The Room (2003)
August 11, 2014 1:03 PM - Subscribe

Cult film club selection for the week: "The Room" is an electrifying American black comedy about love, passion, betrayal and lies. It has five major characters, Johnny, played by Tommy Wiseau is a successful banker with great respect for an dedication to the people in his life, especially his future wife Lisa.

Johnny can also be a little too trusiting at times which haunts him later on. Lisa, played by Juliette Danielle, is the beautiful blonde fiance of Johnny. She has always gotten her way and will manipulate to get what she wants. She is a taker, with a double personality, and her deadly schemes lead to her own downfall. Mark, played by Greg Sestero, is a young, successful and independent best friend of Johnny. He has a good heart, but gets caught up in Lisa's dangerous web and gives in to temptation. This eventually brings him to great loss. Claudette, played by Carolyn Minnott, is the classy, sophisticated mother of Lisa who has had disappointing relationships in her life. She wants her daughter to be married as soon as possible so she can benefit. Denny, played by Philip Haldiman, is an orphan boy, naive and confused about life, love, and friendship. Denny is a very ambitions and also very grateful tot he people who are in his life. "The Room" depicts the depths of frienships and relationships in one life and raises life's ral and most asked question: "Can you ever really trust anyone? Enter "The Room" and leave forever changed!
posted by maxsparber (37 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
When I first saw this (after suffering through that awful, awful sex scene in the beginning) I thought that the story would hinge on Denny's fascination/reverence/stalking of Tommy and Lisa. I remember thinking, ho hum, another awful Lifetime movie-of-the-week.

BUT NO! It just careens from plot point to plot point, like a drunk navigating sport bars in the Marina. Actually, that's not fair. Drunks tend to know where they're going.

I don't think Wiseau has ever been in a bank, let alone know what it's like to work in one.

Greg Sestero is the only adequate actor in the cast, although I think Juliette Danielle should get an Oscar just for refraining from retching as Wiseau paws her repeatedly.

Next time I'm in the City I'm going to borrow one of my husband's suits so I can retrace Tommy's route as he moodily and rumpledly wanders about town.

I'm waiting on tenterhooks for Tommy's new sitcom.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 1:40 PM on August 11, 2014


Oh, hi!
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:18 PM on August 11, 2014 [4 favorites]


I haven't watched The Room yet, because I'm in the middle of reading The Disaster Artist and I want to be able to appreciate what I'm watching fully, since it sounds like everyone involved other than Tommy deserved hazard pay for their involvement.
posted by rewil at 4:07 PM on August 11, 2014


The Rifftrax for this one makes it a lot easier to take.
posted by tomboko at 4:35 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


I might have to go the Rifftrax route myself. I have started and stopped the movie twice so far. It is probably great to laugh at with friends, but trying to muscle through it alone is not easy. Attempt number 3, tonight!
posted by Literaryhero at 5:39 PM on August 11, 2014


If you want a drinking game to go along with it, Literaryhero, here's a quick one from the top of my head. Drink every time that:

you see a picture of a spoon
someone throws a football
you hear 'oh hi!'
someone says something serious and the other person completely downplays it or changes the conversation
there's a gratuitous shot of the city
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:45 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, I need to warn everyone on this thread, for the love of fsm, do not ever drink scotchka.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:46 PM on August 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh god are you guys really watching this? Why not just hook Foodfight up to your BRAIN
posted by JHarris at 5:53 PM on August 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Oh god are you guys really watching this? Why not just hook Foodfight up to your BRAIN

Stop!. Stop fighting, guys. YOU'RE TEARING ME APART (Lisa)!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:57 PM on August 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


If you want a drinking game to go along with it, Literaryhero, here's a quick one from the top of my head. Drink every time that:

you see a picture of a spoon
someone throws a football
you hear 'oh hi!'
someone says something serious and the other person completely downplays it or changes the conversation
there's a gratuitous shot of the city


I actually saw it in the cinema, last year. There were rules.

- Every time you saw a picture of a spoon, you had to throw plastic spoons at the screen while screaming SPOOOOON!
- People feigned walking out in disgust during the 'sex' scenes. Lordy, but that fountain has had a hard life.
- Every time there was a gratuitous pan across a bridge, people would shout 'GO GO GO GO GO' as if encouraging the cameraman to make it to the end of the bridge, and groan in disappointment if he didn't.
- BECAUSE YOU'RE A WOMAN! - bellowed as appropriate.

Why yes we were drunk why do you ask?

