What The Film!? is a weekly column exclusive to Under The Gun Review that brings to light the general fuckery Hollywood hoped you’d never notice. Written by Dane Sager, this column shows no mercy to films that try and pull the proverbial wool over our eyes.
If you know a film with major plot holes or those that make you scratch your eyes out, tell us! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “What The Film” and we’ll try to get your suggestion featured on the site.
What can you say about The Room that hasn’t already been said? It takes the so bad it’s good style of film making and runs with it further than Forrest Gump‘s title character’s three year coast-to-coast marathon. While writer/director Tommy Wiseau insists that the movie was made poorly intentionally and that its faults are meant to be comic (similar to the canceled-too-soon television series Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place), cast members have done anonymous interviews saying otherwise. ”He is full of shit. He was trying to put together a drama. It was basically his stage to show off his acting ability.”
Writer/Director/Actor/Auteur Tommy Wiseau originally planned to create The Room as a play, which explains why it seems to take place almost entirely in one small apartment. While having problems with getting that version together, he re-wrote it as a five hundred page novel (which ultimately he couldn’t get published, for obvious reasons).
Pushed to his limits, he decided to make The Room into a movie, shooting it for six million dollars and with two different formats; 35 mm and HD video. He chose ironically chose San Francisco as a shooting location, stating “San Francisco offers diversity of people and scenery” despite the fact that you almost never see anything outside of the small apartment.
Over the course of production, actors and actresses were replaced constantly. The actor playing Mark was switched from helping on production to a staring role the day of shooting. Mark and Johnny’s love interest Lisa was recast after her original actress left the film. Peter left after only a part of his scenes were shot and in the final act his lines are given to a new character who gets introduced. Characters, plot lines, plot points, and even props are brought into the movie only to disappear without being mentioned ever again. Wait a minute, wasn’t there a major movie that did this exact same thing recently?
The fact is that for every fault this movie has (and it has a lot), it makes up for it in spades. The Room is one of the most entertaining movies I’ve ever seen. It has to be seen to believed. I saw this movie for the first time this past Tuesday at Atlanta’s famous Plaza Theatre and had no idea what to expect. I’ve seen Birdemic, I own a copy of Manos: The Hands Of Fate, and I’ve seen Batman & Robin more than any other comic book movie combined.
This movie is nothing without its audience. It not only has an audience, it has a dedicated cult to it. It’s like those people that worship the McRib except with less heart disease and people losing their feet to diabetes. These people make this movie. There are lines memorized, spoons and footballs thrown around, songs sung, and much more. There is so much going on that you don’t even realize half the problems the movie has. There was a scene where Mark tries to kill Peter and when Johnny stops him, they all resume their prior conversation without ever acknowledging what just happened. I didn’t realize this till days later.
People can complain about problems with Jurassic Park or The Dark Knight Rises (why did he paint a flaming bat-logo? If he had a spotter while climbing out of the prison, why didn’t the spotter keep the rope taut so he wouldn’t fall so much?) but the fact is that there was enough going on in these movie to keep you invested. There are so many miniscule and tiny things that occur in movies that add to your enjoyment that you aren’t consciously aware of it, you just know you like it. The Room‘s audience adds so much atmosphere and entertainment that major plot failures disappear.
Thomas Lennon (of Reno! 911 fame, although he did have a small role in The Dark Knight Rises) said that anyone passionate enough to write about movies regularly would clearly want to be involved in the movie making process and would harbor resentment towards those that succeed. It could be subconscious or it could be obvious, but it’s there. Is this why there’s so many people who disparage this movie? It’s very likely, considering Tommy Wiseau has made one of the best cult-movies of all time. He’s even working with Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim on a new television show. Tommy Wiseau has pulled off the dream, albeit unintentionally. He wrote/directed/starred in a movie that is still regularly being played in theaters ten years later because he screwed it up and failed in such a perfect way. It’s a game changer that is likely never going to be repeated. Like Heidi Montag’s career, most people’s failures disappear; damning them to obscurity, but Tommy blew up in a way that makes our failures look bad. His failure made it big.
If I get one movie request out to you that you take seriously, it’s The Room. Seriously, run to the Plaza Theatre now. Or a closer theater if you don’t live in Atlanta.