The Room (2003)
Director: Tommy Wiseau
Cast: Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Juliette Danielle
Runtime: 100 minutes
My Rating: 1/10
In Short: Disastrously awful; a hilarious but unbearable failure
There is a cinema here in New Zealand that shows The Room once a month, every month, and crowds of people flock to experience it here. I was not lucky enough to watch it in the Dunedin Rialto theatre, but I did see it with a group of people, and had the most fun I’d had in a while. The only thing that would’ve made it more enjoyable is if we weren’t watching The Room.
The Room is written, produced and directed by Tommy Wiseau, whose name has become famous in the annals of bad movie history. His film is arguably one of the worst ever made that was intended to be taken seriously. It is a drama about Johnny (Wiseau himself), whose girlfriend contemplates leaving him for his best friend. However, you could be forgiven for mistaking the film for soft-core pornography – at least, in its first thirty minutes. There are numerous outrageously bad sex scenes that are scored to cheesy and unforgivably awful pop songs, and even Juliette Danielle’s nudity is not enough to redeem them even slightly. And this is only the beginning of the film’s long, long, long list of terrible failures.
The most noticeable of them all is the acting, which is some of the worst I’ve ever seen. I know little of Wiseau, but his foreign accent and limited understanding of the English language results in one of the most insulting screenplays ever written. The actors are even more degrading. Their minimal skills at acting is unbearably noticeable, and results in dialogue that could’ve been delivered better by pre-teens doing a school play. Wiseau “pays homage” to actors such as James Dean and directors such as Orson Welles but really only ends up defiling them. The most famous line in the film, “You are tearing me apart, Lisa!” is a reference to a similar line in Rebel Without a Cause, but it is a sudden outburst that really seems to come from nowhere and is so over-the-top that it is impossible not to laugh – or grimace.
Wiseau also takes advantage of the sexuality of his lead actress, a sexuality which surprise, surprise, is virtually nonexistant. Juliette Danielle’s acting is on a par with Wiseau’s in sheer awfulness, and Wiseau’s attempts to present her as a “femme fatale” are ludicrous. The editing and direction are also disgusting and all-over-the-place, as is the insistent score/soundtrack and the thousands of clichès that Wiseau uses with glee and good intentions. The dialogue is unbearable, and could’ve been more gramatically accurate if it were written by blindfolded monkeys. Wiseau’s choppy English is something we shouldn’t make fun of, but it really is terrible and worthy of ridicule due to the awful nature of its usage.
The film ends with another “homage” – this time to Citizen Kane. Enthusiasts of that film or classic cinema in general will be appalled by Wiseau’s take on the destruction scene at the end of the film; Wiseau tries his best to channel Welles by destroying his home, but his incredulous overacting is an absolute nightmare to experience, and goes on for far longer than it needs to. The Room is great entertainment if you watch it with others, and even more if alcohol is involved, but there is no other way to watch the film without wanting to shoot yourself in despair. So if you must see The Room, see it with a group. And bring spoons.