RETRO REVIEW: The Room

There is something to be said about movies that are so bad that they actually become good. That despite being fundamentally broken, they somehow captivate and endear themselves to their audience, and are then elevated to cult-classic status.

One such of these films is none other than The Room, written, produced and directed by the one and only Tommy Wiseau.

Wiseau plays Johnny, a man who has it all: a stable job, a fiancée, Lisa (played by Juliette Danielle), and a best friend, Mark (played by Greg Sestero).

Now, this film is cited by many as the “best” worst movie ever made, even being described as “The Citizen Kane of bad movies.”

With that in mind, I knew from the minute Wiseau exclaimed his first line, “Hi, babe,” I was in for a treat.

I honestly lack the necessary vocabulary to describe how this man stumbles through his own film.

He speaks and forms words in such a bizarre manner, not at all helped by his strange, unrecognizable accent.

It’s also painfully obvious that he dubbed some of his lines in during editing as his lips sometimes don’t quite match up with what he is saying.

He has a verbal tic by way of a quick laugh that he does after what seems like every line, not to mention his repetitive greeting of “Oh, hi” that he says to every character the second they appear on screen.

And he dresses like a business-casual Undertaker… Wiseau is an enigma, if I’ve ever seen one.

The same can honestly be said of the rest of the cast as well, since the acting is nonexistent.

There are, at most, two actors who actually try. But for the most part, it’s like watching robots try to act like regular people when they themselves have only an inkling of how humans really act.

They come and go throughout the scenes without any real sense of purpose. Their exaggerated moods often shift suddenly and they don’t react to events naturally.

Their dialogue is repetitive as well. For example, how do you know that Mark is Johnny’s best friend? Because it is referenced several times over by the characters themselves.

It’s also full of non-sequiturs and laughably strange lines like “I feel like I’m sitting on an atomic bomb waiting for it to go off!”

One line that never fails to make me laugh… In response to Lisa throwing Johnny a birthday party, he tells her:

“Thank you, honey, this is a beautiful party. You invited all of my friends, good thinking!

Like, what? Who else is she going to invite?!

The writing is undeniably atrocious. There’s a skeleton of a story, with subplots that go nowhere, or are abandoned as the film progresses.

The camerawork is sloppy, with some scenes beginning out of focus, before refocusing as the scene changes.

It’s all obviously phoned in, and it’s all. So. Wonderful. (Good emphasis here!)

There are so many strange technical decisions, too. For example, the actor who plays Peter, Kyle Vogt, had to leave during filming due to prior commitments. So what does Wiseau do?

He gives the rest of Peter’s lines to a character named Steven, played by Greg Ellery, who shows up out of nowhere without any introduction in the last fifteen or so minutes of the film.

Design-wise, Wiseau insisted on building a set designed to look like the alleyway that was right outside the lot instead of just using the actual alleyway.

You can’t write this, it’s so mind-bogglingly perfect!

As I come to the end of this review, I feel it’s necessary to give this film two ratings instead of one due to its nature.

One rating is looking at it objectively, gaging the story, camerawork, writing, etc. The other rating is based on enjoyment, as the role of a film is also to entertain.

Objective Rating: D+

Enjoyment Rating: A

The movie fails on nearly every level, but there’s such an odd charm to just how incompetent it is, it’s absolutely fascinating.

It gets the plus because Wiseau tried so hard to make a good movie with compelling characters and a hard-hitting story, but he ended up creating the exact opposite.

I could ramble on and on about how other-worldly this film is, but for the sake of brevity, I would highly recommend watching The Room and experiencing it all for yourself, there is honestly nothing else like it in the world.