Monday, August 16, 2010
Review: The Room
I should first say that I had no intention of reviewing The Room, but sometimes profound moments grow and blossom in your head until you can't recall what things were like before it. Experiencing The Room is one such event.
JL subscribes to the absolute value scale for movies, meaning that absolutely abysmal films are almost as enjoyable and entertaining as watching a true masterpiece. I first encountered this phenomenon while watching The Sound of Thunder (at SS's insistence) in 2005. The pitiful CGI, the massive plot holes and the terrible acting all around (even poor Ben Kingsley) made for a perfect storm of cinematic ineptitude. However, at some point (I think it was the Raptoons) this incompetence flipped from repulsive to endearing. It is a 7 on the absolute value scale of film criticism. It is fitting then, that The Room is revered as the "Citizen Kane of bad movies."
Truly bad movies are bad because they have inexplicably passed through tens (perhaps hundreds) of hands before coming to fruition. Every one of these people could have derailed the entire project and deprived the world of its glory, yet somehow it survived and we are all the better for it. The Room exists solely due to director/writer/producer/actor Tommy Wiseau's deep pockets and sticktoitiveness.
The "plot" of The Room centers around a love triangle between Johnny, his girlfriend Lisa, and his best friend Mark. There are gratuitous sex scenes that last about 5 times longer than they should and feature some early 90's slow jams that are impossible not to snicker at. There is dialogue that sounds plagiarized from a middle-school One Act. There are nonsensical plot diversions and characters that are never mentioned again. There are no less than 15 aimless tracking shots along the Golden Gate bridge or other San Francisco sites. All of this would be excruciating if it weren't for Tommy Wiseau's acting which has best been described as "Borat trying to do an impression of Christopher Walken playing a mental patient."
Every line he delivers is punctuated with a bizarre chuckle, made even worse by the fact that 95% of his dialogue is dubbed over for quality control purposes (seriously). His vocal cadence makes Arnold Schwarzenegger sound like Michael Caine. He can't even make chicken sounds correctly. His complete incompetence manages to sink and salvage the film simultaneously. It is truly a sight to behold, and wholly responsible for raising (lowering?) the film to the Rocky-Horror-level cult status it currently enjoys. If you ever find yourself with 99 minutes to kill and self-esteem that needs a boost, do yourself a favor and get your hands on this film. You will never feel more successful.
ABSOLUTE VALUE SCORE: 10
(Note: Some saucy language in the video)