It is difficult to explain The Room to people, especially without sounding like a complete weirdo. Luckily, I am one of those, so I’m not really concerned with that. Nonetheless, my self-awareness doesn’t make explaining my fascination with Tommy Wiseau’s cinematic tour de farce that much easier. “It’s the worst movie in the world, it’s amazing,” makes very little sense, but it’s usually how I start. But, after much trial and error, I’ve come to realize you just need to say these things and leave it at that:
a) It is a movie so bad that it’s good.
b) No, it is not as bad as your Georgia Rules or your I know Who Killed Mes (damn, Lindsay Lohan is in some shitty movies), because it is worse than any movie you could imagine. There is not a single 10 second segment of the film that could pass for legitimacy.
c) It was written, directed, and produced by its star, the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau, an anonymous “American” with a peculiarly untraceable accent, a frightening appearance, and little to no film or acting experience/skills. It is a work of anti-genius that plays out so well you won’t believe it.
From there, you just have to let your friend decide if they want to make the most important, potentially life-changing decision of their life. You can nudge them if they seem unconcerned, because my life surely wouldn’t be as good as it is today had I not seen this film. I mean, if not for this film, how would I know how to say hello to my friend when he comes in my door? (Oh haiii, ____.”)
But, if I thought my work with The Room was done just by watching it at home dozens of times, I was surely mistaken. Seeing a public screening of the film is one of the better things I have ever spent my time and money on. What’s more, it’s not nearly as hard to explain why as it is to explain the movie’s draw. Anybody can understand why throwing plastic spoons at a screen whenever spoon artwork appears on the set, screaming “‘Cause you’re a woman” after every line a woman says in the film, and pointing out plot holes left and right could be enjoyable . . . right? Right? Fuck, I’m a weirdo.
My weirdness aside, there’s this insane communal feel to seeing the movie in public. Very rarely do you get a chance to be amongst such a vast and lovable group of belligerent, fun-loving, sarcastic individuals as at one of these things. Everybody knows why they’re at this film, and each person shares the same love and devotion for the movie as the next. There’s even a whole protocol for what to yell at the screen when. Like, they give you a sheet telling you all of the things all the room “pros” yell at the screen, when, and why it’s funny. Some of these include: 1) yelling “Cancer!” every time Claudette comes on screen. 2) Congregating in the bottom right corner of the screen to wave to Tommy at a point where he looks right in that area and waves back (this was one of the best things I have ever seen). 3)Rooting for the bridge pan to span the entire bridge and booing when it fails to. . . you get it, it’s amazing. The best thing about it, though, is that you get to throw out any decency, respect, or responsibility that you may have had in the real world while you’re in the theater. You’re just another asshole in a room, yelling at a screen and laughing. It’s quite surreal. And of course, it’s all even better with some English accents. Well, actually, I can’t compare, but it was certainly a nice touch.
We laughed, we cried, and, much to Tommy’s dismay, I’m pretty sure somebody got hurt (probably that guy who got bombarded with plastic spoons when he tried to exit during the screening . . . and when he came back). It was a phenomenal experience and I highly recommend seeing a showing if you ever get the chance.