So Bad, It’s Good is a column focusing on why I enjoy what is typically called “bad” in critical circles. Many critics thumb their proverbial noses at these pieces of media and trash culture in general. Despite this, like a famous fictional person once said, frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.
The man who wrote, directed, and acted in this scene is Tommy Wiseau and the film is called “The Room”. Many, many stories have been written about the film and the phenomenon surrounding its cult fame. The sheer awfulness of this film is in its purest form and unlike any I’ve seen. “Troll 2” is a competitor to the crown (as are newer films such as “Birdemic: Shock and Terror”), but for my money, “The Room” is the all-time champ.
On every level, “The Room” is poorly done to an excessive degree. Characters disappear and reappear, the music is grating and inappropriate in equal measures, the writing incoherent, cinematography ugly and muddy, and the acting is absolutely atrocious.
So, why do I like the film? Why do I like pieces of pop culture traditionally called ‘junk’? That is hard to define. However, I think it can be distilled down into one word: Originality.
I truly prize originality in all pieces of art. Films and music that somehow say something differently and take a different route in doing so are inherently more interesting than a mediocre, middle-of-the-road piece calculated to make money. This can also be translated to people I meet. I often find unique, individual people to be inherently interesting and worth listening to.
“The Room” is a highly personal work, even if it is about as far from eloquent as humanly possible. It is also a film that opened to scathing reviews and walkouts. Wiseau spent approximately $3 million (!!) on the film and none of it shows on the screen. Despite that, it shows how much the film meant to him and how much he was willing to put himself on the line. With nearly no sympathetic female characters in the film, it also appears to be a bizarre treatise on his relationship(s) with women.
I first stumbled upon the film near the beginning of graduate school and I became hooked. Some may even say obsessed. I began to ponder the larger meanings behind various characters that appeared and reappeared, the reason for plotlines that were never resolved, and the constant panning shots of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. I also began to watch videos of the film, unable to shake Wiseau’s visage from my brain, somewhat similar to my college obsession with Garbage Day.
I met the man when they had a screening this past year at The Plaza Theater. Before the screening, I told him the movie (in somewhat hyperbolic fashion) “changed my life”. His response: “That’s what I like to hear.”
No, that’s what I like to hear, Mr. Wiseau.
I have spread the gospel of “The Room” to my family and friends. I am hoping this post brings one person one step closer to understanding the cult surrounding this little film that could and, in essence, why people enjoy “trash” so so much.
John doesn’t recommend you watch “The Room” more than three times in one sitting. He knows from experience. If you need to join a support group (or wish to comment), contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org