Movie Review: The Room (2003)


You gotta see it to believe it.

If you’ve never heard of it before, The Room is a thing of legend. The story more or less revolves around a woman who’s sleeping with her fiancee’s best friend, but I’ll just leave it at that because trying to legitimize anything this movie has to offer would be to miss the point entirely. In fact, the point isn’t the movie at all, it’s the experience that only “The Citizen Kane of bad movies” could offer to a legion of people who have helped writer/director/producer/star Tommy Wiseau slowly earn back the $9 million he spent out-of-pocket to create this monster.

My introduction to The Room started a couple months back when I came across a news report featuring Alec Baldwin in front of the Village East Cinema theater in New York. He sings the movie’s praises, he’s grinning like it’s Christmas morning, the camera pans to the moviegoers that are wrapped clear around the block, for some reason they’re tossing around footballs and Tommy Wiseau himself has stopped by to greet his “fans”. I am intrigued, I want to know more, but time goes by, my Netflix queue continues to grow and I start forget about the mystery that is The Room.

Then I come across this post by Tom Clift over at Plus Trailers and I’m forced to read it in intervals because the laughter is disturbing my co-workers. I can’t believe what I’ve been missing, the fascination returns ten-fold and from that point on, I’m sold, I need this in my life.

Months go by and I finally snag tickets for the midnight showing on July 30th. I get three friends on board, the longest week ever goes by, Judgment Day arrives.

9:00 – We start off the evening with a couple drinks at a bar around the corner, we figure this will help us stay awake or something, I’m not really sure, but alcohol doesn’t seem like the worst way to start this night out.

11:15 – The beer is working, we’re doing alright, so we close out or tabs and head back to Village East only to find a line that made us hope and pray that this theater was way effing bigger on the inside than it looked on the outside.

11:45 – The line has nearly tripled in size, at least we’re not those guys. We’re not even inside and footballs are being thrown, Tommy Wiseau look-alikes are walking around in tuxedoes, the quoting has begun and I have no idea what I’ve gotten myself into. This may very well be a disaster.

11:50 – They start to let us in, the line erupts in cheers.

12:00 – The theater is in fact enormous, we find four seats together and proceed to applaud with everyone else as the Wiseau doppelganger in the front row throws touchdown passes to the soccer hooligan in the back of the mezzanine.

12:10 – Two guys walk to the front of the theater with microphones in hand and hold a contest to see who in the crowd can come up with the best Tommy Wiseau origin story. A dozen people line up on stage, the crowd doesn’t seem too impressed by their answers, one of the contestants yells “TOMMY WISEAU IS THE MAN!”, he is soundly booed by the entire theater and ordered to “GET THE FUCK OFF THE STAGE!” Clearly, everyone already knew that about T-dubbs. The winner says something about how he was born in two suitcases at an airport, everyone goes nuts, it goes right over our heads. She wins a pillow or something, I can’t really remember.

12:20 – The lights dim, the crowd goes fucking bonkers. I stop looking at my watch, the rest is a blur of utter madness, but here are the highlights.

– Wiseau’s name appears on-screen, the applause is defeaning each time it comes up. Wiseau himself appears on-screen, the theater erupts like Kramer just walked into the room. The same thing happens for each new character, except for Wiseau’s cheating fiancee, Lisa, who everyone just calls a slut and a whore.

– For some reason there are framed pictures of silverware all around Wiseau’s apartment. Each time they appear on-screen, everyone screams “SPOON!” and begins throwing waves of plastic silverware at the screen. My face is already in pain from laughing.

– Wiseau is having sex with his fiancee, it is outrageously awkward. Lots of strange thrusting, he is all about the rose petals, we see his bare ass, it is disgusting.

– We are treated to footage of cars driving across the Golden Gate bridge, the crowd starts chanting “GO! GO! GO! GO! GO!” until the camera reaches the other end. We all start clapping. This never gets old.

– Wiseau is having sex again, the same footage from before is being used here. His ass is still hideous. Wouldn’t be surprised if this turned up on Skinemax.

– Wiseau starts tossing a football around with his friends, everyone in the theater who has a football stands up and follows suit until the scene finishes. This happens a good three or four more times.

– One of the characters is being shaken down by a drug dealer on a roof. Why? No one knows, but Wiseau and the gang show up just in the nick of time and save him before he gets a bullet to the brain. This is never brought up again.

– One of the characters matter-of-factly reveals that she has breast cancer, she doesn’t seem to care, it is never brought up again.

– Wiseau’s best friend is sitting on the roof in a Canadian tuxedo, the camera pans down to his waist, one of the guys in the audience begins screaming “THAT IS A BONER! THAT IS A BONER! THAT IS A BONER!” Lo and behold, it is totally a boner. It seems like he’s the first to notice this, we all appreciate the astute observation.

– Wiseau sets up a ghetto wiretap on his answering machine, the audience starts singing the Mission: Impossible theme song. Awesome.

– A psychiatrist randomly becomes a main character, everyone yells, “WHO ARE YOU?” He accidentally looks into the camera, everyone yells, “LOOK AT THE CAMERA!” He turns away, everyone yells, “DON’T LOOK AT THE CAMERA!” I’m short of breath.

– A birthday party is held for Wiseau, he walks in and his friends yell, “SURPRISE!” Everyone in the crowd throws glowsticks into the aisles. I lose it.

– Another psychiatrist randomly becomes a main character, everyone wonders aloud who he is.

– Wiseau starts trashing his apartment, it’s not very convincing, but he does lift a TV over his head and chuck it out the window with the strength of ten men. Very realistic.

2:30 – The end credits roll, everyone applauds, we leave the theater changed men.

But even after all this, describing what I went through last Friday night is nothing compared to experiencing it for yourself. It’s a long night, the novelty of a constantly screaming audience tends to wear a bit thin towards the last Act, and the kicker is that The Room really is a terrible movie, an absolute atrocity on every front. But like I said, this isn’t about the movie to begin with.

Almost always, going out to the movies or watching them in the comfort of my own home isn’t exactly the most…exciting experience to write home about. As much as we’d all love to hear about the dirty details behind my latest Star Wars marathon, something tells me that what’s going down with the Empire is a hell of a lot more interesting than the mac and cheese I’m eating in my boxers. But then something like this comes around and reminds me of how much fun going to the movies can be. I haven’t had a blast like this in a theater since Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and if someone asked me to go again, I wouldn’t think twice.

Folks, if you ever get the chance, go for it. Can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard and there’s still a ton of other stuff I forgot to mention, but don’t wait for this to arrive from Netflix, you need to actively seek this out. And most importantly, remember to bring spoons.

9/10 Audience Participation Awards

To read more reviews from Aiden Redmond, also be sure to check out Cut The Crap Movie Reviews.