Feature: The Room
This is No April Fools, This Film is Really So Bad It’s Good
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
KPBS film critic Beth Accomando explains how a bad film is making good on the midnight circuit.
You may think you’ve seen bad movies but you haven’t seen anything quite as bad as “The Room” (playing Friday and Saturday at midnight at Landmark's Ken Cinema). Listen to my radio feature about how a film’s badness is turning it into a cult hit on the midnight movie circuit. This is like a car crash that you cannot avoid looking at.
Denny: Still going to the movie tonight?
Johnny: Of course.
Denny: What kind of movie will we see?
Johnny: Ah Denny don’t plan too much it might not come out right.
That’s an understatement. Nothing comes out right in “The Room.” But then that’s part of its charm says Ian Forbes, founder of soberingconclusion.com.
IAN FORBES: It is possibly the worst film ever made but the most fun you will ever see in a theater.
And that’s the conundrum of “The Room.” It’s so very bad that it becomes riveting.
PHIL LUQUE: I went into it thinking there’s no way this film is as bad as other films I’ve seen… but this one took the cake.
PHIL LUQUE; [watching the film] Oh my god? Where did the 7 million dollars go I want a federal investigation.
That’s Phil Luque of the San Diego Asian Film Foundation. He’s seeing “The Room” for the first time on DVD with Forbes as his guide.
IAN FORBES: Wait for it…wait for it…
PHIL LUQUE: Oh my god!
IAN FORBES: It’s funny on your own but when you get someone else there especially if they've seen it before so that they can walk you through the pitfalls of the film and point out every single mistake made which is hard to do because they are coming at you at lightening speed.
In the film, Tommy Wiseau plays Johnny, a man whose girlfriend is cheating on him with his best friend.
Johnny: You are tearing me apart!
Lisa: Why you are being so hysterical?
Johnny: Do you understand life?
PHIL LUQUE: It’s interesting he comes in and he has this gait about him, he kind of has this like walk about him he kind of saunters in a room and oozes creepiness like in milliseconds, he comes in and you go who is the creepy guy with long hair and the suit, then he’s talking...
Johnny: Hi babe.
“The Room” is the creation of actor-writer-director-producer Tommy Wiseau. The film was originally released in 2003. At that time, some audience members walked out but others stayed and some even returned to hurl insults and abuse at the screen. This inspired Wiseau to bring the film back for midnight runs. Now “The Room” has developed a cult following, and Wiseau has tried to repackage it to cash in on the unexpected popularity.
Trailer: The best movie of the year… experience this quirky new black comedy...
IAN FORBES: And the beautiful thing going back to those quotes, what I love most about them is that you'll never see that they get attributed to anybody.
PPHIL LUQUE: Plus you know better. Watching the trailer and it says it’s a riot...
Trailer: It's a riot... You are tearing me apart!
PHIL LUQUE: And the scenes in the movie do not denote riot.
IAN FORBES: The riot happens when you see it with a group and you’re busting a gut laughing over it.
And the midnight shows are a riot so be prepared to miss dialogue as the crowd mercilessly heckles the film and laughter drowns out the movie.
IAN FORBES: In the first couple minutes I was I don’t know if I really want to deal with this much heckling. And then very quickly I was like no, no, no it needs more heckling.
PHIL LUQUE; [watching the film] This completes it.
IAN FORBES: Oh it gets better.
PHIL LUQUE: This is like poop topping on a poop cake.
Wiseau has been known to attend some of the midnight screenings around the country. He seems happy that his film has finally found an audience even though it’s an audience that’s embracing his films for all its faults. Fans of “The Room” enjoy laughing at the shoddy green screen, the astonishingly self-indulgent and uncomfortable sex scenes, and the mind-bogglingly bad dialogue. And if the film alone isn’t enough badness for you, then check out the bonus features on the DVD, including this interview with Wiseau.
INTERVIEWER: Is the room for everyone?
TOMMY WISEAU:No definitely not. As an American I'd like to recommend for all Americans to see "The Room" at the theater and at least twice because the reason for this is that you cannot get it the first time.
If you're planning to attend your first midnight screening of "The Room," here’s a little insider info. Bring a box of plastic spoons and then look for a framed photo of a spoon on a table. Each time you see it, throws spoons as well as insults at the screen. Trust me, badness has never been this good.
Here's the trailer.
Companion viewing: (Seriously, I'm at a loss)