The Room (2003)
It’s not uncommon for movies to gain cult status after a mediocre (if not outright terrible) performance at the box office. The 1999 comedy classic Office Space barely broke even with ticket sales, but is now remembered as one of the best comedies to have come out in the last 15 years. Then you have 2003’s The Room, which Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed, and starred in. The Room is known as “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” but it gained an audience over the years at midnight showings. To fans, it has crossed the threshold of being so bad it was good.
The Room is the story of Johnny (our man Tommy) and his future wife (note the word fiancee is never used in the movie), the supremely evil Lisa (Julitte Danielle). Johnny is a bank employee who is in every way the perfect man, but Lisa gets bored and starts an affair with Johnny’s best friend Mark (Greg Sestero). Hilar–I mean–bad things follow.
The Room is not so much a movie as it is an otherworldly experience. As you can expect, the movie is almost entirely centered around Tommy Wiseau with his vaguely European accent. Tommy Wiseau insists that he is American, but neither Wikipedia nor the Internet Movie Database offer any insight as to from where he originated. It’s fair to say that no matter what, whenever Wiseau said anything, I didn’t believe it. A good chunk of his lines were dubbed over post-production, and whenever he cursed (which was quite often), he sounded like a 5-year-old who had recently learned a new bad word. I think this Tommy montage can do him more justice than I ever could:
At the same time, we have Lisa. Lisa is in every way the unholiest slut to have ever been written into a movie, and she was probably a cathartic way for Wiseau to air out his sexist sentiment, but I don’t know. Every guy in the movie is in love with her, and she loves it. Did I mention that Juliette Danielle was a bit on the heavy side? If her face doesn’t show it, then any one of her 4 (yes, 4) protracted sex scenes in the movie definitely will. I don’t know what was funnier: seeing how Greg Sestero was so uncomfortable filming these scenes (he was a crew tech who replaced the actor originally cast as Mark) that he insisted on keeping his pants on, or seeing how Tommy was just a tad too comfortable with said sex scenes.
The movie also visited subplots but didn’t really attempt to tie them up. There was one where Denny (Phillip Haldiman), the mentally handicapped kid whom Johnny took under his wing, and how he owed a drug dealer some money. Let’s not even go into how Lisa’s mother mentioned she was diagnosed with breast cancer only for the movie to never bring it up again.
Even besides that, few scenes made any sense at all. A leitmotiv of the movie was Denny, Tommy, and whoever else was in the scene at the time tossing a football around. The characters are never more than about 3 feet apart. The best scene by and far was the one where Denny, Tommy, Mark, and Peter (Kyle Vogt) go outside, while dressed in tuxedos, and start playing catch with the same football. Why were they wearing tuxes? Why were they tossing a football while standing so close to each other? The world may never know. Here is the scene:
Even the movie’s main story completely spiraled out of control. There was one scene where, thanks to sloppy editing, I’d swear Mark was literally at two different places at the same time. Lisa just plotted more ways to be evil, while her mother did a complete 180 in her personality from being an upright moral woman to being every bit as manipulative as her daughter.
This whole mess inspired two theories as to why this movie was ever made. One is that Tommy Wiseau comes from an alternate universe where certain things just don’t make any sense. And then there was a rip in the interdimensional border between the realities, and Wiseau sort of slipped through the crack and wound up over here.
The movie cost $6 million to make, which Tommy Wiseau claimed to have come from a South Korean leather jacket importing business, and this backstory leads me to my more plausible theory: The Room was nothing but Tommy Wiseau’s attempt to launder some money he had gotten through less than legal means. I’ll bet even the importing business was a front for something like a drug cartel. There is no way a movie like this could have been made by accident, unless he really is a genius that our world just isn’t ready to comprehend.
Other than that, The Room has done the impossible by overtaking Project X as the worst movie I have seen in the last 6 months. Oh and in case you’re wondering, I don’t know what room Tommy Wiseau was referring to in the title either.