The Room

Uhh you guys, I met Tommy Wiseau! Hold on, let’s backup for a second.

I assume if you’re interested enough in movies to be reading my humble blog, you’ve heard of The Room? Just in case, quick recap. Back in the early aughts, a man had a Hollywood dream. Refusing to let that dream be quashed by the powers that be, he sought out to write, direct, produce, and star in his own film. The film would go on to be known as the best worst movie ever made, and it would attain a cult status with midnight screenings and a faithful following of those who would stare in wonder at its over the top spectacle. That film was The Room and that man was Tommy Wiseau. I got to go to one of those famed midnight screenings, and it was a glorious experience.

I don’t even know how to explain what The Room is about. That’s one of its many many issues. There’s no real through story or continuity. At its core, I suppose you could say it’s about betrayal. It focuses on a man named Johnny, who lives with the love of his life Lisa. Lisa gets bored with Johnny and starts cheating on him with his best friend Mark. There are other things that happen, but if they are never mentioned twice in the film, did they even happen?

I think to think of this as the Murphy’s Law of movies: everything that can be bad is bad. We’ve already mentioned the story, or lack thereof. There’s also things like horrible acting, terrible dialog, magically moving set pieces, atrocious music, questionable editing, and pretty much any other issue you could possibly conjur. But that’s what makes the film so charming. Watching it with a crowd who knows to expect all of those missteps is unreal.

If you’ve ever been to a midnight Rocky Horror Picture Show, it’s a very similar concept (sans shadow cast). This isn’t a sit-in-the-theater-quietly type of situation. People are yelling and throwing things and cheering and laughing and having a better time than I’ve ever seen at the movies. Some yell funny one liners that match up with expected dialog. Others yell set phrases and responses whenever something happens. We throw plastic spoons at the screen every time the framed spoon is visible. Oh yes, there’s framed spoons in the background.

As far as the callbacks go, I found this to be far superior than Rocky Horror. If you’re a virgin at Rocky (meaning you’ve never been before) there’s few that you’re able to participate in. At The Room, many are repeated throughout a film or throughout a scene that it’s easy to pick it up. Some examples:
-Every time characters throw a football, alternate between screaming “Male!” and “Bonding!”
-Yell “Water!” every time water is on screen. Most prominent in the opening, but happens at odd places throughout
-Call out to Peter to get his attention during his one scene and try to get him to look at the camera
-Join in with every “cheep cheep cheep” chicken taunt
-Scream “cancer” any time the mom touches someone
-Ask “Who are you?” whenever a new unexplanined character appears
-And for the love of God, will somebody please remember to close the door when they walk into a scene? Maybe they would if they heard how many people were trying to get their attention about it.

I cannot recommend this experience enough. If you’re in LA, the Landmark Regent does these screenings regularly. Sometimes they announce that Tommy will be at a screening. Sometimes he just shows up anyways. I hope to make this a staple suggestion when friends visit town and look for fun things to do. This was just epic.

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