I’d vaguely heard of The Room and seen a few clips on YouTube, but it took the wise advice of trusted friends to get me to watch the entire movie and truly appreciate it’s great-awfulness. So, Andrew and Janet, this one is for you!
Just look at the poster. What the hell is that look? Who picked that photo? Was that the only one they took? And is he drunk? Let this set the tone for something that is so bad it’s good.
The thing that makes this movie so interesting (it’s bad, but still interesting) is it’s insane characters. Sure, their dialogue sounds like a toilet backing up onto a floor covered three inches deep in Pop Rocks, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to listen to… or does it? It’s one or the other, I forget which.
Tommy Wiseau is the architect behind this insane movie and also it’s lead actor, and he is friggin horrible. He’s by far the worst actor in the movie. By. Fucking. FAR. Also, he made me look at his weird ass, which I’m still a little pissed about.
Lisa is queen of the dysfunctional characters. Everything she says and does seems to point to bipolar disorder at best, but she’s not that well crafted, so let’s just say she’s totally crazy, a nymphomaniac and a compulsive liar.
Mark is there to advance the plot along, and that’s pretty much it.
This actor looks like David from Roseanne – I mean David from The Big Bang Theory, and the actor kinda plays the character like him, too. It’s weird, and his only real purpose in the movie is to provide the plot device that gets the gun to The Room and to illustrate what a great guy Johnny is.
Lisa’s mother provides sage, yet bitchy advice. Lisa rebels against her old fashioned brand of wisdom: “It’s not right, Lisa. I still think you should marry Johnny! Now, you can’t live on love. You need financial security.” Oh, and Claudette has cancer, but I’ll talk about that when I get to plot threads.
The Lone Shark
Or is he a drug dealer? It gets all mixed up while they’re up there on the roof yelling about exactly who he is and the conflict is between him and Denny, but Denny owes him money for something and he’s not happy that he hasn’t gotten paid yet.
The only other believable actor in the movie besides The Lone Shark is Michelle. She spouts such wisdom as, “Your point of view is so different from mine,” but we’ll get back to the dialogue later. Still, Robyn Paris found a way to deliver this crappy dialogue that made me think her character she could be a real person.
The shrink friend is another sage character who says things like, “People are people.” He seems to have a conversation with Johnny just to flesh out the movie so he’s not always talking to Mark. Yeah, essentially, Peter is here for scope.
Whew. This movie sets a new standard when it comes to dialogue. The great thing about it is how quickly discussions change course. Here’s one of my favorite moments:
Mark: How was work today?
Johnny: Oh, pretty good. We got a new client and the bank will make a lot of money.
Mark: What client?
Johnny: I cannot tell you; it’s confidential.
Mark: Aw, come on. Why not?
Johnny: No, I can’t. Anyway, how is your sex life?
See? From out in left field comes, “How is your sex life?” Johnny also doesn’t use contractions for some reason… I guess that helps illustrate to us what an upstanding citizen he is. Also, if you’re reading a screenplay and you keep seeing, ‘anyway’ pop up, that’s not a good sign – it’s about the weakest transition you’ll ever see in a movie.
Johnny: [walks into flower shop] Hi.
Flower Shop Clerk: Can I help you?
Johnny: Yeah, can I have a dozen red roses, please?
Flower Shop Clerk: Oh, hi, Johnny. I didn’t know it was you.
[grabs bouquet of roses]
Flower Shop Clerk: Here you go.
Johnny: That’s me. How much is it?
Flower Shop Clerk: It’ll be 18 dollars.
Johnny: [hands over cash] Here you go. Keep the change.
[grabs flowers and pats dog on the counter]
Johnny: Hi, doggie.
Flower Shop Clerk: You’re my favorite customer.
Johnny: Thanks a lot. Bye!
Flower Shop Clerk: Buh-bye!
He’s her favorite customer – he must be a great guy! Or he buys a lot of flowers. And when he says hi to the dog, well, you’ve never seen anything more unnatural. But he’s kind to animals! It’s character development!
I could go on and on, but I’ll just leave you with this line from Mark: “I want your body.”
