Tuesday, July 25, 2017
The Room (2003)
Every time I reach another hundred reviews, I like to make my next hundredth review to be on a movie that I already know and love/admire, or movie that I've been long anticipating at the time, or a movie that I know is one of the greatest pieces of cinema. But this time I wanted to take a different route. This time I wanted to review purified crap. This time I wanted to review a movie that is so bad that in a way it's actually good. So a couple of months ago, I posted on Facebook a poll for what so-bad-it's-good movie I should review as my 700th review. After about a week or so voting, the results are in and now it is time to talk about a film that I've wanted to look at for many years but have never got around to looking at until now. So at long last and by popular demand, this is my 700th review: The Room.
Plot: Johnny is a successful banker who lives in San Francisco with his fiancee, Lisa. Despite having an intimate relationship together, Lisa has become dissatisfied with her life and no longer loves Johnny. Rather than - oh I don't know, talk to Johnny about this like adults, she starts having an affair with his best friend, Mark. Mark is constantly reluctant to sleep with Lisa, but he always gives in to her advances. Eventually, Johnny finds out about Lisa's infidelity and plans to capture her in the act with a tape recorder.
You know it's been a month since I finally got around to watching this movie so I could finally review it, but despite all my determination, I didn't know what to say about it. It's not just bad, it is painfully bad. I can say with certainty that it is one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my entire life. I have seen many bad movies in the past, but the extent of how this film was so poorly put together, made no sense, was poorly acted, had the most funny yet utterly ridiculous approaches to be artistic and interesting made it one of the hardest movies I have ever had to watch. Are there moments were it is so bad that it's actually entertaining? Yes, but for me personally I found it more painful than amusing to watch this glorified, incorrigible crap.
Where do I even start with this movie? What could I say that countless people have already expressed online whether by video or by blog? Well the first thing that comes to mind is all the technical problems with this movie. The editing, cinematography, and most notably (in my opinion) the sound editing/mixing are done poorly. The editing feels like the kind of editing you would expect to make in film school or even a multimedia class in high school where you have to work on these exercise projects they give you in "How to" CDs for Final Cut 7 and X: plain, dull, and does not have any special sense of emotion, pacing or rhythm. The cinematography looks just as plain, except for when they decide to shoot characters or certain actions in angles that don't make any sense. They do have some decent shots of San Francisco in the beginning, but having gone to San Francisco myself for a Brony convention last year, I can say that's not that hard to do. I was only at the city itself for one day while the convention was at a hotel a little ways from it, but I saw enough to say that it's so unique with its hills, buildings, trolleys and so forth that it's not hard to make some camera shots of the area look at least kind of nice. Heck, if even Tommy Wiseau could manage to give us that, then you know it's not a difficult task. So much of the dialogue if not ALL of the dialogue is done in post-production and it really shows. Hardly any of the dialogue sound like they were recorded from the location and some of it don't even match the lip movements of the actors. In fact, the editing of the sound is so bad that I can hear when the audio tracks start and end in the sequence with no sound mixing to make them flow with the other audio. To put that into perspective, I didn't watch the movie with a surround sound system coming from the TV to notice this, I watched it on my desktop computer. So if I can hear it with my desktop computer's sound system that's no IMAX high-definition sound system, then you know they screwed up.
The story is beyond dull. Not only to we have story lines that go absolutely nowhere like Lisa's mom having fatal breast cancer or Danny owing a guy money for drugs, not only are there scenes that add absolutely nothing like Johnny and Mark going to get coffee or...pretty much every sex scene in this film, but the main story is so plain that it works better on paper for a short film rather than a heaven forsaken 99-minute feature length. It's literally just about a guy whose fiancee is cheating on him with his best friend and virtually nothing else changes throughout most of the film. It's is only 99 minutes long because they stuff all the pointless storylines in and whenever we get back to the main story it's mostly just repeating the same thing: Lisa telling her mom that she's not in love with Johnny anymore, Mark constantly saying no to having an affair with Lisa but ends up either kissing or sleeping with her anyway, and other characters - including Mark, constantly telling Lisa not to do cheat on Johnny for fear of what he's going to do but she just stubbornly cheats on him anyway with without a care. In fact, this leads to the one aspect of the film that pisses me off the most: Lisa herself. Even though I have little to absolutely no care for any of the characters in this movie or what happens to them - least of all Johnny, I cannot remember the last time I've hated a character the way I hated Lisa. She's so cruel that she just goes ahead and betrays her fiancee not caring about what devastating (according to the film) effects it could and did bring. In a way, this is an example of how Bella from Twilight could have been a good Shakespearian villain with how she toys with the two men she sleeps with. Every time she's on screen trying to shame Johnny while also pretending to love him or makes moves on Mark I wanna smack her. I have no doubt that if I look back and think hard I'll realize how I've seen characters so much worse than her in film, tv, book or any form of media, but the consistency of what she does just irritates me so much. There are no redeeming qualities to her at all.
