Tommy Wiseau of THE ROOM Coming to St. Louis
There are different types of “Bad Movies”. It’s become sport to poke fun at bloated star vehicles such as ISHTAR, GLITTER, or GIGLI but those films are usually miserable experiences to actually sit through. There are films that are intentionally bad such as those from Troma studios (TOXIC AVENGER, POULTRYGEIST) but Troma knows its audience and anyone seeing a Troma film knows what they are getting into. Writer/director Tommy Wiseau’s THE ROOM belongs with the group of movies that are so bad that they can transform their own awfulness into a “comedy of errors”. Unlike more mundane bad films, these films develop an ardent following of fans who love them because of their poor quality, because normally, the errors (technical or artistic) or wildly contrived plots are unlikely to be seen elsewhere and they become great entertainment in spite of themselves. PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE is the most famous film in this category but its director, Ed Wood, made his films while cloaked in an alcoholic haze (and bra) while convinced he was making great art. I’m not sure what Tommy Wiseau’s excuse is but St. Louis-area fans of THE ROOM will have the opportunity to ask him this summer when he comes to Landmark’s Tivoli Theater here (6350 Delmar in The Loop) for midnight shows of his film the weekend of July 20 and 21st.
THE ROOM is an independently-made, self-distributed movie Wiseau wrote, directed, and starred in back in 2003 that would have been quickly forgotten if it hadn’t found new life after being discovered by some courageous Los Angeles movie fans.It began playing midnights all across the country, complete with prop-throwing, dialog-heckling, and the audience acting out scenes and dialog like “Lisa, you’re tearing me apart!(think ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW without the bustiers). There’s no real way of adequately describing the film’s amusements in standard critique but I will say that it really does live up (or in this case down) to its reputation. A most uncomplicated love story, THE ROOM stars Wiseau as Johnny, a long-haired banker whose trampy girlfriend Lisa (Juliette Danielle) is having an affair with his best friend Mark (Greg Sestero). Johnny gets upset. The End. To be sure, THE ROOM is a craptacular train wreck that will have you rolling on the floor with laughter because of its stupidity, but it is so transcendent in its dreadfulness that it actually becomes a thing of beauty. All of THE ROOMS’s cult achievement rests squarely on the awkward shoulders of Tommy Wiseau, the unlikeliest leading man ever to grace the big screen. Wiseau looks like Gene Simmons’ squat, constipated brother and has an incredibly uncomfortable screen presence. Speaking in a vague Eastern European accent (he claims he’s originally from France. He also claims to study psychology ‘as a hobby’), his every line is mumbled in the same phonetic, euro-sleaze inflection and concluded with a forced, strangled giggle. Wiseu directs himself in three long soft-core sex scenes, each one accompanied by an excruciating song and while Wiseu could have hired as his leading lady an unattractive actress who could act or a beauty who couldn’t, Juliette Danielle is both homely and untalented. I hate to be cruel but with her bad teeth, folds of fat that pop out of her lingerie, and nervous tick neck-twitch, she actually outdoes Wiseu in the lack-of-charisma department (at I first suspected she must be Wiseau’s girlfriend until I read an interview where he claims to have discovered her the day before shooting began when he spotted her stepping off a bus!).
It’s hard to explain the appeal of THE ROOM to someone who hasn’t seen it. I could describe the craziness that abounds such as the scene when the guys go outside and toss a football around from about three feet apart while reciting wretched dialog, or mention that a main character announces she has cancer halfway through, a development never again revisited, but there’s no way my descriptions can do THE ROOM’s unintentional delights justice. After all the anti-acclaim the film has received, Wiseau has backpedaled and now claims he was making a spoof. Was he? Ask him this summer when he appears at the Tivoli to sign his book on THE ROOM, sign autographs, and answer questions. Tickets are $15 each. Look for more coverage of this major upcoming cultural event here at We Are Movie Geeks.com, It doesn’t get worse than THE ROOM, and that’s a good thing.
THE ROOM’s official site can be found HERE
The Tivoli’s site can be found HERE