Recently, I reviewed The Canyons – a movie so bad that I described it as a “shit-heap” and “dumpster-fire.” It was by no means the worst movie I’d ever seen, but it was certainly the worst movie I’d seen in a very long time, and I pride myself on being a connoisseur of really bad movies. Occasionally, I live-tweet terrible movies (I call it “Bad Movie Saturday” or “Bad Movie Sunday”) and the goal is to find the worst movie imaginable and make it through to the end. No movie has broken me yet. Knowing this, my friend Casey presented me with a challenge. It was a movie that, amazingly, I’d never heard of. A little film called THE ROOM. Casey bought the movie and had it shipped to my house, which is a nice gesture from a friend. It’s also a gesture that says, “I’m tricking you into watching what one critic called, ‘The Citizen Kane of bad movies.'” Oddly enough, Casey said The Room would “make The Canyons look like Citizen Kane.” But every movie can’t be Citizen Kane. I was intrigued. And then I saw the cover of the DVD, and I was double super intrigued.
The Room, a self-described “quirky new black comedy….a riot!” was written (and I use that word all kinds of loosely), directed (in that I guess he said “action” and “cut” but like, that’s it), and produced by visionary and part-time 80s metal cover band roadie Tommy Wiseau. Who is Tommy Wiseau, you’re asking yourself? Beats the hell out of me, and his Wikipedia page even claims that his upbringing is some sort of weird mystery. Normally, I wouldn’t care about someone’s upbringing, but this guy is so fucking weird that I did find myself wondering what his home planet is like. He speaks with a weird French accent/speech impediment that makes it sound like he’s chewing the inside of his cheek. And he’s not even close to the weirdest dude in the movie.
Set in San Francisco, the movie opens with Johnny (Wiseau) surprising his girlfriend Lisa (Juliette Danielle) with a slinky red dress. Why? Why not! Don’t all boyfriends just show up with slutty dresses for their ladies? Lisa is very appreciative to receive such a thoughtful gift, and so obviously she’s going to show her appreciation with some impromptu sexy time. Meanwhile, some neighbor kid named Denny (who looks like he’s 30 but I guess is supposed to be in school, and who may or may not have suffered some sort of brain injury) lets himself into their apartment. Johnny and Lisa like Denny a lot, but this isn’t the best time for a pop-over, you know? Go home, Denny. Johnny and Lisa have to get busy. Johnny and Lisa head upstairs and have some kind of juvenile pillow fight foreplay and what the hell – why is Denny in the room? Yes – DENNY IS JUST SITTING THERE, WATCHING THEM. “I just like to watch you guys,” says Denny, who is in the early running for Sex Offender of the Century. Unfortunately, Denny has homework to do, and Johnny has “work” to do (wink wink, know what I mean) so Denny is banished back to the cave from which he came. Alright. Show time. Cue the sexy music and the soft lighting because we’re about to see what is arguably the grossest and most awkward simulated sex scene in history. But I’m a professional, damn it, and I appreciate the fine art of filmmaking. Here’s how I summed up this scene in my notes:
It was becoming painfully clear that making it to the end of this movie would be my greatest challenge yet. After the “Johnny Humps Lisa’s Hipbone” sex scene, Lisa’s mom comes to visit. They exchange pleasantries and boring chitchat, and then Lisa drops the bomb – she doesn’t love Johnny anymore. SAY WHAT? You just traumatized me with your love-making, Lisa. And now you don’t love him? She has a really good reason for not loving him, though: Johnny is “boring.” I would have gone with, “Johnny is a disgusting creep who is also boring,” but Lisa knows him better than I do. Lisa’s mom isn’t a dummy, though. She knows that Lisa probably doesn’t have a whole lot of options in life, so she tells Lisa to shut up and marry Johnny because he buys her gifts. Lisa’s mom: Mother of the Year. Lisa is desperate to get out of this relationship, so she comes up with a plan. She’s going to start an affair with Johnny’s best friend/the son of Kenny Loggins, Mark (Greg Sestero). Mark has a super tight beard.