Dialogue That Won’t Go Away
The following bits of dialogue rear their heads about a zillion times in this movie:
“I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
These two phrases appear in almost every scene of the movie; they’re helpful for abruptly shifting topics of conversation or when you want to end the scene completely. Sometimes they combine them, like “Look, don’t worry about it. I don’t want to talk about this anymore.”
Other stuff that comes up a lot:
My two favorite “Plot Threads To No Where” are The Breast Cancer thread and The Lone Shark thread.
Imagine your mom tells you she has breast cancer. How do you react? If you go with something like, “They’re curing more people all the time,” and immediately change the subject back to yourself, then you’re a Lisa. But doesn’t cancer seem like the sort of thing that would come up again? But it doesn’t. Not once.
Never comes up again in the entire movie.
Technically, The Lone Shark Thread is a plot device, not a plot thread, but whatever. See, Denny is on the roof playing with a basketball (?) and this guy shows up and starts yelling about money and then brandishes a gun. Mark and Johnny show up out of nowhere and disarm the guy and drag him off the roof. Claudette and Lisa materialize out of thin air and start screaming and crying, but we never see The Lone Shark again. We don’t see it, but apparently Johnny keeps the gun and puts it in a box in his room. They say they are calling the police, but I guess they didn’t… maybe they just kicked The Lone Shark out of the building and kept his gun? I don’t know… I just don’t know.
This Scene Accomplishes What Now?
There are a few scenes in the movie that demand an explanation, but here are the most obvious ones.
Mark and Johnny are jogging around San Francisco. It serves no purpose in the movie whatsoever. Maybe it’s supposed to illustrate that they are close friends, but by the time this scene occurs, that has already been mentioned by nearly every character in the movie several times.
Tossing The Basketball Around
Mike (I think that’s his name) recaps some stuff we (the audience) already saw to Johnny, who did not see it. They’re just standing in front of this cheap exterior doing nothing and then the other guys come out and they start throwing the ball around and then the guy I think is Mike falls on the ground for no reason and the scene ends. You can’t really hear anything anyone is saying, but they’re not taking about anything, so it doesn’t matter. It’s weird.
Tossing The Football Around… In Tuxedos
For some reason, all of the guys in the wedding party get together at Johnny’s and try on their tuxes like that’s a normal thing for guys to do before a wedding. Denny persuades them to go outside and throw the football around, against Peter’s objections. Of the guys present, only Denny and Mark have the slightest clue how to throw a football. Since they’re throwing the ball around, the only way to end this scene is… yep, for someone to fall on the ground. It’s Peter. Scene ends.
For the most part, it’s a good looking movie with some fine setups. But there are a few weird things here and there.
Getting Off The Roof
Why do we need to see them exit the roof every single time a scene up there ends? They’re on the roof – I get that they’re not going to stay up there forever – we don’t need to see them walk across the roof, open the door, go in the door, head down the stairs and close the door every single time. I only mention it because half the damn movie takes place on the roof and we have to endure this shot every single time a scene on the roof ends. If the movie needs to indicate that they’re going back downstairs, can’t we just see they walking toward the door? I can figure out what happens when the get there on my own.
The ‘Mark Shaved’ Camera Move
When Mark shows up for the weird tux party, he has shaved off his beard and they do this camera move (it’s a very soap opera zoom) like it’s supposed to mean something but it doesn’t mean anything at all – did Lisa mention she hates the beard and I missed it? I just assumed the actor got another job and had to shave it off for that reason.
Establishing San Francisco
The establishing shots of San Francisco never end! They start the movie, they show up after almost every scene to establish the next one and they last for way too long. I found myself yelling at the screen, “I know where you fucking are, damn it!”
Black comedy my ass!
The Room is shockingly bad, but at it’s core, it’s a story that is easy to understand: man loves fiance and has best friend; fiance seduces best friend; best friend betrays man by having affair with fiance, fiance leaves man, man kills himself with the gun he took off his ward’s loan shark. Simple. The movie sucks, there’s no question about that, but The Room weaves a weird hypnotic spell and you won’t be able to look away!
I guess it’s more fun to watch cars crash into each other then to pass them after the wreck has already happened.
More Movies So Bad They’re Good at creativejamie.com/tag/movies-so-bad-theyre-good/