By Sir Roderick Ponce von Fontlebottom
Column Staffist

There are movies, and then there is “The Room,” in the same way that there is garbage and then there is radioactive waste. Tommy Wiseau’s epic masterpiece has become an underground smash, much in the vein of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Troll 2.” “The Room” isn’t just bad though. It’s perfectly, abominably, sublimely bad. It takes every rule of film, narrative, acting, design and logic and chucks it out the window faster than you can say “Oh hi, Mark.” Released in 2003, “The Room” looks like it was shot somewhere between the mid 80s and 90s with the same equipment and soundtrack normally reserved for late-night Cinemax productions.

The movie tells the story, or more precisely ambles around the story of all around good-guy Johnny (played by Wiseau, who also directed, produced, and wrote the film) and his demonic fiancée Lisa (Played by Juliette Danielle doing her best as a pudgy Britney Spears lookalike). Johnny and Lisa have a beautiful and passionate romance, which the film is keen to illustrate via several drawn out sex scenes prominently featuring Wiseau’s bumpy, bizarre physique and monotone grunting. But one day Lisa decides, for unknown reasons (the movie never exactly articulates why) that she “just doesn’t love Johnny anymore” and starts schtupping Johnny’s clueless best friend Mark (played by a Abercrombie & Fitch mannequin named Greg Sestero).

That’s about as clear as the plot gets. There are numerous subplots involving Lisa’s mother’s personal life, their creepy neighbor and pseudo-adopted son Denny’s affections for Lisa, some drug deals, football, and breast cancer, but none of it ever gets resolved. Actors get replaced, scenes randomly cut to establishing shots implying transitions and then back into the same scenes, and spoons are framed. Reason and logic hold little sway in the strange dimension “The Room” occupies, and it’s a horrific delight to navigate the film’s incongruous story, like traveling through a hedge maze designed by a drunken landscaper.

There’s so much to love about “The Room,” and each viewing is bound to yield another tidbit, some new strange and nonsensical element to make you laugh. It’s the thing that really separates “The Room” from what might be perceived as similarly awful direct-to-video fare. “The Room” just never stops giving; it doesn’t fail on most fronts, it fails on all of them, spectacularly and uniquely.

The best/worst/best again thread of the wonderful tapestry that is “The Room” is the script. Penned by Wiseau himself, the script for “The Room” reads like an ode to Eugene Ionesco’s “The Bald Soprano,” stripped dry of any intellectual or philosophical trappings and thoroughly lubricated with bad sex. The dialogue is oddly phrased; at its best moments it’s unwittingly hilarious; at its worst, it’s incomprehensible garbage. Conversation lurches and juts about like a dog on roller-skates with the struggling actors trying desperately to put sense into Wiseau’s ludicrous dialogue.

Perhaps the best example of this is a scene where Lisa’s mother, Claudette, comes over and tells Lisa about her brother trying to steal her house, she then offhandedly mentions that “my test results came back; I definitely have breast cancer,” with the mild irritation one might find appropriate for having to pay unusually high postage. Lisa responds quite naturally telling her mother, “Don’t worry, they’re curing lots of people every day” and then descends into another diatribe about how she doesn’t love Johnny anymore. Neither Claudette’s impending loss of her home, or breast cancer ever resurface. Ever.

“The Room” is many things. It’s a comedy by error, a poorly-acted melodrama with pretensions to tragedy, it’s Dada meets “Top Gun” meets “Days of our Lives.” It’s a flawed, gut-busting, train wreck of a film held together by an auteur’s narcissistic dream, and it’s hands-down my favorite movie ever made. Seriously, no April fooling. No good movie is as perfectly good as “The Room” is perfectly bad. It’s the most sublime movie ever created, and I’ll swear that to my dying day.

The Elm

One thought on “Wiseau’s “The Room” Reaches Heretofore Unreached Heights of Cinematic Genius

  1. […] Wiseau’s “The Room” Reaches Heretofore Unreached Heights of Cinematic Genius – Tommy Wiseau’s epic masterpiece … wonderful tapestry that is “The Room” is the script. Penned by Wiseau himself, the script for “The Room” reads like an ode to Eugene Ionesco’s “The Bald Soprano,” stripped dry of any intellectual or … […]

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