If you’ve seen Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, then you’re probably already a devoted supporter of the bizarre train wreck of a film that‘s been called “the Citizen Kane of bad movies.” After all, we’re talking about a motion picture that’s been reported on by everyone from CNN to Entertainment Weekly and boasts celebrity fans such as Paul Rudd, Kristen Bell, and Will Arnett. And if you’ve yet to experience it…boy, are you in for a rare treat.
That’s because this so-called “black comedy” is riddled with plot holes, loopy dialogue, and the out-of-this-world acting debut of Tommy Wiseau (who’s billed as writer, director, producer, executive producer, and star). With his bizarre accent that frequently requires mismatched overdubbing, stringy black hair, and unusually high cheekbones, Wiseau provides a screen presence that’s akin to watching the slow kid from down the block try his hand at community theater. In fact, one writer wisely pegged his unique delivery as “Borat trying to do an impression of Christopher Walken playing a mental patient.”
But before we go any further, here’s a trailer for The Room so you can get an idea of what I’m talking about:
Is that greatness, or is that greatness? It ought to be, as Wiseau reportedly raised $6 million bucks to make his movie, although he’s been somewhat sketchy on where the money came from. The only fundraising tactic he’s admitted to was importing leather jackets from Korea. However, if you could make a few million doing that, why not just keep the money for yourself? These accounting mysteries only add to the mystique of the film, and comedian Patton Oswalt chimed in with his own theory during a spoof featured on his 2009 comedy DVD, My Weakness is Strong. Take it away, Alfan Golenpaul…
Yes, that was Jon Hamm making a cameo appearance, and here’s hoping he’ll take the lead in The Hallway. “You’re crushing me like a cheese sandwich!”
While the original 2003 theatrical release was a complete bomb (including people walking out of the movie or rolling in the aisles with laughter), The Room has slowly developed a cult following thanks to an overall product that’s begging to be ridiculed and Tommy Wiseau’s tireless promotional efforts. Fans show up at midnight screenings prepared to toss footballs short distances, throw plastic cutlery at the screen, and shout out lines of dialogue. In many cases, Tommy Wiseau is also there selling merchandise and answering audience questions before the show. According to him, “I’m happy, because I prepared all this stuff, and I wanted people to have a good time […] When you see The Room, you can yell, you can scream, you can express yourself–that’s the idea.”
Of course, Wiseau also claims that all the comedy seen on the screen was intentional. One member of the cast disagrees, telling Entertainment Weekly in an interview, “He is a nice guy. But he is full of shit. He was trying to put together a drama. It was basically his stage to show off his acting ability.” If that’s the case, then give Wiseau high marks for rolling with the punches and making lemonade out of lemons.
The Room – Meet the Characters
Before you watch The Room, be sure to check out this quick guide to all the film’s characters.
- Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) – A long-haired banking genius who’s engaged to Lisa. A saintly figure who loves doggies and helps wayward kids. When he’s not on the roof playing a game of short-range football, he’s being torn apart by Lisa and her cheating ways.
- Lisa (Juliette Danielle) – Johnny’s fiancée and a world-class manipulative bitch. While living with Johnny, she begins an affair with his best friend, Mark. She’s trying to make money in the “computer business,” although she finds that it’s too competitive. Seems to think that everyone “owes her one.”
- Mark (Greg Sestero) – Best friend of Johnny, he’s also Lisa’s secret lover. Possesses “strong hands.” While he wants to end his affair with Lisa, she keeps pulling him back in with the allure of her chunky thighs.
- Denny (Philip Haldiman) – A college-aged kid who was taken in by Johnny and Lisa. Denny lives in an apartment paid for by Johnny, and the long-haired saint is also paying his way through college. When he needs some money to pay for “some stuff,” he winds up in debt to drug dealer Chris-R. Possesses an incredibly high hairline for someone so young, and enjoys jumping into people’s beds unexpectedly during foreplay.
