Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) is a San Franciscan man who seems to have it all: a high-paying job as a banker, a bunch of friends–one of them being Mark (Greg Sestero), to whom he’s the closest–and a beautiful fiancee named Lisa (Juliette Danielle), whom he’s been engaged to for seven years. From the outset, Johnny’s got everything going for him…that is, until he faces the worst form of betrayal ever, and from then on everything begins to crumble.
The Room has gained a cult following for being one of the best worst movies of all time (in that it’s so bad, that it’s ‘good’). I’ve seen many clips and reviews of the film online but I’ve never actually sat down and watched this movie from start to finish until now. After seeing this movie for the first time, I have to say that all that attention was justified. Pretty much everything is wrong with this movie. Everything from the poorly written story, the awkward and unintentionally hilarious dialogue, and the incompetent direction makes this film absolutely terrible on every single level. However, if you love watching hilariously bad movies, this is a movie that you definitely need to check out. It’s entertaining for all the wrong reasons.
Plotwise, not much honestly happens in this movie. It could be summed up in 3 or 4 easy sentences. It’s the execution of these scenes and the odd decisions made by Wiseau (the director) that made these scenes so hilarious. Something noticeable is that many of the scenes are on repeat. For example, there’s at least 4 scenes where Lisa talks to her mother about Johnny and how he doesn’t love him anymore, with not much new information given, so they are completely pointless. There’s also plenty of scenes introducing subplots which lead absolutely nowhere. Like there’s a scene where a character named Denny is attacked by a drug dealer because he owes him some money. That scene is never brought up ever again in the film, it could be cut and nothing would feel out of place. There’s also a moment when Lisa’s mother during a conversation with Lisa, says that she has breast cancer. And guess what? That never comes up again.
The dialogue in this film is also so awkward that in many cases it’s absolutely hilarious. Such as when Mark asks Johnny about a client at his work at the bank, he says that he can’t tell him, because ‘it’s confidential’, before asking him “Anyway, how’s your sex life?” Characters also act so randomly or stupidly it’s bizarre. Lisa tries to get Johnny drunk so that he can hit her but when he doesn’t, she lies about it anyway, even though there’s absolutely no reason to. And nothing comes of that, it’s never brought up again, it’s an entirely pointless plot point that goes absolutely nowhere. Also it’s just little things, like when Johnny and his friends just throw around a football (because that’s something that all guys in this movie do), in tuxedos. Why are they doing that? There’s also so much stuff in the film that honestly could be cut. There’s a scene where two characters just are making out in Johnny and Lisa’s apartment (for whatever reason) which has no effect on the plot or any subplots (and these characters have no proper introduction I might add, they just come out of nowwhere). And then there’s the countless sex scenes, both between Johnny and Lisa and Lisa and Mark. Even though many of the scenes throughout The Room are pointless and just not executed in a competent way, all of them are still enjoyable in the wrong way (except for the sex scenes, I’ll get into that later). From how I described these scenes, this movie probably sounds extremely cringey and painful to watch. But trust me, look at a couple of these scenes online and you’ll see what I mean. It’s the perfect kind of bad.
Before I even attempt to describe the main star of the film, I think I should mention the supporting actors. Honestly at times it feels like these actors have the capability and talent to act well but with Wiseau’s awkwardly written dialogue and direction, they aren’t really able to do this. For the most part the acting is mediocre at best, but some of the characters are acted so oddly, that they are still funny. There is one actor that actually is good in this movie, someone who played a drug dealer named Chris R but he is only in one scene, and is on screen for like 1 and minute. No one else is good in the movie. Now onto the main star himself, Tommy Wiseau. I’ll just say this, I’ve seen a lot of movies, and this is the worst performance I’ve ever seen. Just look up any clips of him, it’s astounding. It often feels like he is unfamiliar with the dialogue, even though he wrote the screenplay (and directed and produced the movie as well, I might add). Honestly he is the reason to watch this movie. The scenes without him are a little funny on their own but it’s his acting that makes this film so unintentionally hilarious and iconic. It’s honestly extremely difficult to describe why the performance was so bad, you just have to look at it for yourself. It’s such a bizarre performance, I can’t really say whether he’s overacting or underacting, it’s impossible to compare it to anything else because there is nothing like it.
This movie had a 6-million-dollar budget but the film just looks like a 600-dollar budget, nothing about this film looks like it’s even worth a thousand dollars. The production design looks so basic, so basic in fact that there are literally stock pictures of spoons in the background. The rooftop (which is a prominent location for this film) has an obvious green screen behind it (instead of just using a real rooftop to shoot on). Even the costume design looked so basic and lazy. Overall the direction of the film is just as muddled as the writing, and at times it’s incompetence can be hilarious. I will say the only unironic gripe is the countless sex scenes, which go on for far too long. Not only that, everything about how they were directed, the locations, the cinematography, the editing, the music, every element in those scenes made them quite possibly the worst sex scenes ever directed in every film ever, which is probably saying a lot. It almost seemed like Tommy Wiseau was trying to imitate 70s style porn, and these scenes ended up being so cheesy and ridiculous. These are really the only moments in the film I didn’t like in an ironic way (aside from one camera angle which makes it look like Johnny was having sex with Lisa’s naval, which was pretty funny). The only technical aspect of the film that is halfway decent is the soundtrack, which is fine, but it’s probably because it seems much better in comparison to everything else in the movie.
The Room is undoubtedly a terrible movie on every single level. When it comes to the writing, direction, acting, editing, characters, absolutely everything completely fails. However, it’s definitely a bad movie that I almost recommend you seeing. Aside from the long drawn out awkward and boring sex scenes, this film is from start to finish a beautiful trainwreck that is impossible to turn away from. On a side note, if you want to learn more about the behind the scenes, I’d recommend reading The Disaster Artist written by Greg Sestero (Mark in The Room). It really does enhance the viewing experience as you know why things are how they were. However even on its own, The Room is a truly hilarious ‘experience’ and if you are willing to laugh at some weirdness and incompetent filmmaking, this film is definitely for you. I’d almost call it the perfect bad movie, a movie which is so incompetent, that it hardly lets up in surprising you how bad it can get, and is so entertaining for all the wrong reasons.