If you’ve heard of it, well, you’ve heard of it—Julie had when I mentioned it to her. If not, it is a movie that is so bad that it’s actually a masterpiece of bad filmmaking.
The Room, which came out in 2003, was basically the giant vanity project of one Tommy Wiseau, a weird-looking middle-aged dude with long black hair and an accent that sounds kind of Eastern European, although he won’t tell anyone where he’s from. Some people have speculated that he’s an alien, which…actually would explain a lot. He financed the movie himself, by importing leather jackets from Korea or something, and for years, the movie had a billboard in a prominent place in LA. Eventually, people started going to see it in the one theater where it was playing, and when some famous people started spreading the word about it, it really took off. Now they do midnight showings, Rocky Horror-style, in theaters across the country. People throw plastic spoons whenever the movie’s framed pictures of spoons come onscreen and yell out lines. Julie and I went to a screening back in October and it was a lot of fun!
Julie and I have been trying to get more people to see it, but, funny thing, people don’t generally react with enthusiasm when you say, “I just saw the worst movie of all time! You should definitely see it!”
So I figured I needed a better way to convince people to see it. And what better way than by doing a blog post recapping the movie in all its laughably bad glory? So, without further ado, I present:
Katie Recaps The Room
First, we get vanity production studio graphic for “Wiseau Films” and some dramatic music that sounds like something from a video game. Then we open with some establishing stock footage of San Francisco. There will be a lot of this throughout the movie, although it doesn’t really matter that it takes place there—it could take place anywhere. This movie stars, is directed by, is produced by, is executive produced by, and is written by Tommy Wiseau.
Who’s Tommy Wiseau, you ask? Why, he’s this guy.
He sounds as strange as he looks, too—weird, vague Eastern European accent that sounds even weirder saying the lines you will soon hear him say.
And here comes the first line.
“Hi, babe. I’ve something for you!” Tommy Wiseau’s character Johnny, you see, has just arrived home to give his future wife Lisa a gift. (I say “future wife” because this movie is, for some reason, allergic to the word “fiancée.” It’s always “future husband” and “future wife.”) It turns out to be a red dress, and Lisa goes upstairs to try it on, then comes down the spiral staircase wearing it. Johnny: “Wow! You look so sexy , Lisa.”
OKAY. Now, before I get any further with this, I need to introduce….THE ROOM DRINKING GAME. The rules include drinking any time any one of these things happen:
- One character says to another, “Oh hai ______.”
- Johnny says, “That’s the idea.”
- Someone comments on how hot Lisa looks
- Any characters throw a football
- A plot thread is dropped
- There’s an awkward sex scene
- Lisa and her mom have the same conversation they just had in the last scene
- Johnny poorly imitates a chicken by going, “Cheep cheep cheep!” instead of “Bawk bawk bawk!”
So we’re less than a minute in, and already we’ve had one drink. We’ll have another in two seconds when their neighbor Denny, who’s about eighteen, enters and Johnny greets him with an “oh hai Denny.” Denny compliments Lisa on the dress, then asks how much it costs. They tell him not to ask a question like that, but if you think that’s socially awkward, just wait until the next scene.
Johnny says he’s going upstairs to take a nap. Denny asks if he can come, too, but Lisa says she’s going to join him. So Denny stands there eating an apple for a second before deciding to, uh, come upstairs and join Johnny and Lisa in the little pillow fight they’re having. Why? “I just like to watch you guys.” Rather than get creeped the fuck out by this kid who likes to watch them, they just laugh and tell him that three’s a crowd. When it dawns on Denny that they want to be alone, Johnny says, “That’s the idea.” (Drink!)
So Denny leaves, and next we have a really long, awkward sex scene (Drink!) that goes on for about four minutes and involves some terrible editing in which Lisa’s hair goes from up to down to back up. Meanwhile, some obscure slow jam plays on the soundtrack.
