Saw "The Room" last month the Landmark Sunshine Cinema theater in NYC for the first time (where it plays the first Saturday of every month). I wish I could talk about the movie but I can mostly comment on the audience I was with reacting to "The Room," although I was still able to get about 65-70% of the dialogue (but not the classic 'You're tearing me apart, Lisa'
, which got drowned by the entire theater saying it in unison). Sitting to the right of me was a young man who kept shouting spur-of-the-moment inanities (sample: 'Lisa, you whore!'
) and clapping at his own pace. To the left of me was a veteran "Room" watcher along with his new-to-this-experience friends that had timed and honed his shouts with such perfect timing (about 4-5 seconds before the actual scene appeared) to maximize their impact that his 'its 28, time to get up'
line, for example, literally brought the house down. And that's "The Room" in a nutshell: an experience that's been taken over by midnight movie watchers of this generation like others in decades past did with "Rocky Horror Picture Show" and similar unintentionally-fun drecks. By the first half-hour I was throwing spoons at the screen (not my own but one's that landed on my lap or I picked from the floor) and even landed a couple of well-received zingers. If I want to watch the movie proper I'll have to rent/buy the DVD (and soon Blu-ray), but then it probably won't be as fun alone in the house without the theater crowd unless I download the Rifftrax commentary
But why "The Room" someone asked? Why not another of the many dime-a-dozen disposable bad and/or Skinemax flicks (and make no mistake about it, "The Room" qualifies as soft-porn based on its first half-hour alone)? For one, because there's a romantic tringle (sort-of) at the center of its story the movie attracts more females than your average horror/sci-fi midnight attraction. Then there's Tommy Wiseau. This is clearly Tommy's baby, his pain about relationships, his vanity about how he perceives himself and thinks others perceive him (like Lisa's mother gushing about Johnny being a great catch) and his ego (I wrote/produced/directed/starred in this!, like Chris Carter's vanity card in "The X-Files") that are on full display in "The Room." That Wiseau is tunnel vision-blind enough to cast himself as the lead (and show more nude backside than Juliette Danielle's) and surround himself with non-actors that cannot overshadow his lack of thesp skills (or any other skills whatsoever) is what truly sets "The Room" apart from most disposable flicks that cast and photograph pretty people being sexy for sexy's sake. Along with the flick's legion of flaws (bad acting, bad set design, bad green screen work, bad dialogue, bad establishing shots of San Francisco repeated endlessly, bad character development/motivation/personality for everyone in the cast, etc.) "The Room" also has the modern day feel of Tommy's Ed Wood Jr.-like mindset at work in achieving his non-native English speaking goals at any cost. This sincerity and true 'auteur' vision (Wiseau's and nobody else's) separates "The Room" from the crowd by injecting the whole thing with an appreciation for the ridiculous that's both laughable but also appreciated. There cannot be a "Room" phenomenon without an audience appreciative of the fun it brings to those that watch it. It's symbiotics, which is as plausible an explantion for the movie's midnight movie afterlife as to where the six million production budget went.