How to watch “The Room”

Having earned the title of “the best bad movie of all time,” Tommy Wiseau’s independently made magnum opus “The Room” is more than just a poorly executed dramatic film: it is a hilariously executed dramatic film, so much so that audiences across the world come in droves to see it screened in theaters. A huge cult following has developed since the film’s debut in 2003, obsessed with this attempt at a shocking tragedy, later remarketed as a black comedy.

The film centers on a beloved banker named Johnny (Wiseau) whose manipulative fiancée (Juliette Danielle) starts an affair with Johnny’s best friend, Mark (Greg Sestero). Normally, a tale of a man whose life falls apart isn’t exactly something to laugh at, but there are so many critical faults that it’s hard to get into the storyline.

Characters are introduced that have no purpose in the story, such as a murderous drug dealer who appears without explanation one scene and never returns to the plot. Many subplots go the same way, such as a character dramatically revealing she has breast cancer, only to have it never be mentioned again. On top of this are the flaws that came from the film being such an independent production, such as cameras that travel through where walls should be, many of the actors (especially Wiseau) giving gloriously under-the-top performances, and oversights in the set design (including framed stock photos of spoons instead of what people would usually put in picture frames).

At the film’s late-night screenings, the audience shouts at and freely interacts with the film as it plays, as with “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Plastic spoons are hurled at the screen whenever the framed spoons appear onscreen. People toss footballs through the aisles when the film breaks from the plot in order for the characters to gently toss footballs for extended scenes. “Because you’re a woman!” is shouted back at the more misogynistic lines. No matter how confounding the plot, it continues to engage audience after audience with its bizarre narrative.

When watching “The Room”, don’t expect to see the next great American drama. Instead, let yourself get swept away in the incoherency, the absurdness of the storyline, the bizarreness of a film that unintentionally serves as a guide on how not to make one. It doesn’t obey any rules of story and cinema – and that is why it is like nothing else, why it will always be remembered.

 

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