Trying to explain The Room is almost impossible; it really just has to be seen to be believed. The film was released in 2003 and was so horrifically bad that it is now screened around the world as an interactive experience – similar to Rocky Horror but without the acting talent, coherence or (thank God) the musical numbers.
The Room is supposed to be a drama about a good man being wronged by all those he loves, but instead it turns into a mess of half-thought-out plot points, characters that enter and leave the film with no explanation, and soft-core porn. Put simply, The Room is so bad you can’t help but enjoy it.
Palace Nova has been screening The Room for the last few weeks on a Saturday night, with the final screening on the 29th of May. This is a film that must be seen with lots of people, and UniLifeMag went to the premiere earlier in the month.
The film began in dramatic silence. Not because director/actor/producer/writer/executive producer/documentary maker/your new life hero Tommy Wiseau is building the suspense, but because the sound isn’t working. The audience members who have seen the film before attempt to shout out the film’s lines until the first of FOUR major sex scenes begin to assault our eyes. The film stops soon after and an incredibly stressed-looking Palace Nova employee attempts to explain what is going on. The crowd of around 200 is having enough fun without the film, throwing a football around in reference to The Room’s many (pointless) football-throwing scenes, as well as anguished cries of “you’re tearing me apart”.
Eventually we are all corralled into a different cinema, giving many people time to get another drink, and the film starts a little while later, although nobody cares about the delay. The sound of the Palace Nova’s trumpet as the film begins never seemed more triumphant.
There is a constant commentary from the audience during the film. Some of these are suggested in the pamphlet that audience members are given, many of them are due to a large group of drunken twenty-somethings having fun. Plastic spoons are thrown at the screen, the appearance of the strange man-child Denny is met with cheers, and the sex-scenes are abused and applauded.
You will leave the film with many questions. How did Wiseau raise seven million dollars to make this film? Why is the revelation that one character has cancer never mentioned again? Why were they playing football in tuxedos? How short would the film be if you cut the sex scenes and establishing shots of San Francisco?
In the end, none of this matters. The Room entertains in a way that no other film can. The experience is summed up by what happened to a friend of mine while he was at the cinema bar. A man walks up to the counter, high-fives the staff member and says “Best Film Ever. Now get me a beer.”