From left: Greg Sestero, me, Tommy Wiseau.
The Room is, in my opinion, the best worst movie ever made. It was released in 2003 and stars Tommy Wiseau (pictured above), who also wrote, directed, produced, and executive produced the film. Immediately it built a strong cult following allowing for Mr. Wiseau to hop from city to city hosting special midnight screenings complete with a meet-and-greet after the show and a Q&A beforehand. I was lucky enough to see the recent Seattle showing, and it might have been the best theater experience of my life.
It’s hard to describe what makes Tommy Wiseau and The Room so special, it’s really something you just need to see for yourself. I’ve heard it called everything from “the Plan 9 From Outer Space of chamber dramas” to an “outsider masterpiece” to a “filmic holocaust,” while the most fitting description of Tommy Wiseau I’ve come across is that he’s like a “half-drunk Croatian cyborg.” Needless to say The Room is unintentionally hilarious in the best way possible. Here’s the trailer for a small taste, but I really stress that you see it in its entirety (the trailer’s good but it hardly does it justice):
Now for the screening. Things started off with a great 20-minute Q&A with Tommy and Greg Sestero (who plays Mark in the film and was one of Tommy’s FIVE assistants during the making of the movie). The movie itself was funnier than ever thanks to a theater full of drunk fans quoting and laughing along. Audience participation was strongly encouraged (not unlike a Rocky Horror showing), with a full list of instructions handed out before the screening. Here’s a few of the things the audience was instructed to yell:
“Spoon!” – “Nearly all of the artwork in the film features spoons. Whenever one of the works appears on screen, yell “Spoon!” and hurl plastic spoons at the screen. ” Note: Literally thousands of spoons were thrown during the screening.
“Focus! Unfocus!” – “The film is constantly going in and out of focus. Whenever the film goes out of focus, you shout “Focus!” Of course, when it does come back into focus during a sex scene, it is necessary to shout “Oh God, Unfocus!”
“Cause you’re a woman!” – “Yelling “‘Cause you’re a woman!” after pretty much anything that regards a female character. Started off as a dig at the film’s casual misogyny (there are half a dozen places where it works and is hilarious), but quickly spiraled into a non sequitur that can be dumped after everything. It is the Room equivalent of adding “in bed” to a fortune-cooke fortune.”
“GO! GO! GO! GO!” – “Used to cheer on tracking shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. Celebrate when it makes it all the way across the bridge. Express your disappointment when it doesn’t.” Note: There are TONS of bridge shots, all pretty much the same. Many people will also chug for as long as the shot lasts.
Those were just a few. There are also some activities like clapping and singing along to the horrible music that plays over the sex scenes or playing catch with a football as the characters do the same. It’s just a non-stop blast, and I’m pretty sure I laughed through the entire thing. Plus it was all topped off with getting to meet Tommy and Greg after the show for pictures and autographs. I definitely recommend checking for screenings in your area, it’s $15 (not much more than one ticket for an Imax or 3D movie) and well worth it.