By Alexander Goodlive
Surrounded by the nostalgic feel of a double-level theater, the 35mm projector, and a hundred fans anticipating a movie they’ve seen more than their fair share of times, the silver screen flickers to life. The cheap blue logo of a film franchise only known for one movie spins its way to the screen, and the crowd cheers its presence. Are we in for another riveting tale of cinematic excellence, guaranteed to take us on a timeless adventure through the magic of celluloid?
But are we in for a fun time? You better believe it.
Armed with a bunch of callbacks and a box of plastic spoons, catching a midnight showing of Tommy Wiseau‘s cinematic abomination The Room is guaranteed to be one of the most fun and fulfilling nights at the movie theater you’ll ever have.
“But Alex,” I can hear you asking, “Isn’t The Room terrible?” Oh, terrible is an understatement. It’s a glorious cinematic train wreck, filled with unexplained plot holes, breast cancer being blown off like it’s a case of the sniffles, and a lead actor convinced of his own genius making a magnum opus to display to the world the greatest story he thought any of us would ever see.
Growing more in popularity due to supporting actor Greg Sestero‘s account of the movie’s production, The Disaster Artist, this film ranks up there with The Rocky Horror Picture Show as a cult film event that takes place all over the country. Similarly to Rocky Horror, audience participation is the key attraction for the midnight moviegoer. For example, in Tommy Wiseau’s rush to get the main living room set decorated, they never bothered taking the stock photos of spoons out of the picture frames. For this strange decision, the crowd showers the screen with plastic silverware and cries of “SPOOOOOOOOOON!” The clank-clank-clank that follows is an inevitability of attending this horrible masterpiece of confusion.
Many of Tommy Wiseau’s dubbed-over yet still-horrendous lines are sung along with during their delivery, no more obvious than in Wiseau’s delivery of a line taken straight from James Dean: “You are tearing me apart, Lisa!” The ironic cheers that follow make you believe you’ve just witnessed a combination of Marlon Brando and Robert Downey, Jr. somehow combined into a cinematic moment of Nirvana. You’ll also be shushed when the epic flower shop scene airs, as complete silence will fill the theater for the thirty seconds that Wiseau rushes through buying flowers for his girlfriend, but the cheers that follow acknowledge the confusing greatness of this moment. Nothing about it makes any sense, and it’s amazing.
Perhaps you’ll find yourself wooing when Greg Sestero gets a close-up of his clean-shaven face. Be careful to duck from the footballs being tossed, because seconds later, and every other time they toss the football in this movie, the cast in their tuxedos inexplicably throw around the football for no reason whatsoever. Their reason for wearing tuxedos? Who knows? Why they only ever throw around the football instead of playing? No idea.
However, seeing The Room live is a 90-minute joyride that’ll have you rolling in the aisles and singing along with the regulars any time it happens. This movie has brought so much joy to many a moviegoer, myself included, that you just can’t help but adore this film. Somehow getting funded with 6 million dollars of the creator’s own money from unknown sources, and somehow convincing himself that he could act despite having no delivery or believability whatsoever, it’s also strangely inspiring. Here’s a guy who was told by literally everyone that he shouldn’t make this movie, and he did. Not only is this movie still being watched in theaters to this day, but he achieved what so many filmmakers only dream they could do, albeit for the wrong reasons: He’s made an unforgettable movie that has people watching it, talking about it, and having the time of their lives while they do it. There’s something to be said for that, even if it does start with “Ohai.”
Alexander Goodlive is an English/cinema double major at the University of Pennsylvania, commuting from Harrisburg. He has five published books, hosts the snarky Internet show “Jaded Hope,” and writes weekly for lordsofpain.net under the alias Al Laiman. In his spare time, he’s a stand-up guru, and recently placed well in the championship round of International Underwater Basket-Weaving
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