2/10, or 10/10
Johnny is a successful banker and an all-round wonderful guy and everybody knows this. His fiancee Lisa though, lost her love for him and instead falls for his best friend, Mark. They start an affair and try to keep it a secret, but eventually the truth will come out.
The Room is one of those countless shitty movies that should by all rights have disappeared into movie-limbo, unwatched and unloved. Instead, the weirdest thing happened. It became more than a movie; it became a phenomenon. Please do me a favor and google The Room fan art, or merchandise. Similar to The Big Lebowski, you can now buy t-shirts with your favorite quotes from the film. You can play a flash game about the film too, and the actors have written a book named The Disaster Artist to describe their horrible experience of working on this movie, and especially of working with Tommy Wiseau.
Groups of geeks, hipsters and Hollywood insiders formed a cult following around it and kept the movie in circulation, to the point that it is now drawing exclusive midnight screenings. And this year, Hollywood will produce a film about The Room, named The Disaster Artist (2016), starring James Franco as writer, director and actor Tommy Wiseau, the brain behind The Room.
The success of The Room has two causes: a really high marketing budget that allowed Tommy Wiseau to plaster his sagging face on a giant billboard that stood for 5 years, and the enigmatic character of Tommy Wiseau himself. He is such a strange man, with his long black hair and his suit and his eyes that always seem closed and his dry fake laugh and his unplaceable accent. The fascination with the film and Wiseau as a person has led to long lists of strange facts that you can look up, but his line delivery made every one of his scenes in The Room a classic moment, pregnant with possibility for mockery and emulation.
As for the movie, I don’t even know where to start! How about that scene where Lisa’s mother randomly says “the results are in, I definitely have breast cancer” which is then never brought up again? Or that scene where little Denny is threatened by a drugs dealer named Chris R on top of a roof, but the whole Danny doing drugs subplot is then completely forgotten? Or the explicit sex scenes where the camera lingers on Wiseau’s ass, and the reuse of those scenes later in the movie because the woman felt too uncomfortable to shoot another one with Tommy?
My favorite scene is Tommy buying flowers. It is only a minute long and I encourage you to watch it 5 times on youtube to really let it sink in how much is going wrong in this little scene. The whole sequence of action and reaction is jumbled, where the spoken lines and the actions don’t logically follow one another. Lines are said before they should be, or when they are too late. And the best thing of all is just how Johnny is presented as such a NICE GUY. Everybody loves him.
Or how about that almost every scene starts with someone entering through a door, and Johnny or Lisa reacting “Oh hi Mark” or “Oh hi Denny”, and two minutes later everyone says goodbye again. It is the kind of film you have to see in a group, so that you can all parrot the lines and share a laugh. It drives of the cliff at high speed in the very first scene, where we witness Johnny and Lisa’s relationship. From there, it just gets better.
I award it two points: one for the enigma Tommy Wiseau, and one for the sheer number of WTF moments. The film is like a chimpanzee in a suit: grotesque, slightly hilarious and slightly disgusting, and disguising itself as an actual movie. I am still not sure what the title The Room actually refers to.