THE ROOM (2003)

Review by Derrick Carter

Running Time: 1 hour 39 minutes

MPAA Rating: R for Sexuality, Language and brief Violence

Directed by: Tommy Wiseau

Written by: Tommy Wiseau

Starring: Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Juliette Danielle, Philip Haldiman, Carolyn Minnott, Robyn Paris & Scott Holmes

THE ROOM is widely considered to be one of the worst movies ever made. It’s also one of the most entertaining so-bad-it’s-good movies ever made. The film was executive produced, produced, written, and directed by oddball Tommy Wiseau. Wiseau also stars as the story’s protagonist and based the screenplay on actual experiences from his life. Putting it bluntly, THE ROOM is a trainwreck of cinema. On a technical level, it’s bafflingly inept. In terms of acting, this features some of the worst performances ever put to the screen. Regarding the screenplay, it’s both repetitive and messily ambitious at the same time. Yet, somehow, THE ROOM is entirely watchable as an awesome anti-movie!

Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) is a banker living in a San Francisco townhouse with his fiancé Lisa (Juliette Danielle). Johnny’s life is pretty great. He loves his girlfriend so much and everybody loves Johnny, but that changes when Lisa develops an interest in Johnny’s best friend Mark (Greg Sestero). The two start a torrid love affair behind Johnny’s back and tragic events soon spiral out of control. Lots of melodrama and unintentional laughs ensue.

THE ROOM’s plot is simple to the point of being repetitive. We are forced to sit through five different scenes of Lisa talking to her concerned mother (Carolyn Minnott) and these conversations never once contribute to the plot in a meaningful way. The film also indulges in gratuitous sex scenes that are about as unsexy as sex scenes can possibly be. Maybe, this is the result of crappy songs that play over each “erotic” moment or the fact that Johnny doesn’t seem to know where to aim when he’s thrusting. He’s either too high (her belly button) or too low (between her legs and into the sheets) depending on the shot. Also, Lisa and Mark have sex on a spiral staircase, which seems like it would be a chiropractor’s payday!

Besides having ridiculously repetitive moments, THE ROOM also has scenes that come right the hell out of nowhere for no apparent reason and are pointless to the story. A hysterically bad 30 seconds shows Johnny visiting a flower shop to purchase roses for Lisa because we apparently needed to know the backstory behind those roses. Another scene has Johnny engaging in a one-minute conversation at a coffee shop and then ditching his best friend midway through the conversation. I also didn’t forget the two random strangers making out in Johnny’s apartment and an infamous game of “football” (it’s really catch with a football) in tuxedos.

To further clutter THE ROOM’s already messy script, the film frequently introduces subplots and then instantly forgets them mere seconds later. Lisa’s mom reveals that she has cancer in their second conversation and this is never mentioned again. It’s not brought up in passing and the mother seems surprisingly calm about suffering from a potentially life-threatening disease. Another hilarious out-of-nowhere storyline has “innocent” apartment dweller Denny (Philip Haldiman) getting involved with drugs and a man with a gun, but this is never brought up again either.

It should come as no surprise that THE ROOM has godawful acting. The centerpiece of the show is oddball Tommy Wiseau as Johnny. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Wiseau is the worst actor ever to hit a screen…big or small. He’s absolutely 100% terrible and it’s a blast to watch for all the wrong reasons. None of his line delivery works and his emotional moments are unintentionally hysterical. Tommy Wiseau is a living meme and I kind of love that about him. This guy seems like an escaped mental patient who directed, wrote and starred in a movie. We get the pleasure of seeing what he churned out.

The supporting actors and actresses all out in some of the worst movie performances too. Greg Sestero is over-the-top naïve as Mark, while Juliette Danielle (who couldn’t be bothered to dye her eyebrows to match her blonde hair) acts like a stereotypical sociopath. Apparently, Wiseau based the character of Lisa on an ex-girlfriend and you can definitely see his resentment for that real-life person in this character. The creepiest performance belongs to Philip Haldiman as Denny. Denny comes off like a future serial killer in the making and almost (the key word being almost) outshines Wiseau in a few big scenes. The script’s poorly written dialogue doesn’t aid any of this acting either. Some conversations don’t even match up with what’s already being said and certain lines don’t seem like they would ever escape the mouth of a human being.

THE ROOM has understandably become a cult movie for being so-bad-it’s-good. I’d rank this film as my second favorite bad movie of all-time (the first being TROLL 2) because it’s utterly amazing to behold. Not one second of acting, writing, or filmmaking is remotely believable or competent in the slightest. Great/good films suck a viewer into their world and entrance them with a cinematic story, while THE ROOM is so fascinatingly bad that it keeps the viewer thinking about the acting, directing and writing at all times. The illusion of storytelling is shattered and replaced with laughter from beginning to end at this film’s ineptness. THE ROOM is a terrifically terrible movie that comes heartily recommended. This is a failure of filmmaking that demands to be seen to be believed.

Grade: F

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