Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Room - 2003

Director:                                  Tommy Wiseau
Writer:                                     Tommy Wiseau
Director of Photography:      Todd Barron
Original Music:                      Mladen Milicevic 
Editing:                                   Eric Chase

Johnny                            Tommy Wiseau
Lisa                                Juliette Danielle 
Mark                               Greg Sestero
Denny                              Philip Haldiman
Claudette                       Carolyn Minnot
Michelle                          Robin Paris
Mike                               Mike Holmes
Chris-R                           Dan Janjigian
Peter                               Kyle Vogt
Steven                            Greg Ellery

no kisses
Some friends and I saw the movie "The Room" recently.  For those not familiar with it, it was released in 2003, and made as a very personal labor of love by one Tommy Wiseau - writer, director, star.   Mr. Wiseau promoted the film in Los Angeles as a straight domestic drama, and for four years paid for a billboard in L.A. advertising the movie.

It is an insanely bad film which was given a second life when it was discovered by a few people who recognized its potential as a perfect movie to riff.  In other words, it is so bad that the only way to enjoy it is to make fun of it.  

The "plot" of the film follows a man named Johnny (Wiseau) and his rocky romance with Lisa (Juliette Danielle) who is two-timing Johnny with his best friend Mark (Greg Sestero).   To try to explain any more of it would leave me in tears on the floor, babbling and drooling.  There is no coherence to any part of the movie.  Let's just say it involves guys throwing a football around for no reason, people wandering in and out of Johnny's apartment for no reason, both Johnny and Lisa having mood swings for no reason, Greg responding to and then rejecting Lisa for no reason, a drug dealer who appears for no reason, Lisa's mother announcing she has breast cancer for no reason, mixing of vodka and scotch together for no reason, a suicide for several great reasons, a birthday party, screaming, roses, spoons, incomprehensible dialogue, inexplicable insertion of mystery characters, sex scenes that just might possibly convince you to join a monastery or nunnery or just kill yourself....are you starting to get the feel of this movie?

Having said all that, the movie has attracted a cult following of fans who enjoy nothing more than knocking back a bottle of their favorite brand and screaming back at the screen.   It is a bit like "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" in that fans will attend screenings dressed as some of the characters, and participate by yelling certain phrases and throwing particular items at the screen at certain times.  If you are into that sort of thing, it can be a lot of fun.  

And yes, I did have a lot of fun with my friends that night at the show.  We screamed, we threw plastic spoons, we laughed, and we saw Mr. Wiseau and Mr. Sestero on stage making a personal appearance.  Tommy Wiseau seems to be a lot like the character he plays in the movie, a mush-mouthed, not-terribly bright guy of obscure ethnic heritage.  I was going to say 'enigmatic' but that makes him sound interesting.  Actually, I'll take back the "not-terribly bright" comment.  One has to give him credit for making lemonade out of one enormous lemon.  His romantic drama was going nowhere until it was picked up as a laugh-riot midnight movie.  If he had any discomfort at the realization that his serious film was being ridiculed, well, as the saying goes, he is now crying all the way to the bank.  Now when the audience laughs, he gets the last laugh. 

I am unable to do a proper review of this movie.  Instead, I will share an email that I sent to my friends the morning after we saw the show.  I had overslept and missed our writing group session and was feeling a little guilty.  So this is what I wrote to them by way of explanation:

Guys -
I obviously am not making it to writing today.  But what a wild night!  When I left you I got into a taxi.  A dark figure was huddled in the corner of the back seat.  I was startled of course, and said, "Sorry, I didn't know this cab was taken."  As I started  to leave, a bony hand softly reached for mine.  A strangely accented voice said, "Oh hi, Joyce."  The shape sat back in the seat and turned its shaggy head toward me.  The long, dark, greasy locks parted and I saw a pair of sunglasses on a pasty, sickly  mug.  It could only be one man.....Tommy! 
It could only be one man...
 My heart skipped a beat!  In a cold panic I said to the hack at the wheel, "Drive on, cabbie."

We didn't say a word on our journey.  At least I didn't say a word, and since I couldn't understand any thing he said it was almost like he didn't speak.   I saw the dozen red roses on the seat between us.  And I knew.  I just knew.
I just knew.
My heart skipped another beat!  My stomach started doing flip-flops!

Even before the cab came to a halt in front of my building, I was scrambling for the door handle in an attempt to escape.  But somehow, when the cab stopped Tommy was already outside, opening the door for me and reaching for my hand.  I knew.  I just knew.  This was my fate.  There was no running from LOVE!
I just knew.
It was magical.  The candles were burning, there were roses everywhere.  The diaphanous white netting around my bed (which had never been there before) beckoned me to our nest of passion.  

Tommy sensuously removed his rumpled suit and stood before me in all of his five foot five magnificence.  His sallow skin rippled strangely and it made me feel funny all over.  He handed me a glass of scotch-ka.  I fainted.

That's probably enough of the train/tunnel/sex metaphor images.

Hey!! If it was good enough for Hitchcock, it's good enough for me, ok??

That's definitely enough!
Friends, I can't apologize enough for my appalling lack of taste in inserting these photos.  I simply lost control..  
This morning when I woke, I rolled over and saw HIM.  His back was to me.  There were crushed, slimy rose petals stuck to his skin.  Something was stirring inside me, but I pushed the nausea aside.  I tried to slip out of bed as quietly as possible, but he felt my movements and turned.  He grabbed my wrist.  "YOU'RE TEARING ME APART!!" he quoted.  I tore myself from him, grabbed the remnants of my party clothes and ran for my life, tripping over a football.

The police have all gone now.  It is quiet and still.  I will try to make sense of last night, and will try to put it all behind me somehow.  Life must go on.  But the pistol is on my desk.  Perhaps I will call Greg, he is the one I truly love.
 Or Peter.  Or that other guy.
  I look at the pistol and wonder....Is love really blind?  Would it really be a better world if we all just loved each other?  Will Lisa's mother survive her breast cancer?  And who were those two people?  

I hear the door of my apartment opening...someone has entered.  It's Denny!  He wants to borrow some spoons and he needs money to pay back a drug dealer.  "Oh hi, Denny,"  I turn back to my computer and explain to him that I need to finish writing an email.  Denny sits down on the floor, "I just like to watch you."  I return to my typing.  I have learned something from all of this and my life has been changed forever.  I know now that love really is blind.  It's also very confused and foreign.  I will plan my surprise party for Tommy, but I don't really love him.

Have a comment about this post?  Please, be my guest.  Indulge yourself below.  I would love to hear from you.  Thanks!

1 comment:

  1. As long as he didn't leave his 'underwears', you should not have to fumigate your place. ;)