The Room - 2003
Director(s): Tommy Wiseau
Writer(s): Tommy Wiseau
Cinematography by: Todd Barron
Editor(s): Eric Chase
Cast: Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Juliette Danielle and Robyn Paris
Synopsis: All American Johnny is caught in a lethal love triangle as his fiancé starts a love affair with his best friend.
This movie has been bouncing around now for fifteen years now. It’s widely known as “the best bad movie ever made”. In my eyes, it’s not (Faithful Findings), but one can’t argue with that being a great selling point. Maybe you heard of it from a friend, co-worker or a family member who is crazy about this movie. You probably heard of it thanks to 2017’s The Disaster Artist, a behind-the-scenes look at the making of it, seen through the eyes of the star, writer, producer and director Tommy Wiseau. I saw it maybe four or five years back thanks to a co-worker. Ever since, my wife and I have enjoyed watching it every now and again, to revel in this masterpiece of cinema. Recently it got a wide release and I thought I might as well write a review
Sorry, I forgot to use my sarcasm font. I hope this review isn't too confusing.
The story is a modern retelling of Charles Dicken’s A Tale of Two Cities. We follow Johnny, an All-American boy living on top of the world. He is up for a promotion, he has friends around him that love him and he has, in his eyes, the perfect fiancé. But, his fiancé Lisa is unhappy with the life they are living and is having second thoughts about their upcoming marriage. She starts a torrid affair with his BEST FRIEND, Mark. It all leads to a deadly confrontation in which Johnny, now fed up with the world that continues to betray him (he also didn’t get the promotion), decides to “permanently” step out of the way of the love Mark and Lisa have bloomed. Powerful stuff.
Wiseau is also a proponent of showing the audience and not telling them anything. Literally anything. We are never told how long Johnny and Lisa have been together. Or what Johnny’s profession is. Or how long Mark and Johnny have been BEST FRIENDS and why they became friends in the first place. There is a set of characters who appear and disappear without a sense of their place in the story. Storylines like a drug deal gone wrong and a cancer diagnostication of his mother in law that all lead to nowhere… if you don’t think about it. But all are part of the bigger picture Wiseau is painting. He fully trusts his audience to decipher this master-class puzzle he has constructed for any true lover of cinema. What does it all mean? No really, I’m asking.
Wiseau is also a master at symbolism. Nothing is by mistake, nothing is random. What is a spoon to the normal person? Well, if you Google the definition you may get; “an implement consisting of a small, shallow oval or round bowl on a long handle, used for eating, stirring, and serving food.” But, when Wiseau sees a spoon he sees a metaphor of Johnny. How he holds up Lisa financially and emotionally. How he carries Danny through school and the mean, mean streets of San Francisco. Johnny is the spoon shown in the picture frames throughout the entire movie.
The acting. Yeah.
Seeing this movie on the big screen was a pure joy. I hadn’t laughed during a screening this much in a long time. The fans know the beats and interact with the movie, making it even more fun. Wiseau didn’t set out to make this a cult classic, “so bad it’s good” movie, but watching the fandom grow and the joy spread has a been a treat. The Room is one of the few movies of its ilk that has been cemented in our Zeitgeist and after you finish watching it you will know why. Spoons is why I love movies.
The Room is currently available to stream through VOD. Buy it, love it and share it.
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