The next morning, Johnny wakes up and quite literally smells the roses before we get a completely gratuitous shot of his naked ass as he gets up. Johnny says goodbye to Lisa before leaving for work.
Then Lisa’s mother Claudette comes over and after saying hi to her daughter says, “Let’s go to the couch and we will sit down,” which is not the kind of thing you normally say out loud. Lisa then complains that she’s tired of Johnny because he’s…boring. Because he….buys her things and is going to buy a house, apparently. Claudette, who is apparently not much of a feminist, tells Lisa, “He supports you, he provides for you, and darling, you can’t support yourself.” She reminds Lisa of all the things Johnny has bought her, that his position is secure, that he’s getting a promotion, etc. This is the same conversation Lisa and Claudette will have a zillion times throughout the movie, so…Drink! Then, as quickly as she came, Claudette has to leave.
Lisa then sits in a chair next to, uh, framed pictures of spoons (yeah, that’s not even the weirdest thing in this movie) and calls someone who we later learn is Johnny’s best friend Mark. She complains about how her mother wants to control her life, then says, I kid you not, “I’m gonna do what I want to do and that’s it. What do you think I should do?” Mark doesn’t know what she should do, but they do make plans to see each other the next day.
More San Francisco. Then the doorbell rings and it’s the next day, apparently, and Mark comes over. He sits down and Lisa starts caressing him and pouring wine. She says it’s hot in there before taking off her sweater to reveal a strapless dress. Mark: “I mean, the candles, the music, the sexy dress…what’s going on here?” Uh…there are no candles, the only music is on the soundtrack, and the dress ain’t that sexy. Lisa replies, “I like you very much, lover. Boy.” That’s exactly how she says it, too, with a pause in the middle. Mark reminds her that Johnny is his best friend and he and Lisa will be married the next month, but while Mark resists, Lisa’s declarations that she loves him and not Johnny eventually lead to them having sex on the spiral staircase as another random slow jam plays. Which looks…really uncomfortable. And, drink!
Afterwards, Mark reminds us AGAIN that Johnny is his best friend and asks Lisa why she did this to him, as if he had no choice in the matter. He reminds Lisa how beautiful she is (drink!) but says he can’t continue it.
And then, the best twenty seconds in the history of film. I can’t adequately summarize it, so I’ll just show you the video:
Another drink there for the “Hai, doggie.”
In the net scene, Lisa is ordering a really complicated pizza, “Half Canadian bacon with pineapple, half artichoke with pesto and light on the cheese,” when the doorbell rings and it’s Denny. He’s looking for Johnny, who’s not home yet, but he tells Lisa how great she looks (drink!) and…asks if he can kiss her. Lisa’s reaction, “You are such a little brat!” is only slightly more understandable than their reaction to Denny liking to watch them. Denny leaves, and just a bit later, Johnny comes home with the dozen red roses he bought in the super-rushed flower shop scene where the florist somehow didn’t recognize him until he took off his sunglasses.
Lisa: Did you get your promotion?
Johnny: Nah. (goes to sit on the couch)
Lisa, who was apparently not listening: You didn’t get it, did you?
Johnny complains about how much money he saves the bank. “They betrayed me, they didn’t keep their promise, they tricked me, and I don’t care anymore.” Uh, I think you do care, dude, or you wouldn’t be so upset right now. Lisa says that at least he has friends—she didn’t get any calls today because “the computer business is too competitive.” Lisa asks if he wants a pizza, and to his “whatever,” she says, “I already ordered a pizza. Johnny: “Lisa, you think about everything!” Although Johnny doesn’t drink, Lisa eventually convinces him to have one that seems to be…vodka and scotch. Okay then.
Cut to a bit later, when Lisa is wearing Johnny’s tie on her head and the remains of that complicated pizza Lisa ordered appear to be… plain cheese. They’re both drunk and laughing, or as Johnny puts it, “I’m tired, I’m wasted…I love you, darling!” Soon we have another long, awkward sex scene on our hands (drink!) that looks like it’s made up of recycled footage from the last Johnny/Lisa scene.
