and Zero Stars
By Christian DiMartino
I would first like to mention that this is not going to be like my usual reviews, and for a few reasons. One is that I am not really one to dwell on the past, and The Room was released (or rather, unleashed) in 2003. However, what might appear to be most unusual is my star rating listed above. I gave it my prestigious 4-star rating, and my sinister Zero Star rating. How can this be? How can a movie have two ratings? This is… unusual. Yes, it is out of the ordinary. But then again, so is the topic at hand.
There is a small circle of people who have seen Tommy Wiseau’s The Room. A circle that, in the time that I first gave it a go, has expanded. I had been aware of this film for some time, since it is notorious for being perhaps the worst movie ever made. This was made clear. However, what was really never made clear is just how hilarious this film is. Why wasn’t I notified of this?
Believe it or not, I first viewed The Room back in January… and have probably seen it 16 times since. If you have seen this movie, you will have probably one of two reactions:
- You will pray for the end, and hope to wipe the memory of this thing from your mind.
- You will find it so fascinatingly horrible that you will feel enticed to see it again, and you will feel the urge to show it to everyone, in a “You gotta see this thing!” sort of fashion.
I knew watching The Room the first time that this was going to be a film I was going to watch for the rest of my life, and so far, so good. Because while the film is horrible, you will not be able to tear your eyes away from the madness and the ridiculousness and the hilarity displayed in front of you. You may hate it. You may love it. You may love it for hating it. But forgetting it will not be so easy.
But enough about that. So, really, why on earth have I seen this film so many times? Why does this 10 megaton bomb have the cult following it does? Allow me.
The Room is a film that feels as if it were written and directed by an alien who came to earth and decided to take a stab at how humans really interact. Not a single character here makes a believable choice. Their actions seem to come from left field, every time. As for that alien thing, I must take note that Wiseau, who serves as writer, director, actor, and producer, refuses to release where he is from. So maybe, just maybe, I am onto something.
Because The Room doesn’t feel like it was made by human hands. It’s a film that is just so inept. You can probably find better actors in an elementary school play, and you can probably find better production values too. And music. I would say you could probably find more realistic sex scenes too, but that is just a tad too far.
Where do I even begin on the story? Well, I’ll do my best. Johnny (Wiseau) is a creepy, long haired whiny weirdo who appears to have it all: financial stability, a “hot” fiance (Juliette Danielle, a 5 at best. Maybe she’s good in bed I don’t know. They all seem to enjoy it at least), friends, blah blah. Until he begins to see things clearly.
His job- what is he? A banker I guess- is sort of screwing him over. They played him, and he is the fool (lord knows what the hell is talking about). But really the center of the action in The Room revolves around Lisa. She is his life. They have been together for 7 years. He apparently gives her everything… and the tramp has had enough of him. She finds him “boring,” because he’s apparently so put together… even though, as I said before, he’s a creepy, long haired weirdo. It’s strange that it took Lisa 7 years to have this awakening.
Anyways, bored of Johnny, she soon starts seeing Mark (Greg Sestero), Johnny’s best friend. He shuns her… for about 30 seconds before they start boning on the stairs. Yes, the stairs. There’s a bedroom upstairs, where we (horrifically) witnessed Johnny and Lisa doing it the night before. There’s also a couple of couches a few feet away from them. Ah, but whatever, the stairs are the way to go.
Following this, Mark tells her that they can’t do it again because Johnny is his best friend. But I guess that thought didn’t get in the way the first time they slept together, and guess what? It doesn’t get in the way for the rest of the movie. Though they try to make the characters appear to have consciences. Sort of.
So there’s the affair. Johnny begins getting suspicious, and Lisa begins TEARING HIM APART! Oh I must also mention that Lisa’s mother, Claudette has breast cancer. But that’s not important… to any of them really.
Sample of dialogue:
Claudette: Nobody wants to help me, and I’m dying.
Lisa: You’re not dying mom.
Claudette: I got the results of the test back. I DEFINITELY have breast cancer.
Lisa: Look, don’t worry about it. Everything will be fine.
Poor Claudette’s tit cancer is never mentioned again. Oh yes, also, Johnny has somewhat adopted a teen named Denny, who is actually the same age as Lisa. But that’s besides the point. Denny gets into a little mishap involving a drug dealer. But hey, there’s no need to address that storyline. Because it’s barely a storyline.
If you have found my description of the plot jarring, then you will probably find The Room jarring. I love watching this film with other people just to see their reactions. Wiseau has stated in interviews that this film was meant to be a joke. Um, yeah, my ass.
The Room doesn’t work, like at all, and for a plethora of reasons. One of the biggest being that the characters actions, and reactions, are just so puzzling. Lisa tells her mother that Johnny had a few drinks, and hit her, to which her mother replies, “Johnny doesn’t drink!” Ignoring the fact that this guy hit her daughter (which he did NAWT HIT HER!), and continues to urge Lisa to marry him.
Lisa tells a similar story to her friend later on. “He hit you?!” The friend replies. See? More of a logical reaction… that is, until Lisa tells her that she doesn’t want to marry Johnny. The friend is baffled by Lisa’s statement… for some reason.
See what I mean?
There’s a scene in a flower shop that feels not only out of place, but as if the screenplay were read out of order. The way the cameras move give the film a sort of soft-core porn vibe. As does the soundtrack, which features terrible songs that were definitely written for this movie. You will hear the word “hi” at least 1500 times. Why do they keep tossing a football, whether it be in an alley or on a rooftop? Or in suits? Why is it called The Room? Who is this movie meant to be for? Also, none of the characters know how to properly imitate a chicken. It’s a rather CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP imitation.
Yet when the chips are down, and all is said and done, there is really only one person to blame here, and that’s the film’s creator, Wiseau. All of this horrible writing and directing (hell, even producing) is all his fault. And yes, there isn’t a good actor in this film, whatsoever, but the crazy thing is that he is the worst of the bunch. Because not only can he not act, but he has this goofy accent that comes across as the spawn of Kermit the Frog and Count Chocula, and pretty much makes any ounce of dialogue hilarious.
Any moment of “dramatic impact” is sunk by him. In fact, you’ll notice watching the movie that some of the words don’t match up with his mouth, and that’s because he couldn’t remember his lines, and had to dub them back in. Again, he couldn’t remember his own lines. His own lines. Which he wrote. What?!
But yet maybe that’s where the genius of The Room comes from as well. Because part of what makes The Room such a great film is that it is just so disastrously terrible that you can’t help but laugh at it. It is a film that will torture you while you’re watching it, but when it’s over, you can look back on it and laugh like bloody hell.
So, really, if you haven’t seen The Room, I urge you to. I quote the overlooked Paul Rudd comedy, Dinner for Schmucks:
“Ah, yes, it is fun to laugh at the misfortune of others.”
Cruel? Maybe. But you can’t help but laugh at The Room, because you almost feel like it was meant to be a joke. Maybe it was. Maybe Wiseau wasn’t kidding. We may never know. Hell, we don’t even know where Wiseau came from. But I guess I will end it here, and say this: As a movie, The Room is a godawful abomination, but as an experience, it’s simply remarkable. So, yes:
The Room: Zero Stars and 4 stars.