Ah, and here are the rules.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:05 PM on August 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this movie is better experienced with a trusted friend to talk you down during the rough bits. Which is all of it.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:33 PM on August 11, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh! I forgot Chris R! He's the best random drug thug ever!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 6:38 PM on August 11, 2014


I OWE HIM SOME MONEY?
WHAT KIND OF MONEY?
I OWE HIM SOME MONEY!
IT DOESN'T MATTER!
WHAT KIND OF MONEY?
WHY DO YOU NEED MONEY?
IT DOESN'T MATTER!
I BOUGHT SOME DRUGS!
WHAT KIND OF DRUGS?
WHAT KIND OF DRUGS?
WHAT KIND OF DRUGS?
WHAT KIND OF DRUGS?
WHAT KIND OF DRUGS?
WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?
IT DOESN'T MATTER!
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:44 PM on August 11, 2014 [7 favorites]


Many years ago, I was watching Adult Swim waiting for . . . whatever show I was waiting for to start at midnight. Instead, they started playing The Room as an April Fool's joke. I'd never heard of the movie and had no idea what was happening. I watched a good hour of it, waiting to see if the channel would finally play the show I was expecting. It just kept getting weirder and weirder!! I really feel like I have never recovered from that hour of confusion.
posted by leesh at 7:17 PM on August 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Every time you saw a picture of a spoon, you had to throw plastic spoons at the screen while screaming SPOOOOON!

The Tick never did anything to deserve such mockery. He's only nigh-invulnerable on the outside, you know.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:41 PM on August 11, 2014 [3 favorites]


Every time you saw a picture of a spoon, you had to throw plastic spoons at the screen while screaming SPOOOOON!

So is this turning into the post-millenial Rocky Horror? Midnight showings where all the weird alterna-kids show up dressed as characters and yell at the screen and throw stuff?
posted by Naberius at 6:51 AM on August 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Yup. There are interactive showings about once a month here in Austin I think.
posted by tofu_crouton at 7:43 AM on August 12, 2014


The test results came back. I definitely have breast cancer.

*boop*
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:41 AM on August 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


I highly recommend reading The Disaster Artist. It adds a whole new layer of WTF to this already beautifully nonsensical movie.
posted by Librarypt at 10:44 AM on August 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh, The Disaster Artist sounds amazing.
Sestero, an aspiring actor, first encounters Wiseau in an acting class. Sestero is at first bewildered by Wiseau's over-the-top acting technique, his unusual physical appearance, his unidentifiable accent and his eccentric behavior, which includes a fascination with all things American and a refusal to discuss his past. At the same time, Sestero admires Wiseau's genuine enthusiasm for both life and acting. The two form an odd but affectionate bond as Sestero begins to learn of the many contradictions of Wiseau's personality.

As Sestero slowly accrues more acting credits, Wiseau begins to grow jealous and schemes to earn similar acknowledgement (such as earning a SAG card by producing and starring in a commercial for a company he himself owned). After viewing The Talented Mr. Ripley for the first time, Sestero is struck by how similar Wiseau is to the title character. When Wiseau watches the film, instead of recognizing himself, he becomes obsessed with creating a movie as powerful with similar themes. The result is the screenplay for The Room, which includes a character, Mark, named after actor Matt Damon (whose name Wiseau has misheard).
...

Oh hai doggie.
You're my favorite customer.


And The Room Soundboard.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:04 PM on August 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


tomboko: The Rifftrax for this one makes it a lot easier to take.

Yes, if you are going to experience this for any reason, watch it with Rifftrax. There's even a story arc about DisembAudio and his friends to distract you from the terrible sex scenes.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:11 PM on August 15, 2014 [2 favorites]


I've never actually seen the RiffTrax of The Room. Unfortunately the movie has such a reputation with my friends that I never get to see it with anyone anymore. (It's a sad, boring life in Brunswick, GA.)
posted by JHarris at 12:27 PM on August 15, 2014


From The Disaster Artist: "Your dog, is it real thing?"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:53 AM on August 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


So, how does this cult film club thing work? Is it an internet watch-along? Is it like a support group where we all share how Tommy Wiseau has harmed us?
posted by JHarris at 8:28 PM on August 16, 2014


JHarris, we just all watch individually and talk about the movies at a set time. If you check Fanfare Talk there is a post detailing the next couple weeks. Next Monday is Pink Flamingos and the following is Zoolander. And uh, ugh, The Room and Pink Flamingos back to back? They are both so hard to watch...
posted by Literaryhero at 8:31 PM on August 16, 2014


Ok so I finally managed to watch this after a few tough false starts. Let's see...the whole movie is like a terrible porno but with the hardcore stuff removed. The sets look like porn sets, the actors act the way you expect porn stars to, and the dialogue is ridiculously bad. The sex scenes there are in this movie are painful, but the music is hilarious, so I didn't fast forward.

