Wednesday, May 12, 2010

When is a Room not a Room?

When it's a cinematic abomination that has little to no relevance to it's title.

Sometimes an independent film can start off with the smallest of releases, but through a cult following, grow and grow until it finds an international audience and infamy. However, this is not always due to the films qualities that earn its way into pop culture, sometimes, as is the case for Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, the film is so bad that people are regularly selling out screenings just to see how bad it really is. The film is truly unintentional comedy at its finest.

Whilst many people may be familiar with the Youtube videos of hilariously awful moments in the film, I went one step further and went to one of the sell out screenings currently on at the Chauvel Cinema in Paddington. I had expected much of the same as I’d seen in the internet clips gone viral, shoddy acting, atrocious dialogue and a generally confusing plot, but what I got was scene after scene of hilariously new ways to get a movie wrong. If the film had been made this bad intentionally it would be a comedy masterpiece for the ages. I have never, ever laughed so hard in the cinema in all my life.

Wiseau has been plugging his film, which he directed, wrote, produced and starred in, since it was made in 2003 and he got his wish… It’s certainly getting noticed. He has even taken the audience reaction and said that the film is a “black comedy”, despite there not being a single moment where it attempts to be funny and succeeds. He also quotes himself in the films trailer, describing the film as having “the passion of Tennessee Williams”. The only similarity here with legend Tennessee Williams is perhaps a fondness for the bottle, with a puzzling scene in which the characters mixes scotch with vodka.

Before entering into the screening, I am given two things by the theatre, a handful of plastic spoons, and a “viewing guide”. The film has managed to garner a number of traditions to accompany the atrocious film, all mocking everything the film offers, from calling out “because you’re a woman” at every (and there’s many) sexist line of dialogue, and yelling out “Who the $%@& is that guy?!” when random characters, never before seen, enter the house of the protagonist, have sex on his couch… and leave. And the spoons? The house is bizarrely decorated in pictures featuring spoons, thus the tradition has emerged that when these appear on screen the audience is required to hurl spoons at the screen shouting “SPOONS!”. But perhaps the best laughs come from simply the film itself, from the horrifying attempts at sex scenes (“You’re doing it wrong!”) to the bizarre neck twitch that throbs throughout an entire scene, I was in stitches.

The appeal is that the screening is not just a film, but an event. It’s a two hour joke at entirely the films expense. Like watching your mate make a disastrous fool of themselves, sometimes it’s just too funny to feel sorry for them. Ultimately the film is near impossible to review, on one hand being immensely enjoyable but on the other being utterly awful.

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