Inside The Room

Feature

Friday, November 15, 2013

In the annals of movies so bad their titles become punch lines — Showgirls, Ishtar, Plan 9 From Outer SpaceThe Room is destined to loom large. Since its release a decade ago, a cult has grown up around the film, with late-night screenings in college towns and big cities, even Paris and London. Hollywood stars like David Cross and Kristen Bell have extolled it as a sublime example of bad filmmaking, and an Entertainment Weekly article dubbed The Room “the Citizen Kane of bad movies.”

The basic plot is simple: it’s a melodrama about a love triangle, two friends and the woman that pulls them apart. But something is a little off about The Room, or rather, everything is a little off. The dialogue shows a shaky grasp of colloquial English; characters disappear halfway through; gaping plot holes are never resolved.

The Room feels like it was broadcast from another planet,” says cultural writer Tom Bissell (who says that he’s seen the film “more than 50, less than 100” times). “The reason for that is the weird formal conventions of filmmaking that Tommy [Wiseau, the film’s writer, director, and star] recognizes but he doesn’t really understand. That is why the The Room is never boring, why people can watch it over and over again.”

Bissell has recently written a book, The Disaster Artist, with the film’s co-star, Greg Sestero, formerly a close friend of Wiseau’s. Wiseau claims that he intended to make a black comedy, a claim their book belies. “The guy who made this movie is a complicated man,” Bissell says, “and he tried to communicate something deep and profound. That’s what makes it so hard for me to look down my nose at it — there’s something about it that’s so sincere it kind of breaks your heart.”

The raucous crowds lining up to throw things at the screen clearly don’t find it so deep. “He’s made a dollar out of 25 cents with the cultural status of The Room,” says Bissell, “and I don’t begrudge him that at all.”

 

Video: a scene from The Room

    Music Playlist
  1. Mischief
    Artist: Harry Rabinowitz
    Album: The Talented Mr. Ripley: Music from the Motion Picture Score
    Label: Sony
    Purchase: Amazon
  2. Lisa and Mark
    Artist: Malden Milicevic
    Album: The Room (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
    Label: TPW Records
    Purchase: Amazon
  3. Street
    Artist: Malden Milicevic
    Album: The Room (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
    Label: TPW Records
    Purchase: Amazon
  4. You're My Rose
    Artist: Malden Milicevic
    Album: The Room (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
    Label: TPW Records
    Purchase: Amazon
  5. The Room
    Artist: Malden Milicevic
    Album: The Room (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
    Label: TPW Records
    Purchase: Amazon

Contributors:

Khrista Rypl

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