Awfully Good #100!

Ed. note: Awfully Good is a column that runs every Wednesday on our sister site, The DVD Clinic. Today we're pleased to celebrate a milestone for Awfully Good and its author Jason Adams; it's 100th edition. To celebrate, Jason has picked perhaps the modern definition of "awfully good," and we thought we'd share that with all the JoBlo.com readers as well. Congrats to Jason for all his hard work and I hope you enjoy the centennial edition of Awfully Good!

There were plenty of potential movies for this 100th installment of Awfully Good—PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, MANOS: THE HANDS OF FATE, an Uwe Boll retrospective— but one film called out to me from the heavens...

The Room (2003)

Director: Tommy Wiseau
Stars: Tommy Wiseau, Juliette Danielle, Greg Sestero

Is there a plot?

Johnny is engaged to Lisa. Lisa is in love with Mark. Mark is best friends with Johnny. Denny is a creepy orphan. Lisa’s mom definitely has breast cancer. Steven needs to keep his stupid comments in his pockets. My head hurts.

What's the damage?

There’s no hook here. No giant aquatic monster, no creepy midget, no Sylvester Stallone…just a straightforward drama that’s so horribly conceived, produced and presented that I’ve seen more than one person refer to it as the CITIZEN KANE of bad movies. A tall order, you might say, considering some of the films we’ve seen in this column. But THE ROOM lives up to the hype.

The first shot of the movie.

There are truly no words to describe how actively bad THE ROOM is. Much like the Eskimos have 30 words for “snow,” English linguistic experts need to coin another 50 for “suck,” just so I can accurately describe this movie. It fails spectacularly on every level imaginable: The script is so nonsensical and disjointed I have doubts as to if it was ever actually written down. Jean Claude Van Damme and Paul Walker look like natural thespians compared to these actors. The plot is hardly enough to sustain a clichéd 5 minute short film, yet THE ROOM manages to stretch it out to 99 excruciatingly joyful minutes thanks to extraneous subplots and random scenes. (More on that later!) And on a pure technical level, the poor cinematography and constant audio issues barely constitute this as cinema. To quote Fred Simmons, “I can't even believe this is something that's real.”

A cameo appearance by Zelda Rubinstein

The man to blame/praise is writer, producer, director and star of THE ROOM, Tommy Wiseau. You could call this a vanity project…if the guy actually possessed any talent. He looks like Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer (and if you watch the movie as a secret adaptation of Phil Harman’s classic SNL sketch, it almost makes more sense), not to mention he’s one of the worst actors we’ve come across in this column. Wiseau claims to have been born and raised in New Orleans, but he barely has a command of the English language. His accent sounds something like a Romanian Christopher Walken robot after a stroke. Seriously, when his character gets blackout drunk he sounds exactly the same as when he’s sober. Wiseau’s mannerisms here are so unnatural he doesn’t even portray a realistic human, especially when he insists on acting with his crazy eyes, one of which is also a lazy eye.

Tommy Wiseau does his impression of THE ROOM’s audience.

The best part is Wiseau claims that THE ROOM was intentional and that he was trying to make a great “American black comedy,” even going so far as to compare himself to Tennessee Williams. [ahem]…Shenanigans! There are subtle hints the man thinks he’s saying something meaningful about life and being human, in the same way he thinks he knows how to make a real movie. Even the rest of the cast and crew have since admitted that they were shooting a straightforward drama and Wiseau just sucked wastewater on a daily basis. Need more proof? Here’s some:

  • The character of Denny. Denny is the orphan kid who Johnny and Lisa mentor, even giving him a place to live and paying for his school. He also, at the very least, has a learning disability. Despite apparently being in college, Denny has zero regard for acceptable social boundaries, getting in bed with the main characters when they’re trying to have sex, attempting to make out with his adopted mom, and not understanding the basic concept of love that should come natural to a 6 year old. His other interests also include playing football and serial killing.
  • The constant reminder that Wiseau had no idea how to shoot a movie. This includes noticeable tripod malfunctions, audio issues that resulted in the majority of the film being badly re-dubbed, and horrible cinematography. Rumor has it Wiseau couldn’t decide between hi-def video and 35mm, so he shot the entire film using two cameras side by side.

