Virgin Viewing: ‘The Room’

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Some films are classics because of the great acting performances or the stunning cinematography. And some of them are classics because they're so horrifically bad that they're hilarious. The Room, of course, falls into the latter category. I'd describe it for you, but some brilliant person on IMDB wrote the best synopsis I could find on this movie:

You know that foreign exchange student from high school who used to creep out all the girls with his clumsy leering and broken-English pick-up lines? Well, he's all grown up and somebody gave him money to make a film. Tommy Wiseau, whose accent could best be described as “half-drunk Croatian cyborg”, stars as Johnny, the man with the most sculpted ass in all of San Francisco. His girlfriend Lisa, played by oft-topless Juliette Danielle, seduces his best friend, played by department store mannequin Greg Sestero. To go any farther with the plot would be overdignifying this laugh-out-loud crapfest. Imagine a two-hour episode of “Red Shoe Diaries” written and directed by Balki from “Perfect Strangers”. Trust me, this is the worst movie you will ever see ever in your entire life. Ever. But is it pathetically awful or sadistically hilarious? What you think will depend on your life experiences and viewpoint. But we can all agree, it's a big, steaming nut-filled turd.

There are really only two acceptable ways to watch this movie:

1. While drunk, or

2. While drunk and in a room full of drunk strangers who throw plastic cutlery at the screen

I went with Option 2.

Once a month, the East Village Cinema in New York hosts a Friday midnight screening of The Room. It's done in a particpatory Rocky Horror style – thankfully, no one dresses up like the characters in the movie, but there's a lot of ‘OH HI' yelled in unison whenever characters greet each other and people tossing footballs to each other from a foot away. Though there aren't costumes (minus the one dude in a wig that resembled main actor/writer/director Tommy Wiseau‘s hair), there is a ton of interaction. Fans start lining up an hour before the theater opens so that they can snag good seats and come armed with boxes of plastic spoons (one of the rooms where action takes place has inexplicable framed pictures of cutlery). Audience members yell along with some of the best-known lines from the movie, including “You're tearing me apart, Lisa!” and “In a few minutes, bitch!” However, unlike Rocky Horror, there isn't a prescribed set of rules or things to say: it's a freeform smorgasbord of snark.

Oh, and then there's the movie.

The Room is about a guy named Johnny (Wiseau) whose girlfriend cheats on him with his best friend. There are some other people in it too. Mostly, it's a bunch of gratuitous sex scenes (no, I didn't need to know what Wiseau's ass looked like, let alone on a big screen, thank you very much) strung together with stilted dialogue, roses, and occasional chicken impressions. I'd recommend never sitting through it without a controlled substance and/or several snarky friends.