Thursday, August 17, 2017

#2,411. The Room (2003)

Directed By: Tommy Wiseau

Starring: O'Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Juliette Danielle

Tag line: "Can you ever really trust anyone?"

Trivia: The film's editor tried to convince Tommy Wiseau to cut the shot of his naked ass from the movie, on the grounds that the sight of it scared his wife

A few days ago, I took issue with those who believe that Menahem Golan’s 1980 musical The Apple was the worst movie ever made. Having just seen The Room, a drama / romance written and directed by Tommy Wiseau, I’m even more confident that my defense of The Apple was justified.

In a world where The Room exists, how can anyone believe there’s a movie worse than this 2003 train wreck?

Johnny (Wiseau) is a great guy. He has a good job with the bank; is paying for Denny (Philip Haldiman), a local neighbor boy with no family of his own, to go to college; and he treats his fiance Lisa (Juliette Danielle) as if she was an angel, buying her flowers and gifts for no reason other than to show that he loves her. 

But Lisa no longer has feelings for Johnny, and is considering breaking off their engagement. Lisa’s mother Claudette (Carolyn Minnott), tells her that she’s lucky to have a guy like Johnny, and should marry him anyway. Lisa, however, thinks differently, and to escape the boredom that has become her life she seduces Johnny’s best friend Mark (Greg Sestero). 

At first, Mark wants nothing to do with Lisa, but soon the two are lovers, and know full well that if Johnny ever learns the truth about them, it will break his heart.

Set in San Francisco (I figured that out around the 100th time the movie cut away to a random shot of the Golden Gate Bridge), The Room is awful on so many levels. For one, its characters do the most bizarre things; early on, when Lisa is modeling a sexy new dress that Johnny bought her, Denny walks in and tells Lisa she looks great. Johnny and Lisa then excuse themselves and head upstairs to make love, and for some reason, Denny thinks it’s a good idea to follow! Johnny tells Denny, ever so politely, they want to be alone, to which Denny replies that he “likes to watch them”.


Well, Denny does eventually leave, and it’s a good thing, too, because if he stuck around to watch Johnny and Lisa do the nasty, it would have likely put him to sleep; there are no fewer than four sex scenes scattered throughout The Room, each as boring as the last. And despite his claims that he is a classically trained actor, Tommy Wiseau is dreadful in the lead role (with his thick Polish accent, I admit I had some difficulty understanding him at times). The rest of the cast isn’t much better, but Wiseau’s wooden portrayal of the saintly Johnny will literally leave you speechless.

When it comes to the film’s dialogue, “speechless” would have been a definite improvement. 

Lisa is forever telling her mother, as well as her friend Michelle (Robyn Paris), that she doesn’t love Johnny, and is cheating on him with Mark. But when they question her further, an annoyed Lisa says she “doesn’t want to talk about it” (even though she’s the one who brings the subject up. Every… single… time!). 

Not to be outdone, Johnny and Mark take a seat in a small café, and while enjoying some hot chocolate they discuss a new account at Johnny’s bank, which will bring in a lot of money. Then, out of the blue, Johnny asks Mark, “How is your sex life?

There are whole sequences that are equally bewildering, like when Denny is threatened by drug dealer Chris-R (Dan Janjigian), who puts a gun to the poor boy’s head, demanding payment. Johnny and Mark intercede, dragging Chris-R off to jail while Lisa and her mother console Denny and ask him what drugs he’s using. It’s a very dramatic scene, but this plot line goes no further than that (neither Chris-R nor Denny’s drug habit are ever mentioned again). 

In addition, characters that appear early in the movie are eventually replaced with different actors (at the outset, Michelle is dating Mike, played by Mike Holmes, but when they throw Johnny a surprise party, presumably a day or two later, she’s with another guy). 

Also, who taught Johnny, Mark and Denny how to play football? All they do is toss the ball back and forth, often underhanded, and standing only a few feet away from one another!

But here’s the thing: I loved The Room

Loved it! 

It’s been years since I laughed this hard. The Room isn’t just “So Bad It’s Good”; it’s the granddaddy of hilariously awful movies, and has joined the ranks of Plan 9 from Outer Space and No Retreat, No Surrender as one of the all-time Best “Worst” films ever made.

And I can’t wait to watch it again!

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