Every so often a film comes along that is an absolute masterpiece that it reminds you what cinema truly is. The more recent example for me was 'The Lord Of The Rings' trilogy (my pick for the best of the decade which you can read here). Something that in essence represents films at their very best. Then there is the opposite side of the spectrum where a film is so bad it reminds you why movies like 'The Lord Of The Rings' are so special. Most people would consider 'The Room' to be one of these films. Well, yes and no. Can it be called one of the worst films ever made? Yes. But that doesn't mean it's bad. Let me explain.
A movie can be so bad that it is almost insulting to watch it. It's boring and dull and a complete waste of time. But then there can be a film that may have set out to be one thing but turns into something else. Obviously films like Ed Wood's 'Plan 9 From Outer Space' and 'Troll 2' come to mind. Films that set out to be a science fiction horror film and a flat out horror film respectively but failed so miserably that they become funny. They are failures because they fail in their intent but in another way are successes because where these films might come up short they deliver in being (granted unintentionally) funny and entertaining. The last one being the key. For me a film no matter what its purpose should be entertaining. That doesn't mean it's lighthearted. It means it shouldn't bore you. No matter how serious a subject matter a film should never not entertain or all is lost. This is why films like 'Plan 9' and 'Troll 2' work because they are too entertaining. This too is why 'The Room' works because while it fails to be the relationship drama it set out to be it succeeds on being completely entertaining and absolutely hilarious.
Here is the trailer.
The film was financed (some say through dubious means but that would only make the overall story that much more entertaining) for $6 million and was written, produced, directed, and stars Tommy Wiseau. An odd man to say the least and someone with enough of an ego to put himself into all of these positions. Namely the star. But that only adds to the overall experience. The story of a man who is engaged to a woman who may not be in love with him as much as he is with her. So she starts sleeping with his best friend. That's it in a nutshell but the film needs to be seen to be believed. There are many random shots of San Fransisco scattered throughout the film. There is a table with a picture of a spoon on it (which prompts audience members to toss plastic spoons into the air). The acting is ... well ... this film needs to be seen. Ideally at a midnight show with an audience. Only then can you have the full experience.
Here is one of my favorite scenes:
Exactly! Now experience my favorite line reading in the entire film.
If that doesn't make you want to see the film then I don't know what will.
Now the thing is while the film is on one level horrible it is just so entertaining. On that level it works. Compare this with James Cameron's (who I do love and admire greatly) recent film 'Avatar' (my review here) a film that chances are I will never see again. 'The Room' I've seen five times in the theatre and will be going back for more. So I ask you, in the end, which is the better film? The $300 million film that I'll never see again or the $6 million film that is so bad it brings me to tears from laughing so hard that I've seen five times?
This often reminds me of one of my all time favorite scenes from Tim Burton's 'Ed Wood' where Ed Wood meets Orson Welles. I really feel the is the epitome of my view on films and filmmaking. Films are left to the interpretation of the individual audience member. And no matter what, filmmakers are the same no matter their place in history. We all have the same trials and tribulations. What makes a movie so special? Is it the utter brilliance of 'Citizen Kane'? Is it the utter awfulness yet entertaining mess of 'The Room'? I say it is both.
Here is that fantastic scene.
(for the record Welles wanted Heston for the role in 'Touch Of Evil' and when the studio wanted to hire another director Heston fought to keep Welles saying he would walk off the project without Welles directing which the studio caved to and Welles was always grateful for)
In a very rare treat the mysterious and even odd Tommy Wiseau came to my favorite theatre The Music Box Theatre for a screening of 'The Room'.
The marquee. Only at The Music Box will you see that kind of marquee. It's why I love the theatre.
The sold out crowd (of 750 people!) begin to take their seats.
Tommy takes to the stage.
He was sort of interviewed (Tommy pretty much said what he wanted) by Aint It Cool News' Capone.
Tommy gets roses from a fan.
And thanks said fan.
Say it Tommy!!
Now it's time for the show.
After the show Tommy signed. Here he is signing my 'The Room' poster.
Tommy and yours truly.
They had a table selling merchandise so I had to get the talking(!) bobble head.
My signed DVD of 'The Room'.
My signed 'The Room' poster.
Tommy told me he wrote something special just for me. He told me it says "May all your dreams come alive". Can't tell if that's what it says but Tommy told me it says that so it says that.
*The official website for 'The Room' can be found here.