Many of the other characters range from boring and add nothing to the story to ...um...weird. Lisa's mom mostly exists just to tell Lisa that she needs to marry Johnny and to announce that she has breast cancer before Lisa rebukes the news. Denny is an odd teenager whose parents we never see and says lines like asking to go upstairs with Johnny and Lisa who are about to have sex and supposedly does drugs. (I say supposedly because there's literally no indication that he does drugs other than the one line where he confesses he does to Lisa and her mom.) There's this couple who are friends of Lisa's who randomly come to sneak into her apartment and have sex halfway or so into the movie. They mostly just flirt and make googly eyes at each other, and yet somehow they technically have more chemistry (loosely speaking) than anyone in the whole film.
And then you have Johnny himself. Holy crap, can I not believe Tommy Wiseau's acting in this movie. He has this...interesting way to say even the most simple of lines of dialogue wrong. From the accent, to the tone of his voice to his facial expressions to his body movement, nothing about his performance seems natural in the slightest. Not to mention he has this annoying habit of chuckling every moment he gets, even if he's laughing at something like Mark telling him a story about a girl who dated a dozen guys and one of them found out and beat her up so bad that she went to the hospital. I don't know why in the world anyone would do something like that; it's all just horrible acting choices that seem to only make sense in Wiseau's mind. Doug Walker says in his Nostalgia Critic review that this is the kind of acting that people say can never exist and there are middle school plays that give better performances than this, and he's right. Even the dullest performances I've ever seen seem normal compared to this guy's acting. It's especially incredible how hard the movie tries to display Johnny as the most wonderful person on the planet. Practically every person whether a main character, supporting character or some extra that gets only one line has something to say that tries to make Johnny look like a saint. Even the scene where Denny runs in with an armed drug dealer is clearly there to make Johnny look like a hero who saves Denny's life and has all the answers. It is important to address how much you want your audience to like your protagonist, but it's amazing how obvious they're trying to make him seem so wonderful when we're clearly not buying it.
The dialogue as many of you know is one of the most entertainingly bad aspects of the movie. From lines like "I did not hit her. It's bullsh*t, I did not hit her. I did naaaaht," to "You are tearing me apart, Lisa!" These are some of the stupidest lines that are done so comically wrong that you can't help but want to quote this movie just to make fun of how bad it is. Most of the really bad lines come from Wiseau, but the rest of the cast have an odd line every now and then. It's my understanding that some parts of the dialogue had to be rewritten in the middle of shooting scenes and it explains a lot.
The film is of course littered with some of the strangest and most awkward scenes you'll ever see which also part of why it's so beloved. From Johnny acting so broken hearted that he starts humping a dress, to four guys throwing a football dressed in tuxedos to some of the most uncomfortable sex scenes you will ever see. Now I'm not normally someone who's into watching sex in movies, but I am aware that even some of the most pointless sex scenes in film have to show there's some kind of chemistry between the two people and at least look pleasing to watch for the demographic of people who actually want to watch people having sex in their movies. But every sex scene in this movie just looks weird, awkward and ugly - especially given how Wiseau does not have an appealing body. And again, I don't usually pay attention to this kind of stuff in movies, but when practically the first half of this movie is on these long scenes of couple dancing, playing around, showing Wiseau's butt and showing us the most uncomfortable positions like having sex in a spiral stairway or Johnny looking like she's screwing Lisa's bellybutton than having actual sex, it's really messed up. It also doesn't help that half of the sex scenes are of Johnny and Lisa, making it even more pointless when we're watching them knowing that their relationship is one-sided.
And that at long last is my review for The Room. Is it as stupid and poorly made as everyone says it is? You bet every single review and list I've ever written it does. From terrible writing, to terrible acting, to some of the most bizarre and pointless scenes you will ever see in a movie, it is one of the worst movies that has ever existed. Do I see why people would find it to be so bad that it's good? Yes actually. While I found it more painful than amusing to watch, I can't deny that this film is surrounded by problems that people would and do love to make fun of. It's both painful yet fascinating how a movie like this came to be. While I'm giving this movie a zero percent in terms of its quality as a "movie," I will say that it's worth checking out. I knew long before I started writing this review that no words of mine can express how incredibly bad this movie is. It's truly something that has to be seen in order to be believed. In fact, there's a movie called The Disaster Artist that's based on the book of the same name written by the actor who played Mark, Greg Sestero, and coming to theaters in December. It's about Sestero's experiences in first meeting Tommy Wiseau and the behind-the-scenes drama in creating The Room. There's already a teaser for this movie on YouTube with James Franco as Tommy Wiseau and Dave Franco as Greg Sestero. The teaser looks promising, so if you have not seen The Room yet, I recommend that you go see it now while The Disaster Artist is still months away.
And that guys is my 700th review. Thank you for reading as always. I know I haven't reviewed as much as I used to, but I hope to catch up in the future. Until then, here's to another 100 reviews.