Monday, February 20, 2012

Signal Watch Watches: The Room (again - but in a theater)

It had been a while since I'd seen Tommy Wiseau's opus The Room (2003!). While I am no longer quite as charmed by spending my time seeking out truly awful movies after the realization struck me that I was doing so at the expense of seeing good movies, the opportunity to see The Room on the silver screen with a room full of people seemed too inviting.

So, with PaulT and his ladyfriend, Val, we hit a midnight-ish screening of the notorious drama at The Alamo Ritz downtown.  Neither Val nor PaulT had seen the movie before, and, frankly, I was more than a bit unsure about how this was going to go down.  (1) I've never been 100% sober while watching the movie before, (2) sharing in the experience of The Room is not to everyone's taste and (3) I'll forewarn you that the movie features a whole lot of "adult moments", which translates into a whole lot more of Tommy Wiseau and his co-stars than you thought you were signing up for.

this deeply Photoshopped Wiseau gives us an idea of what he thinks he 's doing

There's a whole lot out there online written about The Room, and I hate to cover well worn territory, but its a shockingly inept melodrama.  It has the immediacy and awkwardness of someone's very first screenplay, probably written from an experience that was somewhat traumatic to them but which doesn't translate well to an anecdote, let alone a movie.  And, at that, the screenplay (like Birdemic: Shock and Terror) was written by someone who didn't have the best grasp of American English as a native speaker.  A lot of the lines just don't make much sense unless your brain is adjusting to compensate for the non-native speaker's understanding of colloquialisms, cultural customs, etc...

And, like Birdemic: Shock and Terror, the writer/ director is taking the auteur approach and insisting on their vision for the film despite protests for reason, sanity or logic.

Firstly:  I can't recommend that you first watch The Room at a crowded theater with the audience giving it the Rocky Horror Show treatment.  Fans of The Room have their own chants, call-outs, interactivities, etc...  For example, during every establishing shot of San Francisco showing the Golden Gate Bridge, one can chant "go!  go!  go!" to see if this is yet another shot wherein we'll see the entirety of the structure.  Which, you know, is not a small bridge.

The problem, as I saw it, is that with the constant noise of the crowd, its easy to miss the 1000 little details that Wiseau intentionally and oddly made a part of his movie, from dialog like "Keep your comments in your pocket" to the nigh once-per-minute use of the phrase "don't worry about it", often after or while something extremely upsetting was occurring that absolutely should be a source of worry.

All that said, I do not deviate from my enjoyment of the movie as a bit of oddball cinema and schadenfreude.  Truly, it is a marvel of one creator's vision nowhere matching their abilities, not to mention an oddly self-serving eschewing of reality.  I now recommend just getting yourself a bottle of something strong to deaden the pain, and then let the DVD rip.  And do not save your questions for the end.

Indicators were that Paul and Val had a good time.  I'll not immediately leap to try to include them in any screenings of Birdemic, but I think they may be ready.

1 comment:

Paul Toohey said...

We might have to schedule a watching of Birdemic before the sequel comes out.

It was good times, maybe not quite worth putting life+limb in jeopardy of being harmed by crazed Mardi Gras crowds...but still good...