My sincere apologies to anyone expecting an erudite discussion of the works of E.M. Forster. This is not even close. Move along.
I recently had the opportunity to
watch experience a screening of the 2003 film The Room, by Tommy Wiseau. Having read that, you’re now in one of two groups: Those of you who involuntarily cringed, and those who are still blissfully unaware of just how wrong a movie can be. To the former, I offer the haunted gaze that can only be shared by souls who have seen too much (Mr Wiseau’s backside comes all to quickly to mind). I salute your sacrifice with a barrage of plastic spoons, and return my attention to the uninitiated. Assuming anyone made it through this paragraph.
Several of our friends had been exposed to The Room before. My attendance was based heavily on their assurance that this was one of the worst movies ever to grace the Silver Screen. I wasn’t disappointed. I had a great time. The acting was wooden, with dialogue ranging from inane to inept. The lead characters were inherently unlikable, but otherwise inconsistent. I would likely call the plot awkward and convoluted, if I was convinced it existed at all. The audience was fantastic.
It’s tempting to say The Room has a cult-following, we just have to imagine a cult in which the members follow their messiah around for the sole purpose of mocking him. You see, the single redeeming element of this film is the array of interactive mini-games which have grown up around it.
[Disclaimer: On entry to the theatre, we were given a Viewing Guide, outlining many of the more popular crowd activities. The following is heavily paraphrased from this...]
Much of the artwork scattered around the titular room features spoons. Whenever one of these works appears on-screen you yell Spoon! and hurl plastic spoons at the screen. Throughout the film expect to be showered in plastic, which makes this entire exercise replenishing! As the night drags on, people will throw spoons out of boredom, even if the scene doesn’t require it.
Used to herald the arrival of the tragic kidult. Also, every time Denny leaves the scene, it is proper to shout Good-bye Denny!
The film is constantly going in and out of focus. Whenever the film loses focus, people shout Focus! and Curse you Todd Barron! (Director of photography). Of course, when it does come back into focus during a sex scene, it is necessary to shout Oh God! Unfocus!
“BECAUSE YOU’RE A WOMAN!”
Yelled after pretty much anything that regards a female character. This started off as a dig at the films casual misogyny (there are a half-dozen places where it works and is hilarious) but quickly spiralled into a non-sequitur that can be dumped after anything.
“GO! GO! GO!”
Used to cheer on the multiple tracking shots of the bridge. Celebrate when it makes it all the way across. Express your disappointment when it doesn’t.
“WHERE ARE WE?”
Suitable during any of the film’s cutaways to city scenes, which don’t actually add anything to the setting or narrative.
“WHO THE #$%! ARE YOU?”
Whenever new characters take center stage (or join in the conversation) without any explanation or identity.
During several scenes, the characters throw a football around. You do likewise with your friends. [Noted on the Viewing Guide: Since you are drunk and in a darkened movie theatre, this usually goes awry. Don't hit the screen or I will #$%!ing end you!]
Is both decidedly odd and delivered at inappropriate moments, and should be mocked mercilessly.
TOUCH OF EVIL
Lisa’s (the leading lady) mother has an annoying tendency of tapping her on the nose in a condescending manner. Touch of Evil! and similar remarks are generally used at these moments.
You know what? I could spend a long time harping on about this film. Far too long. But honestly, I don’t want to do this to myself any more. I dare say the internet is home to more than enough reviews/critiques/stunned silences in response to this film.
If you’re old enough to endure a few cringe-worth sex scenes and some equally dodgy acts of violence: go see The Room. In a cinema. With people who’ve seen it before. Have a drink or two first if that’s your thing – you’ll need it.
Now, if anyone wants me, I’ll be scrubbing at my skin until the dirty feeling goes away.
P.S. I should briefly point out that this particular event was at Brisbane’s Tribal Theatre. The theatre has been operating on this site – under various names – since 1910, and is likely worthy of a much fuller post in its own right. Sadly, I understand we were party to one of its last ever screenings, due to changes in ownership and [business-related jargon].
I hear the site will remain for hire, but not being a heritage-listed building, there’s no certainty about how long it will survive. It would be a shame to lose such a fun little place, even if my initial impressions from the foyer were “Hippies took up residence in a classy, possibly haunted theatre”.