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Our Crack Tongue & Groove

theroomcomment.jpg Tommy rotten?


ommy Wiseau’s cult film The Room is back in the spotlight again with the release of a new book The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made written by one of the picture’s stars, Greg Sestero. Oddly enough, the film’s well worth seeing…

I managed to catch the Indian director Satyajit Ray’s film Mahanagar (The Big City) for the first time recently. Made in 1963 it’s a masterpiece by any standard and left me pondering just how many other great films have somehow passed me by and I’ve still yet to see. Watching it also reinforced my hatred of the phrase: “You’ve got to see such and such - it’s soooo bad, it’s brilliant!” Why revel in tripe when there’s so much good stuff out there still to plunder?

Why indeed, so it’s with a heavy heart that I’m ashamed to report that I have been suckered into watching, and loving, surely one of the most inept films ever committed to celluloid, The Room.

The cult film, released in 2003, has somehow evaded my attention but I saw it recently after a late night boozy session. I put its seemingly incoherent plot structure down to the beer, but after watching it again over breakfast the next morning, I had to concede that it was one of the most incomprehensibly enigmatic pictures ever made. If, like myself, you tend to stay clear of let’s-laugh-at-rubbish fests and you’ve not yet encountered it, it’s a film that stars Tommy Wiseau, a man who looks like a fire-damaged pirate cyborg replacement for Charles I, with a voice akin to the Bulgarian speaking-clock trying to master English. His fashion sense – think ratty black locks of hair cascading down over billowing boxy suits – hasn’t so much left him, as went into hiding and changed its identity. Naturally, given his role as producer, writer and director, he is the film’s chief love interest. His fiancé is Lisa whom Tommy festoons with red roses and makes love to among wafting sheets of chiffon (the film’s two sex scenes are actually one sex scene, but repeated verbatim). Conflict arises however when we learn that Lisa actually hates Tommy. (Revealed in a poignant heart to heart with her mother, a scene which also lets us into the fact that her mother “definitely has breast cancer” – a plot point which is inexplicably never mentioned again.)

These characters are joined by Denny, their absurd teenager neighbour who wants to watch their lovemaking; Tommy’s best friend Mark, played by Greg Sestero in a performance that openly mocks the very notion of acting; and sundry other hangers-on who come and go with little or no connection to the plot. There are impromptu games of American football (with the participants occasionally clad in tuxedos to no discernable end); some ludicrous drug dealing; and a party scene of uncommon illogicality.

But unlike other cult rubbish films such as Plan 9 From Outer Space and Battlefield Earth (which are truly unwatchable) The Room is never less than compelling with the nagging feeling throughout being one of why, just why?

And if you object to The Crack lauding such nonsense, then, as one of the characters artfully declares in the film: “You can leave your stupid comments in your pocket”.

The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made has just been released by Simon & Shuster (and is actually amazing).