Over the past year or so, the low budget 2003 film THE ROOM has gained somewhat of a cult following. At NYC's Landmark Sunshine theater, the film plays the first Saturday of each month at midnight, and I finally caught a screening last weekend. The place was packed to the rafters and I'm assuming sold out.
The film itself is absolutely terrible. It's basically an attempt at a serious drama and features acting and dialogue so bad it makes most of Ed Wood's films seem like masterpieces. Sure, some scenes are "so-bad-they're-good" funny (of course unintentionally so), and some of the Rocky Horror-esque audience participation is entertaining...but after about 15 minutes both the film and the audience's all-over-the-place commentary (which still seems like a work in progress) became real stale, especially people throwing plastic spoons whenever a spoon appears on the screen (there's artwork of spoons in many scenes for some reason).
Director, Writer and Star Tommy Wiseau (that's his mug on the film's poster above) plays Johnny, who is a successful banker and engaged to Lisa (played by Juliette Danielle who has the most annoying eyebrows next to my own). He's a bit too trusting, and doesn't realize she's losing interest in him and now sleeping with his best friend Mark on the side. A young neighbor, Denny, keeps popping in their apartment. Johnny is sort of a father figure to him and they spend an ornate amount of time tossing a football around (as does the audience). There are sex scenes that are almost as bad as those in H.G. Lewis' early nudie films, and again the acting is so bad it just has to be seen to be believed (clips of fan favorites are on YouTube).
The crowd seemed enthusiastic...one guy even came dressed in drag as Lisa in the red dress Johnny buys for her in the film. The spirit of old-time Rocky Horror was there, but at least Rocky Horror was a decent film; I couldn't sit through this film again if I tried...and without the wild audience, I can't see anyone being entertained by this on DVD or cable. It's nice to see a new generation (most of the crowd seemed to be in their 20s) getting into a film like this, but I'd be interested to see if it has any staying power.
Time will tell.
I'm glad I finally checked out THE ROOM, but as an old-school Rocky Horror fan, I'd rather spend time with Tim Curry and Richard O'Brien than these one-shot wannabe's. Tommy Wiseau has since directed a few shorts and runs a cable TV show (that I'm pretty sure is on a local access station), and I'd really like to meet him in person just to see if his accent is real!
Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) in one of the worst-acted scenes of all time in THE ROOM (as his girlfriend Lisa looks on).