There are two categories of bad movies, the one’s that are so bad that they’re unwatchable and the one’s that are so bad that you can’t help but love them anyway. The Room falls into the latter. In fact, it might be the Holy Grail of bad movies, the one bad movie to rule them all.
The Room’s terrible quality has been so beloved since it’s 2003 debut that midnight showings of the film are held all over the country. I journeyed to the Coolidge Corner Theatre with the Commish, Kaiser, and a few other brave souls to see this epic film in theatres. I’d read about what to expect, but it’s definitely one of those “seeing is believing” experiences.
The Room is self-described as “a romantic dark comedy.” It’s the “Frankenstein’s Monster” of Tommy Wiseau, who wrote, directed, financed, and starred in it. The plot revolves around the betrayal of the main character Johnny by his fiancé, Lisa, who sleeps with his best friend Mark. You may wonder how this can serve as the premise of an entire movie, but it makes sense once you watch it. There are several scenes that do nothing to advance the plot and five fairly long, fairly graphic sex scenes. No it’s not porn, it’s The Room.
The Room is our generation’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. Fans of Rocky Horror probably hate this due to The Room’s terrible quality, but there aren’t a whole lot of other films where the audience interacts with the film the entire time. There also aren’t many places where you’re allowed to openly yell in the theatre and it makes for a very unique experience.
Some of these interactions included,
• Hundreds of spoons are hurled at the screen whenever the pictures of spoons in Johnny’s apartment are shown on screen. This is the real gem of the experience as every fan brought a grocery bag full of spoons. The manager of Coolidge Corner even offered free movie tickets to whoever stayed to clean up spoons. There were probably well over a thousand on the floor…
• The entire audience chants “go, go” whenever the shot of the Golden Gate Bridge moving from one end to the other is shown. This happened a lot…
• Whenever the character Denny, an arguably mentally retarded 18 year old, comes on screen the audience would cheer his name.
• When one of the movie’s more memorable scenes aired, the whole audience would usher for silence due to the importance of the scene. This was pretty much the only time you could hear the words to the movie.
For a little glimpse of what we experienced, check out this video of a screening in L.A.
We also tried to get a football into the theatre, but the staff members were too familiar with the film to allow it in. Other people dressed as characters from the film or had masks of the characters (I know, dedicated). The Room really is the definition of a cult movie, even though it’s not very good.
The only thing I really regret about seeing The Room is how it changed my movie going experience. I’ll have to resist the urge to scream and yell the whole time and I won’t be able to hurl cutlery at the screen whenever I want. But it’s one of those things I’m really glad. The movie may have been terrible, but the experience was nothing shy of hilarious.