- Claudette (Carolyn Minnott) – Lisa’s constantly complaining mother, Claudette loves to give advice and yell at people who take drugs. Diagnosed with breast cancer, although it’s only mentioned once. Confides that “all men are assholes” at one point in the film.
- Michelle (Robyn Paris) – Lisa’s hot best friend. She dates Mike, and the pair like to show up at Johnny and Lisa’s apartment to have sex when nobody is around. As Lisa’s affair with Mike continues, Michelle increasingly expresses her disapproval.
- Mike (Mike Holmes) – Michelle’s goofy boyfriend. He falls over easily, and he also gets embarrassed when Claudette finds the pair of underwear that he’s stuffed in his pocket. Enjoys eating chocolate, especially off of Michelle.
- Peter (Kyle Vogt) – Johnny’s psychiatrist friend. Doesn’t like being thrown off buildings, and he’s not especially adept at throwing the football around.
- Steven (Greg Ellery) – A latecomer to the film, Steven shows up at the wedding party for Johnny and Lisa. There, he lets Lisa know how much he disapproves of her affair.
- Chris-R (Dan Janjigian) – The local drug dealer. Threatens Denny with a gun in order to get his money, but he’s subdued and led away by Johnny and Mark.
Quotes from The Room
The following are some of my favorite quotes from The Room, one of the greatest midnight movies of all time. I haven’t included all the gems from the screenplay, so feel free to post your own favorites.
- Johnny: You are lying! I never hit you! You are tearing me apart, Lisa!
- Mark: Oh man, I just can’t figure women out. Sometimes they’re just too smart. Sometimes they’re flat-out stupid. Other times they’re just evil.
- Denny: Why, Johnny? Why? Johnny, why? Why?
- Steven: I feel like I’m sitting on an atomic bomb waiting for it to go off.
- Johnny: Hi, doggy!
- Claudette: I got the results of the test back – I definitely have breast cancer. (this is the only time Claudette’s battle with breast cancer is mentioned)
- Johnny: [on overhearing Lisa say she's been unfaithful] How can they say this about me? I don’t believe it. I show them. I will record everything.
- Denny: I just needed some money to pay off some stuff
- Mark: As far as I’m concerned, you can drop off the Earth. That’s a promise.
- Lisa: She’s a stupid bitch. She wants to control my life. I’m not going to put up with that. I’m going to do what I want to do, and that’s it. What do you think I should do?
- Johnny: I did not hit her, it’s not true! It’s bullshit! I did not hit her! I did naaaat. Oh hi, Mark.
- Johnny: You betrayed me…you that good…you, you’re just a chicken, chirp-chirp-chirp-chirp, cheep, cheep
- Claudette: If you think I’m tired today, wait until you see me tomorrow.
- Johnny: Everybody betrayed me! I fed up with this world!
- Lisa: I just wanted to hear your sexy voice. I keep thinking about your strong hands around my body. It excites me so much.
- Johnny: I’m tired, I’m wasted, I love you darling.
- Mark: I used to know a girl, she had a dozen guys. One of them found out about it…beat her up so bad she ended up at a hospital on Guerrero Street.
Johnny: Ha ha ha. What a story, Mark.
- Johnny: Thank you honey, this is a beautiful party! You invited all my friends. Good thinking!
Trivia from The Room
Trivial Pursuit should really release an edition devoted to The Room. Yes, it’s that good. Filled with errors, crazy dialogue, bizarre behavior, and a number of wacky behind-the-scenes happenings, The Room is one for the ages. The next time you get together with fellow fans of The Room, try dazzling them with these bits of trivia.
- Nobody ever uses the word “fiancée” in the film. Instead, they are always referred to as “future husband” or “future wife.”
- The Room was originally written to be a play. Then, Tommy Wiseau wrote it as a novel. But the third time was a charm when he adapted it into a screenplay.
- During filming, Tommy Wiseau replaced the entire crew twice.