Basically the whole movie is the standard outcast's fantasy. I will do everything the right way, while everyone around me is a terrible person, but they won't realize it until it is too late. When I am dead/gone/whatever, all those terrible people will finally realize how great and important I was. Everyone else is so selfish, but Johnny is always acting like the better man, even when he flies off the handle he is quick to apologize or whatever. Pretty ridiculous, childish fantasy stuff, which brings me to my interpretation.

Johnny doesn't actually exist, he is a figment of Denny's imagination. Denny is in love with Lisa but she is with Mark. They all live in the same building and Denny has the second standard outcast fantasy, specifically the one where everything falls apart in some extremely unlikely yet specific way so that everyone is left helpless, but the outcast just so happens to have the exact skillset to become the hero and save the day.

So Denny imagines this whole story about Johnny, taking him under his wing and mentoring him, of course Mark(his main competitor for Lisa's affection) is the bad guy who screws everything up. Because Denny is young, he envisions Johnny as an older, more mature version of himself who is with Lisa before Mark steals her. This pushes Johnny to suicide, Mark to ditch Lisa, and conveniently Denny is right there to console Lisa in her weak time, they fall in love and BAM, fantasy complete. Unfortunately the film didnt have the budget to film the final scene of Denny's wish fufulfillment, so it is a bit confusing.

This explains all the weird football stuff, the terrible dialogue and the gross sex scenes. It is the way a stunted 18 year old boy envisions the world of adults to work. No?
posted by Literaryhero at 8:45 PM on August 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Hm. I've been trying to think of ways to continue the Mystery Science Theater 3000 posts that wouldn't be so beholden to the vagarities of timing, YouTube and Syncvideo. Maybe I should consider doing it like this?
posted by JHarris at 4:12 AM on August 17, 2014


Ok so I finally managed to watch this after a few tough false starts. Let's see...the whole movie is like a terrible porno but with the hardcore stuff removed. The sets look like porn sets, the actors act the way you expect porn stars to, and the dialogue is ridiculously bad.

Good, bad; these are not useful concepts when discussing this movie. I have told people -- using a well-known franchise to illustrate this -- that there are good movies (Alien, Aliens), there are bad movies (Alien^3, Alien Resurrection), there are movies so bad they circle back round to good (Alien Vs Predator) and movies so bad they are painfully dismal (Alien Vs Predator: Requiem). The Room is in this weird fifth space where quality is orthogonal to the movie experience.

Why the tuxes/footballs/lingering pans across the Golden Gate? Why does Peter vanish and Steven appear to pick up his thread? What is up with Chris-R/the cancer diagnosis/Claudette's mortgage/Mark's vanishing beard? As with jazz, if you have to ask, you ain't never gonna get it.

This explains all the weird football stuff, the terrible dialogue and the gross sex scenes. It is the way a stunted 18 year old boy envisions the world of adults to work. No?

Some have offered up the suggestion that Wiseau is an extraterrestrial who observed human behaviour by monitoring broadcasts for three days and has extrapolated everything from that. If he is indeed human, The Room works weirdly at a Ring Lardner level of characters who reveal much more about themselves than they think they are, although in this case, the character is not in the constructed world of the narrative but in the world we live in.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:12 PM on August 17, 2014


The latest on Tommy Wiseau!
"Screening The Room midnight eliminated crime in America," he said, unknowingly drawing blood from me. "Look at how many young people—you been young, I mean we still young, whatever—go in the street, you know, walking on the street, nothing to do, go see The Room,have fun. Let's assume you don't see The Room, you don't have The Room, you walk on the street, grab the rock, and by accident you hit somebody, you know? Accident happen, get 'em arrested, go to jail, whatever. Instead, you see The Room. So high probability crime, high probability…you know what I'm saying?"

I mean, I recognize all of those words, yes.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:49 AM on October 6, 2014




Tommy Wiseau: AMA (Reddit)
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:29 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


(Victoria, the Reddit employee tasked with typing Tommy's answers, does it in his voice. It's a-maaaaaazing.)
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 3:32 PM on March 17, 2015


The weird thing is, I kind of like Wiseau now, in a Roger Corman kind of way. I mean, it doesn't make The Room any easier to watch, but it's still easier to get through than anything Michael Bay has done.
posted by JHarris at 8:11 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't have Hulu, and I don't want to join just to watch The Neighbors, but man oh man am I curious.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 9:34 PM on March 17, 2015


That AMA is glorious. Is he playing a part? Is he really incapable of making sense? Did he understand any of the questions? Underwear with secret pockets? Mind blown.
posted by Literaryhero at 5:53 PM on March 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Rifftrax performed The Room live in NY last night for the Tribeca Film Festival. Best one yet; they knew when to riff and when to stand back and let the movie speak for itself.

Run, do not walk, to see this on May 6th.
posted by dr_dank at 6:33 AM on April 18, 2015 [1 favorite]




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