Movie: "The Room"
Year: 2003
Rated: R
Genre: Cult / B-Movie
Directed by: Tommy Wiseau
Writing credits: Tommy Wiseau

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 1/26/2010

Plot: Johnny's "future wife" (not fiancée) Lisa decides she doesn't like him anymore and has an affair with his best friend Mark, which causes relationships to crumble as the truth comes out.

Review: The Room is easily among the worst movies I have ever seen--everything about it, from the acting, to the directing, to the script is just mind-blowingly awful on every conceivable level--but it falls so comfortably into the "so bad it's good" category it is utterly fascinating and enjoyable to watch--as long as you have other people to laugh with (watching it alone I would expect the Lovecraftian horrors to whisk you away to some other dimension). Apparently this movie has quite a cult following, with regular midnight showings in Los Angeles and New York, where many members of the audience have seen the movie a dozen times or more.

Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed, and starred in this remarkable "vision", and after the initial titles set to shots of San Francisco are over, it takes all of ten seconds to realize that you're in for something special, as Tommy's character Johnny (I would swear one actor even calls him "Tommy" during the final scene of the film) walks into his home to awkwardly greet his "future wife" in a bizarre accent that nobody I know has been able to place. When you combine his accent with his remarkably awkward behavior, it seems that Mr. Wiseau is from another planet entirely. Apart from the accent, the most striking thing as he walks in is his unbelievable haircut. It's as if every lock of his long hair is a completely different length.

The dialog between Tommy and his "future wife" Lisa is almost unbearable--and would be, if it wasn't so damned funny. Nearly all of the dialog in this movie is so hilariously bad that it's hard to imagine it's not by Wiseau's design, but as you watch this movie you just know that it was all done in earnest, despite Wiseau's efforts to remarket the movie as a "black comedy" with hopes of generating some sales (and a few shreds of dignity). The dialog often contradicts itself from one line to the next--in one scene Lisa complains on the phone to the man she's cheating on her fiancee with, saying that she's tired of her mother telling her what to do with regard to her marriage plans and that she's going to do what she wants, after which she immediately asks her lover what he thinks she should do. "Don't worry about it, everything's going to be fine," becomes the default response to everything, from the fact that Lisa doesn't love Johnny anymore, to her mother's breast cancer diagnosis, to the thug who threatens the life of a friend for drug money. You hear that response (or some variation of it) so often you could easily make a drinking game out of that alone.

And then there's Johnny's salutations, which are so awkwardly delivered you can find clips of many of them on YouTube. One of the funniest bits in the movie is when Johnny, angry that Lisa has lied and accused him of hitting her, storms up to the roof in anger, ranting about how he never did any such thing. Immediately after throwing his empty plastic water bottle in a rage and making a face that my friend Jack described as looking like the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz, he turns to notice his friend Mark (who is actually the one betraying him by sleeping with Lisa) sitting up on the roof, and his anger immediately morphs into a cheerful greeting. The bit in the flower shop early in the film is like watching an alien, or a man grown to full-size in a giant test tube and just released into the world, interacting with humans (and a dog) for the first time.

There's another awkward scene where Johnny, Mark, his unofficially adopted son and neighbor Denny, and their psychiatrist friend Peter all get together at Johnny's house wearing tuxedos. At this point, I logically assumed that Johnny and Lisa's wedding was about to take place, but apparently they were just trying on the tuxedos, because they then went out into the street to play football (which they do several times in the movie, by standing about five feet apart and in a strange combination of physical laziness but vocal enthusiasm, they toss the ball to one another), and in the next scene Mark and Johnny are at a Starbucks together, where Johnny changes the topic of conversation by asking Mark about his sex life out of the blue.

There are a few subplots introduced for no reason and that never go anywhere, like Lisa's mother being diagnosed with breast cancer, Denny getting physically threatened over drug money that he owes to a street thug, and Denny realizing that he's in love with Lisa. In another strange creative choice, the characters frequently go up to their apartment building's rooftop to hang out, which is portrayed by use of a terribly unconvincing green screen for no reason I can discern, as using a green screen surely must have been far more costly than filming on an actual rooftop somewhere.

The title of the movie, The Room seems randomly chosen, as it doesn't relate to anything in the movie (apart from the fact that there are rooms in it) and even after Wiseau explains his decision to name it that in a hilarious DVD interview extra, you still won't understand why it's called that. And the DVD cover image is equally incongruous--it's simply an extreme close-up shot of Wiseau's face, looking drunk and/or drugged out of his mind. The trailers viewable on the DVD contain quotes such as "The Best Movie of the Year" and saying that The Room was made with "the passion of Tennessee Williams", although the quotes aren't attributed to anyone, so you know that Wiseau just made them up himself and tacked them onto the trailer.

