The Room

Year: 2003
Production Co: Chloe Productions
Director: Tommy Wiseau
Writer: Tommy Wiseau
Cast: Tommy Wiseau, Juliette Danielle

In our post-modern world where everyone's aware of a movie's quality without even having seen it, this film has a reputation so far and above its intentions and the craft that went into it I'm half convinced the lack of quality was intentional. Like Plan 9 From Outer Space, even single technical aspect of filmmaking on show here is so laughable the film's generated a groundswell of ironic kitsch fandom.

The acting is risible. The staging is clunky. The dialogue is awe-inspiringly bad. The continuity is woeful. The plotting is bewildering. The characters are laughable. The leading man is so creepy with his half closed eye, long hair, creepy forced laugh and torture-porn Eastern European accent he'd make a more effective slasher film villain than a romantic lead. Even the title of the film makes no sense. What the hell room is it supposed to be about?

Tommy (writer/director/star/probable Romanian drug runner) Wiseau imported and sold leather jackets to finance this film. He spent six million dollars on it, and you can see about three hundred of it on the screen. He's even used recycled footage from one sex scene to the next, as if they weren't already like car crashes compelling your attention even though you desperately want to look away.

It's the story of bank clerk Johnny (Wiseau) and his fiancé Lisa (Danielle, who probably made up a second name to sound like a first name so nobody knew who she really was), a skank who doesn't love him, sleeps with his best friend and puts it about that he hits her.

Surrounding them is a bunch of secondary characters who make as little sense as each other no matter how important they are to various subplots. There's the creepy teenage friend of Lisa and Johnny's who always wants to hang around their house, even sneaking upstairs to watch them start to get it on and prompting little more than a pat on the head and a 'run along, scamp' laugh from them all.

Then there's the drug dealer the kid buys dope from, who Johnny and Mark promptly bang up and take to jail (that's the end of that story). Then there's Lisa's mother, who's trying to convince Lisa Johnny's the man to marry and is curiously unfazed by her breast cancer diagnosis. Then there are the myriad scenes of Johnny buying flowers, the guys throwing around a football and various machinations of the characters lives which have nothing to do with the main narrative (like we have any idea what that's supposed to be about to begin with).

It's so bad it can only be enjoyed in a large room (or cinema) with friends or like-minded fans to pillory it on a mass scale. If you're watching it on DVD or alone, the next best thing is this message board on the Internet Movie Database (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368226/board/flat/134486357?p=2). But with a meme that calls it 'the Citizen Kane of bad movies' floating through the cultural ether, I still harbour a suspicion Wiseau knew exactly what he was doing. Maybe it was his bid for a green card.

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