The ever eccentric yet charming Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic, The Room, finally made its way to theaters nationwide tonight and boy, what an event it was. Oh hai Mark!
If you aren’t familiar with The Room, you’re forgiven. No, it’s not 2015’s Room featuring the future Captain Marvel, Brie Larson. This is the 2003 film about…….well, I’m still not exactly sure what it’s about. The Room is considered by many to be the best worst movie of all time. It features brief moments of dialogue that are irrelevant to the overall plot(?) and never mentioned again, about 7 really awkward sex scenes, and a boatload of shots and pans of San Francisco. Sprinkle in some lackluster audio syncing, lots of giggles, and some wonderful green screen shots, and you’ve got the making of a true cult classic.
No one really knows where Tommy Wiseau came from or how he acquired the budget he had to shoot The Room on both digital and film simultaneously (yep!). It’s just apart of the intrigue. The recent critically acclaimed movie, The Disaster Artist, is based on a book that is based on the production of The Room, and stars James Franco. It was the perfect storm, and Wiseau was, dare we say “wise” to capitalize on the wave of The Disaster Artist’s popularity. For one night only, on January 10, 2018, The Room would finally have its moment in the spotlight. Playing in approximately 500 theaters in America, fans and newcomers alike (such as myself) flocked to see what all the fuss was about. I, like countless other geeks, have recently become obsessed with Tommy Wiseau. I find both he and The Room fascinating. This would mark my first trip (of many to come) to the theater this year.
I was joined by Geekiverse Video Producer Seth Zielinski, the host of The Memory Machine, Nate Lockhart (a fellow noob when it came to The Room), and longtime friend of The GKV, Rich Ruiz. Both Rich and Seth have been in my ear for about two years, telling me that I desperately needed to see The Room. This was my opportunity. I was extremely excited all day, and my excitement only ramped up when I entered the theater. There was a palpable optimism and energy in the air, different than you would find for most movie premieres. I would venture to say that of the nearly sold out theater we were in, 80% of the folks had seen the movie already, with the other 20% like Nate and I – people who have long heard about such legends as this, but were giddy to finally be able to say that we saw it.
Rich always told me that this needed to be watched with a drinking game, and that he never had watched it sober. I wasn’t quite sure what ride I was in for. From the get-go, the crowd was loud, engaged, and entertained. A brief commercial for Tommy’s underwear line played, followed by a quick reel of hilarious call-outs that said “SHAME ON YOU” repeatedly. We also witnessed a brief behind the scenes of Tommy at the premiere in Los Angeles, posing for pictures with fans, signing merchandise, and speaking to the crowd before the film. Applause was thunderous as the movie began. Throughout the film, people would call out the obvious issues with the scene. We booed, we applauded, we said “hi” or “bye” every time a character entered or exited a room. We yelled “focus” every time the camera was out of focus.
The best parts of the evening? From time to time, a picture of a plastic spoon would be present in the background of a given scene. You would not believe the abundance of plastic spoons that were present. Every time this picture appeared on camera, the audience screamed “SPOON” and then proceeded to throw handfuls of spoons into the air. It felt like there were just shy of a thousand spoons on the floor at the end of the night. Those poor theater attendants. We should have tipped them.
This might sound a bit strange, but this was one of the greatest theater experiences of my life. The Room has to be seen to be believed. You see, that was just part of the excitement. A group of approximately 100 fans, sitting in a room together, watching Tommy Wiseau’s classic on the big screen. The energy was visible, the laughter never in-audible, and the somewhat camaraderie of 100 strangers was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Directly after the credits rolled, we were given a surprise teaser trailer of Wiseau’s next project, Best F(r)iends, which debuts in March.
We’re already making plans to attend.
In the end, despite everything that is wrong with The Room, all of the mockery, all of the miscues, there’s a subtle sympathy that gives the viewer reason to connect to Wiseau. The Room might be the butt of every joke for bad movies, but Wiseau’s underlying theme in the story is one that is so profound, yet so simplistic:
“If a lot of people love each other, the world would be a better place to live.”
Everything that happens to Wiseau’s character, Johnny, in the movie stems back to this premise. The film is a beautiful “disaster” to be certain, and it lacks a lot of basic film shooting and editing techniques, among other things. However, in the end, Wiseau got to tell his story his way and in doing so, shared a powerful message that we all should strive to think about each and everyday.
I can’t think of a better way to have started my 2018 movie-going experience.
Did you get to see The Room in theater? What was your theater experience like? Tell us in the comments below!
Josiah LeRoy is The Geekiverse’s founder. You can catch him on Twitter, gushing over The Room and every superhero/science fiction movie in 2018.
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Article photo courtesy of thehollywoodreporter.com.