If you wanted to convey the concept of "awkwardness" to someone completely unfamiliar with it, this movie would be one of the best ways to do so. For those of you who appreciate bad cinema, this is a real gem that shouldn't be missed. There's so much more I could discuss here, but if I've piqued your curiosity you should discover the rest for yourself. I know I've given it the lowest possible rating on here (which is well deserved), but I should also point out that if you think of these ratings as a loop, half a pickle is as close to five from one direction as you can get.

Overall rating: Half
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Clap if you love Dynamo
Jan 26th, 2010, 09:24 AM
I heard about this movie and you are right, the writer/director was taking this project seriously. It took a colossally bad movie to knock Plan 9 From Outer Space off its throne and he managed to put that movie out.
Unfunny Python Reference
Jan 26th, 2010, 11:25 AM
Oh HI Review! This movie is so bad, it's amazing and there should be a class on it at film school. It's gets more entertaining with every view. I hope Doc Mock can get the rights to watch it on the show.
the axe and the smasher
Jan 26th, 2010, 12:16 PM
They showed this on Adult Swim last year as an April Fools joke. I ended up watching reruns of Rosanne.
Jan 26th, 2010, 01:59 PM
I saw it when it aired on adult swim, I kept waiting for it to end but it just fucking kept going. He was on Tim and Eric the week before and was talking about it or something. It's Tim and Eric bad.
Crazed Techno-Biologist
Jan 26th, 2010, 05:56 PM
Well I believe, it's neither a comedy or in earnest. It's art for the sake of art. Reality theory rather than a mimesis of any sort of actual situation that could occur. it leaves you aware of the film and laughing in a sort of bemusement so powerful it borders comedy- BUT. it is not comedy.

Good analysis though,you always get them spot on and you tend to pick up on stuff some people dont even notice. =D
Funky Dynamite
Jan 26th, 2010, 07:43 PM
That's a pretty long way to say "it's a really shitty movie".

I remember seeing it on April Fool's Day on Adult Swim and thinking, "huh, they're showing some foreign movie this time."
Jan 26th, 2010, 09:07 PM
Oh HIIIIII Protoclown!

There is also a fantastic rifftrack of the film done by the MST3K guys. They bent their "no R-rated movies" rule because the film was JUST. TOO. GOOD. TO. RESIST.

You forgot to mention the copious amounts of naked Tommy Wiseau ass in this film. COPIOUS. And the multiple, painful, gratuitous sex scenes (with recycled footage, I believe).
Jan 26th, 2010, 10:33 PM
And I just want to know how the hell did Dr. Boogey managed to change his name of color...
Forum Virgin
Jan 26th, 2010, 10:46 PM
I watched this movie with rifftrax and it was hillarious.

Oh Hiiiiiii uncomfortable sex scenes! lisa was a whore
The Claw of Justice
Jan 27th, 2010, 05:32 PM
Actually, green screen isn't too expensive. The software costs more than the screen(matte green material is all you need, most people just use a dining table cloth)and even then it isn't too bad. But yeah. Still more than just going to the roof of a building.

Great review. I plan on seeing this sometime. "YOU'RE TEARING ME APART LISAAAA"
Jan 28th, 2010, 11:16 AM
The director/writer is coming to my city for a special showing of it this saturday but I already have bowling plans. I really want to see this with him though.
Forum Virgin
Jan 28th, 2010, 02:28 PM
The best part of the green screened roof top is the background changes *locations* from scene to scene!
Forum Virgin
Jan 30th, 2010, 05:30 PM
Here in Austin, TX they had a midnight screening of it during in the summer and I heard about it and went in to see it. I had no idea what it was about and holy crap its the best example of a "so bad its good" film. It was hilarious and everyone was so into it. I would love to go see it again if they do it again.
Feb 1st, 2010, 01:12 AM
I wish I had never watched this.
the axe and the smasher
Feb 1st, 2010, 03:22 PM
For some reason I decided to talk like Tommy for a few hours this past weekend. The girlfriend wasn't amused.
The Goddamned Batman
Feb 8th, 2010, 12:29 AM
Hahaha! But I am!

Did you at any point tell her that she was "tearing you apart"?
Funky Dynamite
Feb 8th, 2010, 01:04 AM
Tell her you'll never do it again, but make sure you always greet her by saying "oh, hi [name]".
Deadly Towers Survivor
Sep 6th, 2010, 12:06 AM
Yeah, this movie is a perfect example of a "so bad, it's good" film.

By the way Proto, his accent sounds kinda like a mild French...
Forum Virgin
Sep 6th, 2010, 12:25 AM
this seems a good a place as any to put this, some people made a point and click adventure game for this in the last few days.

Pickled Patriarch
Sep 7th, 2010, 01:53 AM
Yeah, it's a great game. I tested it out earlier this year at The Behemoth studios and was glad to see how well they copied the movie.