From the get-go, Mark is firmly in the “Do Not Bang Lisa” camp. Johnny is his best friend, his neighbor, and he would never do anyth- oh, never mind. Mark and Lisa are making out, and it’s somehow more nauseating than the sex scene that occurred no more than 20 minutes ago. Stage kisses, when done well, can be pretty great. Remember the steamy kiss Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis shared in Top Gun? Well sister, this ain’t it. Mark and Lisa perform their make out session like people who either just recently learned about kissing, or hate kissing each other. Still, there’s some groovy mood music, and “artistic” shots, so there’s that. If you ask me, Wiseau made this movie solely as an excuse to try and do something erotic and then was like, hey I’d better come up with a plot or some shit. Speaking of plot:
Another dramatic plot development: Johnny was denied a promotion at work, and let me tell you, Johnny is seriously pissed. He made a lot of money for the bank (who knew he worked at a bank!) and he totes has the best mane of any man there. Lisa is a “good” girlfriend and wants to comfort Johnny by getting him absolutely shit-hammered, despite the fact that Johnny repeatedly says, “I don’t drink alcohol.” The tension seems to have eased a bit, though, and oh great- another goddamn sex scene. Can we not. What happens after a Johnny/Lisa hump session? Of course it’s another visit from Mom! Mom has some bad news this time. And here it is, directly from the script and delivered in the way one might recite ingredients in a can of soda.
MOM: Nobody wants to help me, and I’m dying.
LISA: You’re not dying, Mom.
MOM: I got the results of the test back. I definitely have breast cancer.
Uh…sorry to hear that, I guess?
Then we find out a little bit more about 48-year-old student Denny. Johnny wants to adopt him, but like I said, I think Denny is a fully grown adult human who just happens to be pretty dumb and weird. It’s a nice gesture on Johnny’s part, I guess, and not at all one that seems bat-shit insane. We see Denny on the roof of the apartment building (one of the 4 sets used in the movie), admiring the view of the city and getting his ass kicked by a guy with a gun? Who are you and where the hell did you come from, homey? Denny owes this guy money, it seems, and this guy isn’t fucking around. I hope someone randomly goes up to the roof of the building to hang out and save him! And just like that, Johnny, Mark, Lisa, and Lisa’s mom appear on the roof to hang out and rescue Denny. Now Denny better explain himself. Just why in the hell is a guy with a gun trying to kill him? You guessed it – DRUGS. I am so disappointed in you, Denny, and so are Lisa and Lisa’s mom. I found myself wondering when this movie was going to turn into the “quirky black comedy” that it claimed to be. So far, it just seemed to be about the four biggest turds in San Francisco. And speaking of turds:
Sorry for the visual, everybody. Girls poop, too. But no poop will ever stink as much as The Room. And I apologize if it seems like this review is disjointed thus far, but it’s 100% the movie’s fault. I watched this movie 3 weeks ago and it’s taken me this long to even organize my thoughts, and they’re still not even organized. Simply put, The Room broke my brain.
Here are some more “plot points”: Denny is in love with Lisa (who, by the way, is a terrible person), and Johnny is cool with it because he recognizes that Denny is just a sweet, crazy, drug-addled moron. Some new friend named Peter emerges out of thin air and within like 90 seconds, has correctly guessed that Mark and Lisa are having an affair. Mark threatens to kill him, because that’s what any normal person would do, right? Oh, and at some point, Lisa accuses Johnny of being physically abusive, which led to one of the all-time best scenes in cinematic history:
Johnny and Lisa throw a party at their place, so now we have all the men who love and/or are sleeping with Lisa all together in one room. Wait – is this THE room? If not, which room is THE room? Anyway, Lisa is getting wasted, and also telling everyone that she’s pregnant. Interesting note – nobody really tries to stop her from drinking booze, despite thinking that there’s a baby on board. In reality, she isn’t pregnant at all. You see, Lisa is what we like to call a Garbage Person. She’s an attention-seeking brat who is inexplicably popular and well-liked. When one of Lisa’s friends calls her out for actually be not-at-all-pregnant, Lisa says, “I’m probably going to have a baby eventually.” Lisa lacks the basic understanding that adult humans should have about gestation. Mark doesn’t know she’s lying, however, and straight up asks her in front of everyone in THE ROOM if the baby is his. Then Mark and Johnny get in a fight, and the party is totally ruined. THANKS, LISA. YOU PARTY-WRECKING TRAMP.
Later, Lisa calls Mark (rather than just walk to his apartment, which is in the same building) and they discuss her leaving Johnny. “Ditch this creep. I don’t like him anymore,” says Mark, an adult man. Little do they know – Johnny tapped the phone and has heard every word. OH. SHIT. This is probably going to lead to some epic face-off between Johnny and Mark. Just kidding. Johnny pulls out a gun and kills himself. Lisa and Mark run into the room, but it’s too late. “Wake up, Johnny,” Lisa cries, failing to recognize that half of Johnny’s head is missing. THE END.
Man, talk about a quirky black comedy, amiright?