The Room: the worst movie of all time

Getting showered by plastic spoons and bad plot devices

The Room has a cult-following for being one of the most poorly-done movies ever.
Screenshot via The Room

When you attend a live screening of The Room, you embark on a communal journey through the wholly unapologetic and self-indulgent brainchild of Tommy Wiseau. 

This is a participatory experience. There will be inside jokes that you will learn and accept — with some of them literally and dangerously tossed in your direction. There will be dialogue and moments simultaneously so forced and absurd you’ll question whether or not this is some abomination of satire. But it’s not: It’s simply a beautiful disaster.

I was in there, at The Screening Room, accompanied by an Uninitiated Companion, who (save for a YouTube clip in high school) had no any idea what she was getting into, nor why she had a bunch of plastic spoons in her hand.

Ask a ‘film buff’ what the worst movie is, and chances are they’ll mention The Room. Its critical failure isn’t only infamous, but balanced by its entertainment value. Tommy Wiseau is the writer, producer, director and lead actor of The Room, which pretty much gives you an insight into the inner workings of his mind with zero accountability, and a whole group of people being dragged along with it.

Here’s the thing: Wiseau’s got no idea what he’s doing. I imagine that the cast and crew got so frustrated with him that they just gave up putting any effort into it. The acting’s not only atrocious, but there’s a hint that everyone’s pretty much half-assing the whole thing. Well, except for Wiseau, who’s got it cranked way past 11.

The film’s filled with unimaginative cinematography, terrible editing and a whole slew of technical errors. The design of the apartment (where most of the film is set) was so unenthusiastically built that the picture frames haven’t even had their placeholders swapped out, so the apartment features framed photos of spoons.

There’s quiet murmur and plastic tinkling throughout the theatre; most of us were studying the stacking properties of our spoons. Uninitiated Companion was able to balance one on her nose longer than I could. It’s a sold out show, and an announcer arrived to brief us and subsequently moderate a short Tommy Wiesau impression contest.

The first lines of dialogue immediately give you an idea of how horrible this is going to be. It’s not upsetting though. It’s all living up to the entertainment value that previous watchers rave about — and thank goodness too; I was getting worried that I overhyped the whole ordeal to Uninitiated C. 

It is nonsensical banality that develops later into nonsensical melodrama: Plot devices go nowhere, actors get replaced and Wiseau’s left screaming. 

It’s incredible.

Audience commentary is prevalent. It’s a semi-anonymous chance to test out your wit if feel up to it, though not all are successful. Case: there’s a point where a character mentions she has (spoiler) breast cancer (not brought up again), which opened up some pretty horrible and offensive remarks. 

The sex scenes notably dragged on well past the point where any poignant commentary could be made, so we pretty much just sat there, watching Tommy boy flex every rose-petalled muscle on his body.

The on-screen appearance of the framed spoon prompts the audience to throw their plastic utensils at the screen. Uninitiated C. and I strategically chose to sit at the rear, as the spoons from theback don’t have enough aerodynamic trajectory to reach the screen itself. 

Eventually, the front rowers responded by throwing the amassed cutlery back behind them. On top of that, the film’s football throwing is like the male cast’s primary social lubricant. Every time this happened in the film, the audience tossed around foam footballs in the theatre. One unassuming patron took one to the face, which seemed to dampen the rest of this experience. These are only a few of the screening rituals.

Basically, the take-home message is you’ve really got to go see this thing. Those context-less YouTube clips don’t do it justice. It’s a huge mess and there’s an endless stream of weird little moments to keep things interesting. But in the end, Wiseau did what many of us are too afraid to really do — express our ideas without self-consciousness. At the very least, Uninitiated C. and I left with a gold mine’s worth of inside jokes.

The Room will return to The Screening Room on Feb. 12 and March 18. 

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