The Room: So bad, it’s good

by Josh Price


There are some films that are made for you and a group of friends to stay in and ridicule together. Perfect for a great laugh among friends. The Room is one such film. It has been described as “a movie that has been produced by someone who has never seen a film before” by the writer/ director/ producer/ lead star of The Room, Tommy Wiseau.

The history behind The Room is fascinating, so much so, that there is currently a film in cinemas called The Disaster Artist which follows the conception and production of The Room, and stars James Franco as Wiseau. In the same way that The Room is an oddity of a film, Wiseau is an oddity of a human being. Based on the way he thinks people act, converse and speak within The Room, it’s safe to say that he has no understanding of how human beings function. Literally every single creative decision in the movie, made on a moment by moment basis, fails.

But for those who aren’t familiar with this masterpiece, what is it about? The Room is a movie about a guy called Johnny. Johnny’s fiancé, Lisa, is cheating on him with his best friend Mark. When Johnny finds out he becomes so distraught that he kills himself. I summed up the plot of this movie in three sentences, so how is it that the film stretches this series of events out into 100 minutes?

Despite having such a simplistic plot, The Room is also completely incoherent. There’s no structure to the way scenes play out, in fact, many of them are completely irrelevant to the actual story. There is a scene in which a character announces she has breast cancer, only for it to never be brought up again. Another incident occurs in which a character has a violent encounter with a drug dealer whom he apparently owes money to; this is never resolved. Painfully, there are more scenes like this, but watch and see for yourself; it’s truly masterful in its failings.

Then there is the acting – a whole other level of incompetence. Normally, I would single out certain actors as being awful, but, luckily for them, they are in a movie with Tommy Wiseau. There is something so astonishingly bad about Wiseau’s performance; there isn’t a single sentence, word, movement or inflection that would make anyone remotely believe in his character. It’s a performance that defies dreadful belief and yet there is something strangely magnetic about it. It is almost as if a viewer must watch, to see if Wiseau can get any worse. He does.

The writing, directing and acting are all as terrible as each other. Half of Wiseau’s lines are blatantly and unashamedly dubbed over. Think about that for a second…Wiseau is dubbing over his own lines, that he wrote, himself, and he still fails.

The thing is though, anyone can laugh at The Room; the awful performances, nonsensical structure and hilariously terrible sex scenes. Despite this, vast numbers of people pay to see it and the movie has attained a rabid cult following. I can vouch that every time I’ve watched it, I was able to spot yet another mistake. There is something wonderfully special and joyous in just how awful it is. It’s a terrible film, without question, but it’s one I’ve watched numerous times.

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