In the net scene, Lisa is telling her mom about the surprise party she’s planning for Johnny as Claudette complains about real estate problems with her brother. “Everything goes wrong at once. Nobody wants to help me, and I’m dying.” Lisa contradicts that last statement, and Claudette says, “I got the results of the test back. I definitely have breast cancer.” Yikes! But Lisa…takes the news disturbingly well and tells Claudette that she’ll be fine. AND THEN THEY MOVE RIGHT ALONG AS IF SHE NEVER SAID IT. WTF? How is Lisa getting bored with Johnny, which is the same conversation they had before (drink!) more important than FUCKING BREAST CANCER?
Seriously. This may be the one and only incidence in film where breast cancer is funny. It will never come up again for the rest of the movie, so DRINK!
Anyway, after Claudette says to Lisa, “At least you have a good man,” Lisa says forcefully, “You’re wrong!” and that last night Johnny got drunk…and hit her. Claudette’s reaction to that? “Johnny doesn’t drink!”
DUDE. Did you miss the part about him hitting her? (Which isn’t true, but still!)
After more Johnny-is-your-financial-security talk, Lisa says she has to meet with a client and kicks her mother out.
And then, things get even weirder when two characters we have never seen before (we later learn that their names are Mike and Michelle) sneak into Johnny and Lisa’s apartment to…have sex. And say things like, “Did you know that chocolate is the symbol of love?”
Why is this happening? Your guess is as good as mine. Is their apartment being fumigated? Is “computer business” code for renting the apartment out for people to have afternoon quickies? Does one of them have some weird disease where they’ll die if they don’t have sex for too long?
Whatever the reason, in the next scene, Lisa and Claudette come back in from shopping as Mike and Michelle try to get their clothes back on and look natural. Lisa is laughing as she tells her mom that these two like to come over to “do homework.” Just a bit later, Denny comes over to pull the whole neighbor-cliché of needing to borrow sugar, except he also needs butter and flour. After Denny leaves, we get some exposition about him. As it turns out, Johnny wanted to adopt Denny and is paying for an apartment in the building and Denny’s college tuition. Then, suddenly, Mike runs back in to get the underwear that he forgot to grab before leaving.
AND THEN IT GETS WEIRDER. In the next scene, Denny is standing on the roof with a basketball when this menacing-looking guy comes out. His name is Chris-R, written exactly like that. That hyphen is so badass, y’all. Anyway, Chris-R, who might be the best actor in this whole film (which certainly isn’t saying much), is looking for his money from Denny, who assures him that it will be there in five minutes. Chris-R: “Five minutes? I don’t have five FUCKING minutes!” And then he’s holding a gun at Denny’s head and screaming at him for the money. Out of nowhere, Johnny and Mark are on the roof, wrestling the gun away from Chris-R and then dragging him downstairs. Lisa and Claudette soon follow, and when he tells them that he owes Chris-R some money, Lisa demands no less than three times, “What kind of money?” as if the most important thing here is whether he owes yen or pesos. Claudette starts lecturing Denny as if she didn’t just meet him, and Denny assures them that Chris-R is going to jail, which…he couldn’t possibly know. Denny admits that he bought some drugs off Chris-R, but doesn’t have them anymore. He won’t say what kind of drugs, though, despite Lisa’s screaming at him. Apparently, he needed money to pay off some things, so…he was buying drugs to sell them? Is Chris-R some kind of drug wholesaler? Claudette keeps yelling at him until Denny yells back, “You’re not my fucking mother!” Then Johnny and Mark come back, and after a lot more screaming and apologizing, they all decide to go home. DROPPED PLOT MEANS DRINK!
(Still with me? Stay tuned for more awful awesome-ness in Part II!)
(Still with me? Stay tuned for more awful awesome-ness in Part II!)