Watching “The Room” for the first (and hopefully last) time was a bit like listening to Bob Dylan on auto-tune. No, scratch that. It was like watching Kim Kardashian preform mouth-to-mouth on a blood hound. Or maybe it was like eating a sloppy joe while Judah Freelander massages my feet. Somehow I cannot put together an analogy that completely embodies the queasy, incoherent, weirdly-dark-yet-still-completely-tacky-and-unpleasant-hot-mess-of-a-cult-film that is “The Room”.
The plot (and I use that word loosely) is composed of a love triangle that contains about as much love as it does geometry. Lisa (Juliette Danielle) is engaged to a hot chocolate-drinking, football tossing, lump of muscle, wrinkles, and grease named Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) but is in love (or at least says repeatedly and menacingly that she is) with Johnny’s best friend Mark (Greg Sestero). (Or at least he says repeatedly and exasperatedly that that is what he is).
Tommy Wiseau (who also writes, directs and produces) delivers an incredible performance as Johnny. I was unaware that it was even possible to act while simultaneously asleep and in a coma.
Furthermore, his skill as a director calls for him to pay great attention to detail. For example, a scene in which Johnny, Mark, Johnny’s pseudo-adopted son/friend Denny, and another pal who just so happens to be a (much needed) psychiatrist don tuxedoes and then scamper out into a back alley to toss a football back and forth. Things such as contextual plot relevance, explanation, and, well, meaning, are obviously unimportant to the development of time fillers such as this. One would imagine that plenty of time could have been filled with coverage of topics such as Lisa’s mother’s breast cancer or the fact that Denny owes money to a drug dealer. But Tommy Wiseau’s imagination is obviously better than the rest of ours, as these matters are tossed aside without so much as the blink of an eye.
Instead, most of the movie takes place in Johnny and Lisa's living room where people wander in and out for no reason other than to exchange a few rusty bits of dialogue and in moments of levity, to engage in spontaneous pillow fights. Scenes like this are crudely glued together with completely irrelevant shots of "The Room's" location, San Fransisco.
Of course, this film is so bad, it has accumulated quite the cult following. And if my understanding of cinematic cult followings is correct, this is made up of people who can somehow relate to the characters in a way that the rest of us mainstream folk just can’t. Who enjoy listening to dialogue that sounds like it has been wrenched out of a pull-string Barbie doll. Who find refuge in a movie that, in being unconventional, somehow showcases unconventionality in a way that is relatable or thought-provoking. “Rocky Horror Picture Show” did this. “Pulp Fiction” did this. “A Clockwork Orange” did this. If “The Room” is unconventionality at its best (worst), it would make someone like Alex DeLarge want to immediately rush out and apply for a job as an insurance salesman.
It takes very little effort and/or intelligence to make a bad movie. It takes quite a bit to make a bad movie that means something.