Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stay Out of “The Room”

by Jason Pyles

Bill Barnes sort of requested that we subject ourselves to “The Room.” Even though we are sick of watching terrible movies, “The Room” is a low-budget film with too much notoriety to ignore on a site about unusual films.

There is a strange phenomenon among movie-lovers in which both excellent movies and truly terrible ones are praised. The only bad movie experience is a mediocre and forgettable one; whereas, a profoundly terrible film can at least have some entertainment value. “The Room” falls into that category.

This film recycles that age-old conflict about a woman who is discontent in her relationship with her fiance, so she begins an affair with her fiance’s best friend. Trouble ensues.

Now, the acting is terrible, as Andy said below, but the performances are eclipsed by the awfulness of the script. Combining bad performances with a bad script enhances the repelling power of both (like that thing when two horses that can pull 600 lbs. each can pull 1500 lbs. when pulling together).

Unfortunately, the entirety of the problem lies with writer, director and lead actor, Tommy Wiseau, much like Andy suggested. Now, I try not to be mean when writing about people, realizing that in this age of the Internet that Tommy Wiseau himself could happen upon this post. And after all, he’s a human with feelings, too.

So, in an effort to give a fair and accurate representation of the film, as gently as I can write it, I will say this: Mr. Wiseau should not have shot this script or cast himself in the lead role. It seems evident that he has never read any books on screenwriting. I honestly wondered if he has watched very many movies at all. Indeed, he breaks, I would say, most of the basic rules of screenwriting — and not in a good way, either. An obvious example of this is all of the unnecessary dialogue and blocking such as ordering food in a restaurant and walking to and from doors. Wiseau’s film needs some serious editorial exclusions. So, the low-budget filming, poor acting and terrible dialogue are enough to make people laugh at the film.

But the joke might be on all its critics. Though “The Room” appears to have been intended to be a serious drama, it may be an intentionally bad film — a la the brothers Raimi. For example, Sam Raimi’s “Drag Me to Hell,” from just last year, was awful as far as horror movies go — if it were a serious attempt, but in fact, he intended it to be ridiculous; therein lies its campy humor.

And there are moments in “The Room” when Wiseau seems to be going for humorousness. For example, during one exchange, a character asks him something not overly invasive, and Wiseau’s character responds, “That’s way too personal.” And then in the next breath he asks the inquisitor about his sex life. So many instances like this one make me think that a black comedy was Wiseau’s objective. But if this is the case, it’s not as deserving of its notoriety, because it then becomes mediocre, nothing more. But oh, how sad, if this film was intended to be a serious drama.


jbarnes said...

check this reenactment of a scene from "the room"...

also, despite wiseau's later claim that he was aiming for a black comedy, there was no indication that this was anything but a serious dramatic effort until AFTER the movie was ridiculed. sad.

Jason Pyles, Movie Critic said...

Wow, that reenactment is pretty spot on! Nice.