Trailer Trash: Tommy Wiseau’s The Room


Words || Aprill Miles

We all know movies that are so bad that they are good. The Room is not one of those movies. Touted as the Citizen Kane of bad movies, The Room transcends normal limits of bad into a realm of terrible movies where it reigns supreme. Released in 2003, this film is the prolonged ego-wank of Tommy Wiseau. Wiseau, a maybe French and possibly Polish man (he’s notoriously shady about his personal history), directed, produced, wrote and acted in the film as Johnny, a successfulbanker who lives with his fiancé Lisa (Juliette Danielle) and has a fetish for framed pictures of spoons. When viewed alone the movie is, much like the tumor-esque appearance of Wiseaus muscles in the torturously long sex scenes, disjointed. Major plot points seem to drop in and out of the movie with little to no recognition or follow through from the characters.

For example, Denny (Philip Haldiman), a young street scallywag that Johnny takes under his Nice Guy wing, almost gets shot for not paying his drug dealer. The dealer gets taken to jailby Johnny and his best friend Mark (Greg Sestero) and we never hear about it again. Lisas mother nonchalantly mentions she has breast cancer and we hear about it again. Mark almost throws a mutual friend of his and Johnnys off the obviously green screened roof and, yes you guessed it, WE NEVER HEAR ABOUT IT AGAIN. The only constant theme of the movie is what a Nice Guy Johnny is, and how evil Lisa is for sleeping with and falling in love with Mark. The acting is terrible across the board, but Wiseau in particular gives a performance that is baffling at best. His emotional range only includes completely inappropriate chuckles at mentions of domestic violence and his attempts at ‘anguished screaming’ that come off about as angry as you feel when you discover a small fries in your Macca’s order when you asked for medium. If you endeavour to watch this film by yourself, then please update your emergency contact list and tell your loved ones not to worry when you act like youve been lobotomised after viewing.

Cavernous plot-holes aside, watching The Room in a cinema is socially breathtaking. When I entered the Hayden Orpheum with my tiny envelope of tickets I expected the place to be relatively empty. They show this movie once a month so I thought whoever had already seen it probably wouldnt be back. I was wrong. So wrong. The session I was in was sold out, the line to get into the cinema was 15 minutes long and there were literally people sitting in the aisles. I was handed a pack of plastic spoons and a program on my way in that detailed the rulesof the viewing. One of these Rocky Horror Picture Picture Show-style participatory rules dictated that whenever you see those stupid framed pictures of spoons on screen (trust me, there are many) you must hurl your spoons at the screen. I kid you not, there were ELEVEN THOUSAND SPOONS. The cinema handed out eleven thousand spoons and there were people who brought their own, so only the great Wiseau in the sky knows just how many tiny plastic spoons littered that theatre by the end of the showing.

My cinema viewing of THE ROOM was like going to a church where 300 people ironically worshiped at the altar of Wiseau. They laughed ironically when he laughed and they screamed ironically when he screamed. There were sweet, soft reprieves of mass clucking and chirping whenever Wiseau called another character a chicken. But then there was another shot of a framed spoon and plastic spoons erupted around me like fireworks, cascading around my ears and into your lap. I have never seen a worse movie in all my short life, but I also have never had as much fun in a cinema as I did that night. There are few things that will ever bring me as much joy as throwing fistfuls of plastic spoons at Wiseaus Snape-on-quaaludes face or chirping and flapping my hands along with 300 other irreverent mid-to-late twenty-somethings. I have never been to a theatre session more rowdy or enthralling and I cant wait to go back and do it all over again.  

The Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace in Cremorne screens an interactive viewing of The Room on the first Friday of every month.