After the success of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, Gollum had no problem using his trademark line to score strange ass.

  • The sex. There’s so much unnecessary random awkward sex in this movie that it seriously feels like a softcore porn, except with worse performances and production values. Wiseau also pairs it with some of the most awful music imaginable, ensuring that nobody anywhere will ever enjoy it.
  • The awkward moments of forced masculinity, mostly involving footballs. Wiseau is obsessed with showing how manly and tight knit the guys are, which to him means constantly throwing footballs around in close range of each other.
  • The random people who come in to Johnny’s house to have sex and eat chocolate off each other. Who are these people? And why does Lisa think it’s okay that they get bodily fluids on her couch. I don’t know. But I do think that, like Denny, the guy also might be retarded.
  • Steven. The actor that played Johnny’s friend Peter grew wise and quit halfway through production. Instead of writing this in to the script, Wiseau simply gave his lines to a random guy and had him play the pivotal role in the film’s emotional climax…without any explanation as to who this new person was or why he was yelling at the characters.

Is it still technically an "O" face if it's not "O" shaped? That looks like a Q to me.

  • Abandoned subplots and continuity. Wiseau’s script sets up a number of B-plots that for one reason or another never get mentioned again. These include Denny’s drug problem and near murder, Lisa’s mom’s breast cancer, the magical tape recorder that can stay on for two days without requiring a new tape, and the fact that Mark almost pushed his friend off a building without any consequences.
  • Scenes with no point. This goes hand in hand with the above bullet; if they edited it down to scenes that are actually relevant to the plot, THE ROOM would be 15 minutes long. My favorite time wasters include: the unnecessary sex scenes, the practice of having every character constantly greet each other by name, tuxedos and football, complete scenes of people ordering food or buying stuff, and chicken noises straight out of “Arrested Development.”

The final shot of the movie.

This is reaching thesis length, but amazingly I have only begun to scratch the surface of THE ROOM. I highly suggest checking out the movie or at least the highlighted clips below. You won’t be sorry. Well, you might be, but in a good way.

"Best" Lines

Some of the greatest out-of-left-field, random comments from the movie. I have no idea what they were trying for.

"Best" Parts

1) If you watch one video online today, let it be this montage of Tommy Wiseau’s hilariously bizarre attempts at acting. Some spoiler moments and a quick NSFW shot or two.

2) This tense scene, where the characters tearfully confront Denny about his drug problem, will give you a good idea of the caliber of drama in THE ROOM. Get ready to laugh.

3) The characters use chocolate, “the symbol of love,” to get down and dirty on their friend’s couch, resulting in one of the funniest O-faces since OFFICE SPACE. Bonus: An awkward discussion of underwear.

4) Some of Denny’s more creepy and awkward scenes, including some serious cockblocking and his obsession with football.

5) A sampling of the movie’s horrible sex scenes and the horrible music that accompanies it. (NSFW)

Nudity Watch

Juliette Danielle gets very naked during each of film’s awkward sex scenes. For some reason, Tommy Wiseau also enjoys showing off his very weird body.

Enjoyableness Continuum:

Put this beside THE GODFATHER in your DVD collection! Buy this movie here!

Play Along at Home!

Take a shot or drink every time:

  • Johnny says, “Oh hi [Name]!”
  • Mark says, “Johnny is my best friend”
  • Lisa says, “I don’t want to talk about it”
  • There’s an obvious continuity error
  • You realize a subplot has been set up and abandoned

Double shot when:

  • Someone plays football

Thanks to Peter and Jacob for suggesting this week’s movie, and to Everyone who’s been reading for the past 100 columns!

Seen a movie that should be featured on this column? Shoot Jason an email and give him an excuse to drink.

Source: DVD Clinic



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