72. The Room
The Room is a masterpiece of terrible proportions. Just over 90 minutes, none of the movie makes sense. I’ll try to describe the plot, but there isn’t much of one.
There are several main characters:
Johnny, played by writer/director/producer Tommy Wiseau
Lisa, played by Juliette Danielle
Mark, played by Greg Sestero
Johnny and Lisa are going to be married. However, Lisa doesn’t love Johnny, and cheats on him with his best friend (in a number of gratuitous sex scenes). Lisa’s mother thinks she should stay with Johnny for financial reasons (in her words, Lisa cannot support herself). Lisa mentions something about how the computer business is so competitive. Johnny seems to work at some sort of bank. He also supports Denny, who is “like a son” to him.
That’s about it. But somehow it lasts over an hour. The first 20 minutes or so are colored by really unnecessary nudity, and they kind of make sense. The rest of the movie is spent repeating plot points, introducing random new characters and…well, you kinda need to see it for yourself.
Wiseau filmed the movie in both HD and 35mm. Why? Because he wanted to have all of the “information” possible. Now that he is an expert on the two formats, he is planning to “release a DVD documentary about HD and 35mm comparisons. And also write a book about it.”
On the DVD that I watched, there was a lovely interview with writer/actor/producer/director Wiseau. He mentions many of the “challenges [he] had to conquer.” I transcribed some of it here. It’s pretty telling about the mood of the film.
Q: Is The Room for everyone?
W: No…You cannot get it the first time. [The film] relates too many issues, like relationship, love, betrayal, sex, drugs, etc…And you may not like it, but you will learn something. Entertainment is…it’s a process of learning.
[This might be valid if it was spoken about any other film.]
Q: Why are the characters playing football in tuxedoes, and why just three feet apart?
W: I think that people should realize that playing football, without any gear, and a special big huge field – it’s fun! So you can play football in tuxedoes, you can play it three feet apart, and the idea is to have fun. So I would recommend, to anyone, to try it.
At the end of his interview, Wiseau drops this gem on all of us:
“The Room teaches us what not to do. To be a better person. If a lot of people love each other, the world will be a better place to live. Thank you very much.”
HERE I am featuring an exclusive interview with “The Room” aficionado Marcus Jelks.
Eliza: So, Marcus. How many times have you seen “The Room?”
Marcus: Six times in the past two weeks. I exposed it to 26 different people in that time frame. Each and every person loved it.
E: What does The Room say to you, when it speaks?
M: Phew. That’s an excellent question.
I feel like Henry David Thoreau, and it speaks to me like transcendence, and I feel like the universe, when it speaks. It is so incompetently made, yet – it reaches an almost astrophysical level of sincerity that overcomes its glaring, glaring – I hesitate to say flaws – issues.
E: What is your favorite scene?
M: When Johnny and Mark are in a coffeeshop and Mark asks about [Johnny’s] new bank customer. It seems like it was an impromptu question and the writer/director didn’t have a backstory for it…but Tommy Wiseau salvages it with an awkward segue about Mark’s sex life.
E: And how do you feel about Lisa (the cheating “future wife”)?
M: I feel that her motivation is weak at best, regardless of her mother’s unfortunate breast cancer. But is there not a kernel of truth about the negative consequences of selfish behavior?
E: Thank you.
M: No, thank you. Watch it again. Sleep on it. You really need to sleep on it.