Friday, March 18, 2011

First Place: The Room: Oh hi, Tommy Wiseau!

I am in love with bad movies. When asked to review any sort of media, my mind immediately jumped to one movie – The Room, Tommy Wiseau’s masterfully terrible tale of love and betrayal in San Francisco. Before beginning the review in full, I just want to mention that this movie has absolutely no redeeming qualities. The acting is atrocious, the music sounds like it was stolen from a Renaissance fair, and the sex scenes (of which there are many) cause audiences to cringe in horror. Tommy Wiseau, the director, producer, and lead actor in the movie, cannot direct, produce, or act in any capacity. The movie is incredibly misogynistic; an affair carried out by two of the characters is entirely the girl’s fault and every other woman in the movie encourages her to be manipulative. However, all of these issues barely scratch the surface of the film’s awful-ness.

First, the characters. The main character, Johnny, is a saintly banker who would give up anything to please his family and friends. He is perfect, except for his terrifying dinosaur-like visage. But it’s not like Tommy Wiseau was trying to insert himself into the movie or anything! That’s crazy talk. Anyway, his girlfriend, Lisa, is a horrible bitch who decides to cheat on Johnny for no reason. Mark is Johnny’s best friend, and he is sure to mention that whenever he can. Denny is Johnny’s troubled and creepy adopted son who looks like a 30 year old but has the mentality of a 13 year old. Finally, we have Claudette, Lisa’s mother who helpfully drives home the moral of the story: women are all manipulative whores who are just planning to use you.

The movie opens with Johnny entering a room (The Room, perhaps?) and muttering, “Hi, babe!” It’s important to note here that Tommy Wiseau has an accent that seems to be native to nowhere. Seriously, people have absolutely no idea where this guy comes from. Wiseau himself always dodges the question. Almost every one of his lines in the movie is a jumbled mess of language that almost resembles English. Several of these lines were clearly dubbed over in post-production yet are still unintelligible. Wiseau imitates a chicken at one point by shouting “CHEEP CHEEP CHEEEEEP.” But I digress.

Shortly after this poetic greeting the audience is treated to a prolonged sex scene in which Johnny seems to hump Lisa’s belly button for several minutes. Unfortunately for Johnny, Lisa is unsatisfied with her belly button sex and seduces Johnny’s best friend Mark! Another prolonged sex scene ensues. Afterwards, Mark expresses his regret by denying all responsibility for his actions (“I can’t believe you did that to me!”) and continuing the affair. Naturally, things quickly spiral out of control. Also, everyone plays a ton of football. Football is used in the movie as… comedic relief? Maybe? Or is it something the characters are bonding over? Hell, I don’t know.

What makes this movie even more baffling is the fact that it allegedly cost 6 million dollars to make. How the hell did Tommy Wiseau manage to find all that cash? More importantly, what was it all spent on? It clearly didn’t go to hiring decent actors. Or set design. Or good music. Wiseau himself has never answered either of these questions, although he has alluded to some shady business dealings that somehow involved Korean leather jackets. I’m not making this up.

I know I’ve been tearing into The Room pretty mercilessly, but the movie is actually worth watching if you appreciate crappy films. Every aspect of the film is so poorly made that it constantly falls into the “so bad it’s good” zone. It’s incredibly quotable thanks to the awkward phrasing and awful dialogue. To be honest, I’m such a fan of this movie that I have seen it close to ten times. I can recite most of the movie from memory. The Room has earned a cult following and is truly worthy of that attention. It’s the king of bad movies, but that doesn’t prevent it from being an incredibly enjoyable watch.

--Casey Deres