it’s good “ category. Yet to watch The Room like that ..almost feels like a shame. Because there is so much more to it. The best way to watch this movie is to either watch the movie “the disaster artist” soon after, or read Greg Sestero book that movie was based on. It gives this movie a “mystical” quality. How did this ever see the light of day? Two reasons why you can really see Tommy was in over his head are also important reasons why this movie cost so much. Each scene was shot in two camera formats for example. Because Tommy did not comprehend the difference between camera’s he just got both main types and had them running at the same time. Instead of renting these camera’s as is customary in Hollywood he just bought them.
He also rented a billboard to promote his movie..which he ended up keeping for five years..even though movie was not running anywhere during regular screenings. How could he make a movie like that?
The plot thickens when Tommy Wiseau tries to be mysterious about his age and origin. He’s probably polish but he might be from space as well. In this movie we get to take a peek in his mind. How does he see people?! Philip Haldiman who plays Denny for example never knew his character had a mental disability.. while Tommy Wiseau says he written him as that. Suddenly a few scenes begin to make much more sense.. yet his drug abuse scenes suddenly make less sense. Tommy also wanted to reveal his character is a vampire at the end…”He would do this by adding in an effect that Johny’s car would lift into the sky and fly over the San Francisco skyline .. as a closing shot. This action would reveal Johnny’s true nature as a vampire?!…How does flying car say vampire?! Yet somehow I love it. When you see The Room, knowing this .. you pick up little hints to maybe allude to this yet “not really”.You get into his head-space for a bit.. taking you on somebody else’s LSD trip sort of speak.It’s like looking at a molten jigsaw puzzle.. it sorta fits together.. but it doesn’t make a lot of sense.
A spoonful of hidden wisdom?
What does The Room mean? Clearly Johnny and Tommy are the same person, just watch any interview, their mindset is nearly one on one. Tommy Wiseau even talks extensively how fun tossing a football.. a thing Johnny and his fellows do A LOT in this movie. Most of the times it doesn’t make sense. For example in one talk Johnny and his best friend go to the park to talk and toss the football? Like who does that?! That sounds like some 50’s styled utopia..alla fallout minus the nuke. Is there a deeper meaning to the football? Or is it just Tommy bleeding over into Johny?! The alledgeded polack is clearly clever enough to get six million somewhere, so could he really be so alien in this? On set his 400! crew and cast members gossiped about the woman which had scored Tommy to make him write this story…but I do think his Mistress is of another kind. I think his cruel mistress is Hollywood.
Johnny is a man of honest intention, a hard worker who tries his best as is passionate and cheerful. Clearly Tommy sees himself as that person. Lisa tears Johnny apart by feeling he is not good enough for her! She wants someone who can do better.. who has that promotion.. or just something new. I think , Tommy’s Lisa is Hollywood. In the Disaster Artist movie, we see Tommy get rejected by everyone in Hollywood, he could not find a job. Eventually he decided to do it himself. He got fed up with not being good enough for others so he took his faith in his own hand. Just as Johnny wil never be good enough for Lisa .. so will Tommy always be laughed at by Hollywood. Tommy has old values.. so Mark.. are Tommies peers, the younger generation he met in acting class who now outdo him to those jobs. Now I just need to figure out how a mentally disabled drug abusing neighbour boy who wants to join you in the bedroom, and a mother in law who is casual about her breast cancer fit in. To me this movie is about taking control of your own destiny creating your own path and setting yourself free from those who old you back…….that is if I really try to think from Tommy’s perspective though.. when you just look at the movie itself… there is no way that wisdom will show.. nor might it ever have been intended.
A spoonful of charm
As someone who watches bad movies for fun with some friends, this one has something many others don’t. While I clearly laugh at this movie and think it’s ridiculous, there is also something pure and adorable with it. The scene in the flower shop for example… this is actually a flower shop and the woman behind the counter is an actual florist, which is why her line delivery is so bad. The “Oh Hi Doggie” scene never was scripted.. Tommy walked in the store and saw the dog sitting in the back, unnoticed by the rest of his crew because of how silent it was. Fascinated and endeared by the little creature.. to why it was so silent (it was very old) Tommy wanted to put it in his movie. Such an iconic scene from this movie just because of a man taking a liking to a dog at random. There is a sincerity to it.. which does NOT stem from the acting. There is a love for the craft.. and it’s all Tommy. Well him and the role of Claudette, Lisa’s mother. When she tells Lisa about how good of a husband Johnny is and talks about his qualities I can hear Tommy from behind the typewriter going “Hey Hollywood can’t you see this! I am a good person! Love me”! I find that thought immensely endearing.
Seeing how Johnny needed 38 takes from his “I did not Hit her… I did naawwwwt, O Hi Mark” scene in the Disaster Artist makes the scene that much better. “This is as good as it is going to get” feels like the attitude in this movie. This doesn’t feel like a bodged Hollywood project such as Nine Lives or Cats , this is a passion project come to life because a sense of grandeur and the idea that being sincere and yourself would be good enough to enter Hollywood. Never felt I closer to a writer/director putting himself on the plate.
A spoonful of warmth
This is not just a movie about infidelity.. this movie is like Tommy’s hilariously bad resume. It’s like reading a resume in Comic Sans and there it shows “guild leader in Neopets” as leadership experience. Under skills they mention they can recognise tractors by engine sound (while they apply for a grocery store or something). It’s hilariously awful but when you read that resume you know it was made by such a sweet honest person.. that unfortunately is not fit for you. So you laugh and put it at the rejected pile…but that night when your job finishes you go back to home and think about that one resume again.. hoping that person will be off well.. you wish them the best.
The room is the equivalent of watching your own children perform a school musical. The Acting sucks , the sets are cheap, everything is off key, jokes are dumbed down and the writing is stupid and nonsensical. Still when you see your kid.. dressed up as that flower run up on that stage and blurt out their lines all wooden by nerves you still can’t be helped but to feel super charmed by it all. Except for me since I hate kids but meh. The Room is like this. All the stories make Tommy our little baby boy..and there he is on stage… being the best tree he can be with his skills. Somehow he managed to cast himself in every other role as well. It makes the play even worse… but all the more charming. Like the most adorable trainwreck ever.