If you’ve ever seen The Room, you know it’s easily the worst movie ever. The other worst movie ever might be The Greasy Strangler, which somehow pulled off a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes. That is exactly double what The Room got. You can read this article with James Franco (who just made the movie The Disaster Artist about the making of The Room) comparing the two. James Franco clearly has nothing better to do in life than watch and make and talk about horrible movies all day long. And he gets paid for it. I’m kind of jealous.
The star of The Room is a man named Tommy Wiseau. Tommy sounds vaguely Eastern European but claims to be from New Orleans. He also lies about his age, because there’s no way in hell this guy is only two years older than me. It’s possible he’s gotten a fair bit of plastic surgery with his mysterious surplus of disposable millions. No one knows for sure how he made his money. He says it had something to do with designing Levi’s knock-offs. Whatever.
Tommy also wrote, produced, and directed The Room. This somehow explains everything. When you’re the one making all the decions, you have no time to worry about set decorating or dialogue or certain seemingly significant plot points getting totally abandoned. I’m still wondering what happened with Lisa’s mother and her breast cancer. Lisa obviously doesn’t give a shit.
Johnny and Lisa live in San Francisco. We know this because the first two minutes and 15 seconds are a montage of famous San Francisco landmarks, ending in an exterior shot of a fantastically huge and expensive-looking apartment only a trust fund baby could afford. Apparently Johnny is a banker. OK. Also, judging from the outside, their
set home looks nothing like you’d think it would on the inside. It has dark pink walls and dark pink drapes and no space. And judging from normal human interaction, that also looks nothing like you’d think it would.
Johnny walks in and greets Lisa. Immediately you notice his words are not in sync with his mouth. Lisa is doing absolutely nothing but sitting on the couch. This is Juliette Danielle, who looks like the exact kind of actress who would drop her last name to have two first names be her stage name. Johnny gives her a gift: A red slip. It’s sexy. She gives him a kiss. It’s awkward. And since she’s such an amazing girlfriend, she goes right upstairs and tries it on for him.
Johnny looks exhausted. He always looks exhausted. Banking is exhausting.
Denny walks in. You have no indication who Denny is or how he fits into their lives until half an hour later when you finally figure out he’s a college kid with no parents who Johnny and Lisa sort of take care of. A nonsensical sex scene ensues with Johnny and Lisa complete with a cheesy song you will find yourself humming two days later. You feel sorry for the girl with two first names because no amount of money could make this worth it. He’s not even doing it right. Also, no one I know has netting like that on their bed.
Look how tender he is with her. They’re so in love.
The next morning Lisa’s mother shows up for a chat. This is a very different Lisa. She’s indignant. She says she doesn’t love Johnny because he’s boring. The mother basically tells her it doesn’t matter and Lisa should marry him for his money, which wouldn’t be the worst advice if Johnny didn’t look and act like the kind of guy who might aspire to do porn. And in a weird way, I bet he’d be very popular.
Johnny is a sensitive soul. He wears his heart on his sleeve. All he wants is to be with the beautiful Lisa, who—for reasons we never fully understand—is about to screw him over. Hard.
The mother leaves. Lisa gets her plot face on.
She calls Johnny’s best friend Mark, who is very busy. (Note: This is the first time we see the framed picture of the spoon. IT’S A FRAMED PICTURE OF A SPOON.) Mark is also oblivious to the fact that she wants to have sex with him. The next day when he comes over she manages to seduce him in the most tepid sex scene you will ever see. Someone who sounds like El DeBarge is playing in the background while they do it on the stairs. And now it’s a love triangle.
Mean while, Johnny is buying roses for Lisa from a flower person who didn’t know it was him even though he’s her “favorite customer.” It’s not clear why she didn’t recognize him, considering literally no one on the planet looks like Tommy Wiseau except maybe Gene Simmons if he had longer, less wiry hair. Denny comes over and inappropriately flirts with Lisa. He comes off a little like a future murderer. Johnny then comes home and tells his cheater of a girlfriend he lost the promotion he wanted while she alternately glares at him and pretends to be supportive. His voice still seems dubbed. Lisa makes Johnny drink a mixture of some kind of brown liquor and vodka for them then drunkenly demands he make love to her because he “owes her one,” whatever that means, and he swallows her face with a kiss. The next thing you know they’re in bed, but it’s obviously the same footage from the first time they got it on and the reason I know this is because I used to do wardrobe and I can’t help but notice she’s wearing the earrings as before which are totally different than the ones she had on two seconds ago. And Johnny is still doing it wrong.
