Worst Movie of All Time: The Room

April 6th, 2010

Last week we talked in class about some candidates for the worst film of all time.

I would like to humbly nominate The Room for this distinct honor.

Photo via Wikipedia

The Room came out in 2003 as the pet project of Tommy Wiseau — an enigmatic, unintelligible man with an accent that can’t quite be placed. He sounds kind of German/French, but he claims he grew up in Louisiana and should be referred to as American. Who knows.

Tommy Wiseau had no studio funding, but managed to put forth the $7 million budget independently. Most of the casting ended up being first time actors and friends. Scenes were filmed on a rented sound stage, with some location footage shot in San Francisco.

The plot of the movie revolves around a love triangle between the three main characters: Johnny, his fiancee Lisa, and best friend Mark. Johnny is well respected in his community, where he is a successful banker. He has also taken a young, seemingly retarded college-aged creeper named Denny under his wing. He is fiercely devoted to Lisa and Mark, but unbeknownst to him, they start an affair behind his back. How will Johnny ever come to terms with this betrayal?

Why this is the worst movie ever
Where to start? Aside from the boring, overdone premise, there are oodles of things wrong with this movie. Tommy Wiseau served as producer, writer, and director of the film after receiving no studio backing. This kind of thing usually only works if you’re George Lucas.

The script is unspeakable. Most people attribute this to the fact that English is Wiseau’s second language, combined with his naturally lame writing skills. The dialogue is flat, base, and wholly unrealistic. Wiseau’s strange accent doesn’t help.

Multiple subplots are brought up and immediately forgotten. The biggies include Lisa’s mother having breast cancer, some sort of real estate inheritance, Denny’s run in with drug dealers, and friends having sex in Johnny’s house.

The film is inexplicably ADR’d throughout. Poorly. Overdubs never match mouth movements, and exacerbate the shite dialogue.

Unnecessary repetition of scenes, conversation, and themes
The movie is 99 minutes long, but could have been much shorter had Wiseau omitted several unnecessary, repetitive scenes. For example, Johnny frequently seeks advice on his relationship troubles from the same group of friends, but nothing ever comes of it. Fifteen minutes later we’re subjected to the same scene again. And for some reason, they’re always throwing a football. I assume the football is a form of filmmaking contrapposto, to make the characters seem more natural while they’re talking. It doesn’t work.

Long, unnecessary, awkward sex scenes
This film is basically a soft core porn.

The Room has become a cult classic à la Ed Wood or Uwe Boll. It has multiple screenings each year in major cities in both the US and Europe. Adult Swim played it last year on April 1 as their annual joke, and Tommy Wiseau has been featured a few times on the Adult Swim sketch show “Tim and Eric.”

Tommy has said that this movie was intended to be a black comedy, but I think we all know that he was trying to pull some serious acting chops here. Fortunately, he can take the criticism with some humor and supports all the C-movie publicity it gets. He even shows up for screenings and Q&A’s whenever he can.

Video clip: “I definitely have breast cancer.” The subplot points in this conversation are never revisited. Never.

Video clip: “You’re my favorite customer.” Johnny buys some flowers for Lisa at the shop. ADR galore and some choice quotable lines.

Video clip: Randomly throwing a football a few feet in a circle. Why is this scene here? What are they talking about? Why does this same scene seem to occur ten times (once with tuxedos)?

Video clip: “Oh hi Mark.” Johnny confides in Mark. Notice that they’re not throwing a football in this scene, but Mark is holding one anyway.

3 Responses to “Worst Movie of All Time: The Room”

  1. Caitlin Murphy on April 6, 2010 6:34 pm

    I have, unfortunately, seen a little bit of this, and I agree with you entirely. Awful movie. D:

  2. Kenny Cunningham on April 6, 2010 7:02 pm

    HAHA! My roommate has this movie and I’ve actually seen this! THE worst and most obnoxiously stressful movie I have ever seen. I seriously wanted to kill myself after watching it. Believe it or not I saw this on cartoon network the other night as well!

  3. Kayla on April 6, 2010 8:09 pm

    Even though I have only seen some of this, I agree with you. It’s a really bad movie.

Comments are closed.