- Wiseau claims to have received “hundreds” of email from people thanking him for making The Room.
- The most frequently used line in the film is “Don’t worry about it.”
- The actress originally selected to play Lisa quit during production.
- As an April Fool’s joke, Cartoon Network aired the film in its entirety on April 1st, 2009 and 2010.
- The original actors to play Mark and Michelle quit due to creative differences.
- Actor Greg Sestero, who played the role of Mark, also assisted with casting and served as the film’s line producer. He only agreed to appear in the film 72 hours before production was to begin.
- Principal photography on the film lasted eight months.
- The Los Angeles billboard for the film became well-known to residents, as it stayed up for five years.
- The character of Peter disappears halfway through the film. This was due to actor Kyle Vogt quitting the film after a disagreement with director Tommy Wiseau. During Johnny’s birthday party, another actor is given Peter’s lines.
- Framed pictures of cutlery can often be seen hanging on the walls of Johnny’s apartment.
- Available for rent from Netflix and GreenCine. Wiseau hopes to release the film on Blu-ray in 2011.
- Instead of renting the cameras to shoot The Room, Tommy Wiseau bought them outright. Since he was unsure of the difference between high-definition and 35mm, he purchased one of each. He claims that he’s going to make a documentary and write a book about the differences between these two formats.
- Due to the growing cult status of The Room, co-star Greg Sestero is writing a tell-all book about the making of the film and the enigma that is Tommy Wiseau.
- During its initial theatrical run, The Room made less than $2,000.
Notable Mistakes in The Room
While Tommy Wiseau insists that each scene in The Room was meticulously crafted, there remain a number of glaring errors. Here are 10 goofs to keep an eye out for, and feel free to let us know about any we’ve missed.
- During a rooftop scene, a lighter appears to move under its own power.
- When Johnny and Denny toss the football around from a short distance, the editing of the film makes the ball appear to stay in the air for several seconds.
- While Lisa drinks wine, the glass shifts in and out of her hand with each shot.
- Denny mounts the staircase with an apple in hand. As he reaches the top of the stairs, the apple has disappeared.
- The second love scene in the film recycles clips from the first love scene.
- Johnny, a banker, claims he cannot cash a check because it’s “out of state.” In reality, this isn’t true.
- During their scene in the coffee shop, Mark and Johnny never pay for their coffee.
- Given the layout of the roof on Johnny’s apartment building, the stairs going back down can’t possibly lead anywhere.
- Johnny brings roses to Lisa. In the next scene, she’s magically carrying a vase to put them in. She didn’t have the vase in the previous shot.
- During the first love scene, Lisa takes the clip out of her hair. In the next shot, her hair is back in the clip. The following scene once again shows her with her hair down.
Links to The Room
Here are some of the best links available when it comes to Tommy Wiseau’s The Room.
- The Room Official Website – Find out if The Room is going to be screened near you, plus buy merchandise, watch trailers, and get the latest news on the demented world of Wiseau.
- Interview with Tommy Wiseau – A hottie from Mahalo sits down for an interview with Tommy Wiseau. Check out his unusual exit that leaves her cracking up.
- 10 Tips for Making a Sex Tape – Tommy Wiseau totally misses the point in this interview with AskMen.com. Still, it’s hilarious as hell for that very reason.
- The Room Fansite – A great resource for fans of The Room. Includes a link to a video game based on The Room, not to mention a Johnny bobble head that utters the following phrases:
“You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!”
“Oh, Hi Denny!”
“Love is blind.”
“I’m fed up with this world.”
“I did naaat!”
For those of you who are new to the genius of The Room, hopefully this article has provided you with a basic understanding of what the hell is going on. Remember, Tommy Wiseau has advised all Americans to see the film at least twice, so be sure to perform your patriotic duty by either renting it online or attending a midnight screening near you. If you choose the latter, make sure to bring a bouquet of roses (or some plastic sporks at the very least).