It’s difficult to know how to start this post for The Room seems to be the only film I have ever seen in which pretty much every element I absolutely awful. The plot is basic yet has so many dangling plot threads that are just ignored, the acting is so wooden some of the characters could be mistaken for furniture, the sound is badly dubbed, the music dull, the directing if full of continuity errors and the “love” scenes make you feel like you have just walked in your best friends in the middle of the no pants dance in the middle of a giant pile of vomit. However it’s because of all of these factors that I have to consider The Room as the best bad film made.
Tommy Wiseau, the genius behind the project, takes credits as actor, director, writer, producer and executive producer. The film seems to be some kind of wish fulfilment on Wiseau’s part, desperately trying to be seen as some kind of romantic martyr. Wiseau’s character Johnny seems to have it all. A “beautiful” girl, a job with prospects, a “trustworthy” best friend and a strange socially inept college kid who for some unexplained reason he has taken under his wing. That is until he is betrayed by his “future wife” Lisa (Boo! Hiss!) as she starts an affair with his best friend Mark. Johnny ends up asking the most fundamental question in human existence (according to the DVD cover) “Can you really trust anyone?” (Well, yes you can)
The Room has many plot threads that I expect Wiseau had hoped to tie up but either ran out of time, forgot about them or just plain old couldn’t be arsed. Denny (a college kid who Johnny has brought an apartment for and paid his tuition fees) is threatened at gunpoint by a drug dealer who claims he owes him money. After a typically dramatic scene Denny’s drug habit is never mentioned again. Claudette (Lisa’s mother) announces to her daughter that she is dying of breast cancer, only to be reassured by her daughter that she isn’t. This is despite her receiving test results confirming the diagnosis. Still neither mother or daughter seem overly concerned about it and it’s never mentioned again for the remainder of the film.
Well at least Wiseau shows that he can gracefully highlight key plot elements, for example, the four main male characters all gather in Johnny’s apartment all in tuxedos when Mark arrives to reveal that… he has shaved his beard! This is greeted by the camera zooming in and dramatic music playing while the other character mumbles about how good he looks. It’s never explained why they are in tuxedos, but I’d like to think that Mark told them to hire them for the grand unveiling of his chin.
There is a strange lack of depth to all the characters. Denny is just some weird kid who Johnny wants to adopt, we never get told how they met or Johnny’s reason for attachment to him. Denny lacks the very basic social skills leading a lot of people to suspect that he is mentally challenged, which is never built upon. Lisa changes her mind over her feelings of Johnny overnight, in fact it comes straight after a graphic love scene with Johnny. The next morning she goes and seduces Mark. Claudette spouts sexist dribble by insisting the Lisa should stay with Johnny as “he’s your financial security” and continues to say this even after Lisa tells her Johnny has been hitting her. Mark is just a complete twat and Johnny walks around the place spouting his words of wisdom around like the second coming of Jesus.
Here is a clip of some typically naturalistic acting...
The Room seems to be filled with running gags (but I doubt any were intended). Characters often leave to door wide open when walking in or out the apartment. Johnny’s flat is covered in small photos of spoons (to which the audiences scream “SPOON!” and hurl vast quantities of spoons at the screen). Denny has a habit of walking into the apartment asking one question and simply walking out a second later stating that “he has to go”. Characters throw a football to each other while standing about a yard apart. One character is replaced by a completely different character who we are never introduced to (this is due to the actor who played Peter leaving during filming). Almost all of Tommy Wiseau’s lines are dubbed over and terribly synced.
In an interview for a DVD extra Wiseau insists that everything which makes The Room great (acting, script, pictures of spoons in photo frames etc.) is intentional and meticulously planed. However this seems a dubious as his lines in the interview are laughably dubbed over. Most bad films seem to be made of a massive collection of individual errors but as Tommy Wiseau says himself “You have to have a vision, from the beginning of a project to the end of a project, otherwise you don’t have a project”, thank you for sharing your vision. I think I love you Mr. Wiseau.
(but I don’t want to see you naked)