‘The Room’: A film that is awfully good



There are not many men in this world like Tommy Wiseau. His attire ranges from ill-fitting tuxedos to cut-off shirts with adjustable length khakis and too many belts. His life and his past are shrouded in mystery. And above all, he is the creator of one of the most anomalous films to be dreamed up by a human being.

The film is “The Room” and by all accounts it is the worst movie ever made. Indeed, it is the all-encompassing, top to bottom awfulness that gives “The Room” its charm.  The acting is terrible, the story makes no sense and the camera work would be laughed out of a high school AV club. The original soundtrack is equally atrocious and featured prominently throughout the film’s four tedious sex scenes.

It would seem as if such a description would hardly warrant a film recommendation. Especially not six years after its original release. Yet there in lies the genius of Mr. Wiseau. The man who assumes the role of director, producer, writer and lead actor conjures magic in every scene. Indeed, the power of Wiseau’s vision is so great that monthly showings of “The Room” have become one of the more popular, and certainly one of the most interesting, things to do on a Saturday night in Hollywood.

At the strike of midnight on the last Saturday of every month, Hollywood’s Sunset Laemmle transforms from a simple independent movie house to a five-screen tribute to “The Room.” With a powerful energy running through the air, moviegoers patiently await their champion.

Some first time viewers stand visibly nervous, unable to process their surroundings. Other veterans stand patiently, some in costume to honor their favorite character and others throwing around footballs in observance of Tommy Wiseau’s inexplicable love of the American sport.

Just before 12, the restless crowd’s patience is rewarded. Emerging is their hero, with a wide grin pasted on his face and a glimmer in his eye. Tommy Wiseau’s presence is a thing to behold. Nobody seems to know his history, his ethnicity, or the workings of his mind, but none of that seems to bother the cheering masses as they pose for pictures and yell lines from the film.

However, as first timers quickly learn, this first sighting of Wiseau in all his glory is only a taste. The real magic happens moments later as people file in, grab some snacks and settle into their seats. Veterans grab hold of their cache of plastic spoons, the purpose of which is made clear only minutes into the film.

A few minutes later, Wiseau  appears again before each of the five individual audiences to impart some of his wisdom in the form of a Q&A. In a semi-conscious state, he responds to viewers’ questions with answers that range from laughable to ludicrous. Sometimes he is presented with a bouquet of a dozen red roses or other tokens of affection from the crowd. Other times, he will recite Shakespearean sonnets and promise future projects to a crowd hungry for more Wiseau. And then, as quickly as he appears, he is gone.

Of course, what comes next is the film itself. The audience will hiss, heckle and cheer every scene. The story itself is unimportant: indeed nearly every single subplot remains undeveloped. Characters come and go, with virtually no introduction or purpose to the flow of the plot. Yet while “The Room” swings and misses scene after scene, it never loses its sense of stern sincerity. The results of which are, undeniably, 99 minutes of nonstop hilarity.

The next showing is Saturday, Nov. 28 at the Laemmle Sunset 5. It is advised that tickets are purchased in advance and viewers should be sure to arrive plenty early. It is safe to say that it will be an experience not soon forgotten. We may never know why hundreds of people dedicate precious Saturday nights to a movie deemed so atrocious. To give the last words to Mr. Wiseau, “After all, love is blind.”