At this point you will start to wonder how in holy hell this movie got made and why you are still sitting there watching it. It’s so bad it’s like they’re doing it to you on purpose. Lisa’s mother, who’s tone of voice is eerily similar to Madge from the Palmolive commercials (“…you’re soaking in it”), comes over again and mentions for the first and only time she is dying of breast cancer. Conniving Lisa then lies to her dying mother’s face and says Johnny got drunk and hit her. There is something very wrong with this girl and you pretty much hate her and her frisky friends who sneak in to her house and get it on on her couch exactly like two actors who barely know each other. You also kind of hate yourself because you’re still watching this movie, but by now it’s become a challenge to finish what you started so you just keep going.
They do midnight showings of The Room all over the US and Europe. Apparently people yell stuff out like like they do at The Rocky Horror Pictur Show and throw things at the screen. This is a thing. We’re all going to hell.
The next thing we learn is Denny has been doing drugs and that he owes money to a guy named Chris R., the least gangster name ever. But Chris R. is wearing a black tank top and a knit cap so at least he looks sufficiently gangster. Chris R. has a gun and he wants his fucking money. Johnny and Mark show up and chase him off. Lisa and her mother give Denny a litany of shit for getting mixed up with drugs. This might be the most pointless scene of all, which is saying a lot. The sex was pretty awful too, but at least it was relevant.
Later, Lisa calls Mark. Mark acts like a total dick.
Lisa: “I miss you.”
Mark: “I just saw you. What are you talking about.”
Lisa: “I just wanted to hear your sexy voice. I keep thinking about your strong hands around my body. It excites me so much. I love you.”
Mark: “Is Johnny there?”
Lisa: “He’s… in the shower.”
Mark: “I don’t understand you. Why do you do things like this?”
Lisa: “You just don’t care, do you.”
Mark: “I do care. But we agreed, it’s over bdetween us.”
Lisa: “I understand, it’s our secret. But I still have feelings for you. You just don’t care.”
Mark: “I do care.”
Lisa: “I have to go now. I’ll see you later darling.”
Mark: “Don’t call me that.”
Lisa: “OK. Bye.”
Johnny goes up to the roof where Mark is and goes on a rant about how he never hit Lisa even though you have to idea how he found out she told her mom that. Mark says something stupid about women and leaves. Denny appears and tells Johnny he has the hots for Lisa, who keeps telling people Johnny hit her. Johnny confronts her and Lisa passive aggressively lets him know the marriage might be off. He responds by screaming “you’re tearing me apart,” because Tommy’s seen Rebel Without A Cause too many times. (True story. Tommy Wiseau himself said it.)
After the guys toss around a football in the alley to show you what regular guys they are, we see Lisa tell her mother with the glossed-over cancer she had sex with someone else and she doesn’t love Johnny. Johnny overhears her. Then he sits at the table with the spoon picture and rigs a tape machine up to the phone to catch her in the act. Johnny is clearly playing a dangerous little game. Lisa is a manipulative bitch in love with a guy who’s beard looks more and more ridiculous every time you see him. He also can’t take the pressure. Mark is smoking pot on the roof and pushing around Peter the psychologist. Who knows what Lisa and Mark will do if and when they get caught… Dun dun duhhh…
Now you’re feeling kind of bad for Johnny. It’s not his fault his flowing black hair and chiseled features make him look like a warlock.
More football with the guys, this time in tuxes. We have no clue know why they’re wearing tuxes. Johnny and Mark have coffee and talk of banking and sex. Mark is now clean shaven and Johnny’s voice still seems dubbed. Lisa and Mark have more tepid sex. Johnny and Mark have homoerotic fun in the park. Lisa the maneater and her friend get the house ready for Johnny’s surprise birthday party. We see Johnny walking through the financial district—even though you know there’s no way he got the proper permits to film down there—and then arrive home to the nine people who are there to surprise him. He seems genuinely happy. Some guy we’ve never seen before catches Lisa and Mark making out. Johnny then announces to everyone he and Lisa are “expecting,” which is a total lie Lisa told him to “keep things interesting.” You want to stab her right between her scowling eyes. Johnny and Mark scuffle. Then Johnny storms off up the stairs because everyone has betrayed him.
Johnny doesn’t deserve this shit. He’s, like, the only one with a heart, and maybe that’s the secret of Tommy Wiseau’s success. He put something totally asinine out there, but for all the right reasons. If your kid gave you a fingerpainting you’d hang it up and call it a masterpiece. This is the same thing. It endears you to it. By the end you can’t even be mad at it, because it is what it is. It’s entertainment. Watch it when you’re in a bad mood, and you’ll probably forget what’s bothering you. It may be the weirdest form of entertainment imaginable, but that’s what my husband would say about The Exorcist and I’ve probably seen The Exorcist 40 times and it’s always entertaining. I hope Tommy made millions off of it. It’s got heart.
If you’ve seen the rest, you know what happens to Johnny. Sadly, there won’t be a The Room 2. But we do have The Disaster Artist to look forward to. 94% on Rotten Tomatoes. Go Tommy.