There are many different kinds of bad films, there are your objectionably bad like the Transformers films, which are bad because they’re terrible plotted and clichéd but still made with some level of professionalism (as much as I hate to use that word anywhere around Michael Bay) and then there are the films which are so apocalyptically bad, that they somehow come back round to being good, and a perfect example of this is The Room.
For those not in the know, The Room is a 2003 ‘drama’ film written by, directed by and starring Tommy Wiseau, an alien who came to Earth an unspecified number of years ago and has been living among us, trying to grasp the basics of language ever since. Upon it’s release it was met with widespread revulsion until, like most bad movies, it found new life as a ‘cult’ film, showing to audiences dressed as characters and armed with American footballs and plastic spoons (don’t ask).
So, is The Room a misunderstood gem, or a big pile of dog mess that you’ve accidentally stood in?
Johnny is a banker in San Francisco engaged to be married to a sociopath named Lisa, who has fallen out of love with him and is sleeping with Johnny’s best friend Mark. That is literally the entire story.
Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. Where to start? I watched this movie at university as part of a module, I literally wrote four pages of notes on this wretched pile of wonderfulness.
Let’s begin with Wiseau, I would never knock anyone for trying to learn a language and at least trying, especially English which is difficult at the best of times but I’m pretty sure Wiseau just hadn’t learnt English, he sure as hell doesn’t seem like he can speak it, and what’s worse is, he wrote this movie!
The dialogue is the worst use of the English language I’ve ever seen, t doesn’t even feel like it was written in English, it feels more like it was written in a different language and then fed through Google Translate, so everything is just a bit off. Here’s an example of some stellar Wiseau dialogue, picture the scene, Johnny was expecting a promotion at work, he didn’t get it, here’s how the conversation with Lisa went down:
LISA: “Did you get it?”
LISA: “You didn’t get it did you?”
HE LITERALLY JUST TOLD YOU.
There’s no end to the terrible dialogue either, it starts terrible and only gets worse. There’s a scene about halfway through where Lisa’s mother reveals she has breast cancer, and she tells her as if she’s telling her she’s just adopted a puppy or something. What’s worse is the fact that this supposedly vital plot thread is never brought up again, instead we focus on the worst love triangle in movie history.
He also has a real problem with repetition too, as some lines are said over and over again multiple times throughout the movie. Some examples are: “Oh Hi, (insert character here), I don’t want to talk about it and I don’t love him anymore. For Christ’s sake don’t invent a drinking game based on this movie, hospitals would be flooded with people needing liver transplants.
As much as the whole cancer reveal scene is terrible, it’s not even the worst scene in the movie, there’s a scene in a flower shop that seems to have been edited in the wrong order, a rooftop scene where a character is hounded for drug money that makes no sense and has no effect on the story whatsoever and last and least, a scene where characters seem to be dressed up for a wedding followed by a scene where they’re not at a wedding and the wedding hasn’t happened.
Every scene has a really awkward beginning and end too, for some reason we have to see each character enter and leave a room at the end of every scene, you know how in other movies a scene will cut after the relevant dialogue finishes? Here, that doesn’t happen, instead, the conversation finishes, they’ll walk awkwardly and silently to the door and leave, whereupon two new people enter the room and start the next scene. Had Wiseau even seen a film before this?
Then there’s the acting. Oh, the acting. Tommy Wiseau deserves a special kind of award for just how terrible he is at delivering lines of dialogue, he stresses the wrong word in every sentence, laughs really awkwardly in every line of dialogue. He’s so fantastically inept at everything that it makes him the best thing in the movie, every line is so unintentionally hilarious that they’ve all gone on to have new life as internet memes.
It’s not just Wiseau who deserves ridicule though, everyone seems to act like they’re part of a painful GCSE Drama piece. No more evidence is needed of this than the character of Denny.
Ah, yes, Denny, let’s study him for a while. We’re introduced to this whirlwind of a character in the first scene, where he insinuates that he wants to watch Johnny and Lisa have sex. Ew. It’s then stated that he is in fact at school and Johnny is paying his tuition. Double Ew. Then he’s threatened by a drug dealer type guy with a gun, he seems to shake this off fairly well though as he’s back magically appearing in doorways in the very next scene, where he declares his love for Lisa, in a hilarious scene where he asks if he can kiss her. Following this he tells Johnny that he’s in love with Lisa, Johnny is incredibly nonchalant about this and that pretty much all the important things Denny does in this movie, and I use the word ‘important’ very, VERY loosely.
All the characters are ridiculous though, and none of them are in the slightest bit consistent, in fact, I’d wager that Tommy Wiseau thinks consistency is a country in the Balkan peninsula as it’s non-existent here. It’s so inconsistent that one character changes faces in one scene. You read that right. An actor playing a character was replaced halfway through the movie. Brilliant.
In conclusion, The Room is everything you ever heard it was. Inept, unintentionally hilarious and oh so stupid. Having said that, I do encourage everyone who reads this to watch it, find a local cult screening buy it on DVD but just watch it I guarantee you’ll have never seen anything like it. Or will ever want to. Here’s an extra bit of fun, let’s all share our favourite quotes from The Room in the comments, I’ll start us off.
“I can’t tell you, it’s confidential. Anyway, how’s your sex life?”