A review by Shlomoh Sherman
January 30, 2018
The Room (2003)
Plot Summary: Johnny is a successful banker who lives happily in a San Francisco townhouse with his fiancée, Lisa. One day, inexplicably, she gets bored with him and decides to seduce his best friend, Mark. From there, nothing will be the same again.
Plot Keywords: unintentional humor - imitating a chicken - breast cancer - best friend - betrayal
Director: Tommy Wiseau
Writer: Tommy Wiseau
Stars: Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Juliette Danielle
Tagline: Can you ever really trust anyone?
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated R for sexuality, language and brief violence
Parents Guide: See below
Release Date: March 3, 2004 (Australia)
Filming Locations: California, USA
Budget: $6,000,000 (estimated)
Production Co: Wiseau-Films
Runtime: 99 min
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
Award won: New York International Independent Film and Video Festival 2004 Audience Award for Best Feature Film - Tommy Wiseau
Where the heck do I start?
Whoever said "Ed Wood was Stanley Kubrick compared to Tommy Wiseau" was almost right. In fact, compared to Wiseau, Ed Wood is Cecil B DeMille, Orson Welles, Hitchcock and Spielberg combined.
When the movie opens, Tommy Wiseau appears on screen almost immediately. In my review of THE DISASTER ARTIST [http://shlomohsherman.com/reviews/disasterartist/], I cited a line from it; Greg Sestero, Tommy's friend, says: "You fucking Frankenstein-looking motherfucker!" I'm afraid that Greg is too kind. Even James Franco's makeup couldn't accurately reveal Wiseau's looks. Frankenstein? Compared to Wiseau, Boris Karloff is Brad Pitt.
Jeeze, I hate to be so mean, especially so early in the review, but MAMA MIA! How did that actress [Juliette Danielle] manage to do all those sex scenes with him without gagging?
To begin, in the first 30 minutes of the film, we are subjected to 3 sex scenes. This very pretty, sex actress, Juliette Danielle, playing Lisa, Johnny's fiancee, engages in love-making with 3 separate men, Johnny and two of his friends. Did I say love-making? Love-making would not be the excruciating chimera that is thrust [no pun intended] in your face. I don't like watching overdrawn sex scenes in films even when they are done tastefully [Well SHAKESPEAR IN LOVE is THE exception]. The sex in THE ROOM is not done tastefiully. The direction and the acting are awful. And there is some kind of inane, inappropriate music playing throughout the movie. As if the acting and the story weren't irritating enough - the music intensifies the irritation to a maddening degree. I must admit. I watched the movie at midnight, way past my bedtime. Maybe that's what made it worse.
Lisa is supposed to marry Johnny in a month's time but she has fallen out of love with him and in love with his best friend, Mark, whom she seduces over and over, seemingly against his will. After all, he protests, Johnny is his best friend and he feels awful betraying hin with Lisa; awful enough so that he only allows himself to succumb maybe two or three times. Imagine if he didn't believe in friendship loyalty.
Lisa tells her mother that she wants to break off the engagement but doesn't know quite when and how to do it. Her mother is outraged. "You need him", she tells Lisa. "You need him to take care of you financially." Lisa will hear nothing of it. She loves Mark, she confesses and wants to marry him.
Rather than give away more of the plot, I'll just address the production values. There are none. Not only are the sexual scenes unwatchable but the whole atmosphere of the movie is oppressive. My friend Tony tells me that THE ROOM is a current high school cult classic. Teenagers think it's hilarious, and it is, unintentionally, by the way, in case you haven't yet gotten it from this review. It's just that the whole gestalt: - the acting, the directing, the script, the cinematography [did I leave anything out?] are so insulting that you have to force yourself to laugh just to get over the feeling of being ripped off. Most people, I understand, don't force themselves.People who have seen the movie [my daughter, my friend Tony] tell me they laughed their behinds off. I pointed out in my review of THE DISASTER ARTIST that - "The real reaction of the first audience was uncomfortable silence and awkward laughter (described by one actress as 'like trying not to laugh in church'), and some people simply walked out of the theater."
There is a scene in the movie in which Johnny comes out the door leading to the roof of the building in which he lives. That infamous rooftop scene took 32 takes to get right. Tommy was not able to remember the simple lines, "It's bullshit. I didn't hit her." If Wiseau was so concerned to get it right, then why, at the end of the film, when the character Denny, played by Philip Haldiman, discovers Johnny lying down on his bed, he screams "Tommy!" instead of "Johnny!", meaning he is using Wiseau's real name instead of the name of the character Wiseau is playing, did the editor let it pass?. I had to watch that scene twice to make sure I heard it right. And that is only one small issue among many.
Ok, so what did I like about the movie that made me want to write a review? I liked the pretty actresses and admire their willingness to take part in this macabre comedy although I am sure that Tommy didn't intend it ot be a comedy. I liked the fact that it was filmed in San Francisco, a city in which I lived for half a year. Seeing the familar streets and the cablecars brought back fond nostalgic memories. And I liked that so many people whose taste I trust, implored me to see it. How could I NOT write a review?
KUDOS to Tommy Wiseau, writer, producer, director, who plays the lead Johnny. He's got big balls and he is fearless. Nothing daunts this guy, now a friend of James Franco
Worse than Mission to Mars... And yet, 1000x more enjoyable
See my review of THE DISASTER ARTIST, the story of the making of THE ROOM - Link below.
Did You Know?
[[Johnny walks to the apartment rooftop]
Claudette: Everything goes wrong all at once. Nobody wants to help me. And I'm dying.
Lisa: You can come out now, Johnny. She's gone.
Denny: I gotta tell you something.
Johnny: Everybody betrayed me! I'm fed up with this world!
Lisa: I miss you, Mark.
Mark: As far as I'm concerned, you can drop off the earth. That's a promise.
Steven: I feel like I'm sitting on an atomic bomb waiting for it to go off.
Johnny: [on overhearing Lisa say she's been unfaithful] How can they say this about me? I don't believe it. I show them. I will record everything.
Johnny: You should tell me everything!
Lisa: I've lost him, but I still have you, right? Right?
Claudette: All men are assholes. Men and women use and abuse each other all the time; there's nothing wrong with it. Marriage has nothing to do with love.
Peter: People are people. Sometimes they just can't see their own faults.
Lisa: I'm fixing the apartment for Johnny's birthday, but I'm really not into it.
Johnny: [his last lines] Why? Why is this happening to me?
Citizen Kane (1941) Rampage scene.
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) "A film with the passion of Tennessee Williams".
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) "You're tearing me apart!".
101 Dalmatians (1961) Cited by Greg Sestero as one of the films that influenced Tommy Wiseau.
The Graduate (1967) "You're trying to seduce me".
Rocky (1976) Jogging on the steps scene.
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999) Cited by Greg Sestero as one of the films that influenced Tommy Wiseau.
You're My Rose Performed by Kitra Williams Written by Kitra Williams and Wayman Davis Music written and arranged by Wayman Davis for Nu-Rhythmn
Baby You And Me Duet by Clint Jun Gamboa (as Clint Gamboa) and Bell Johnson Written by Kitra Williams, Clint Jun Gamboa (as Clint Gamboa), and Jarah Gibson Music written and arranged by Wayman Davis for Nu-Rhythmn
Crazy Performed by Clint Jun Gamboa (as Clint Gamboa) Written by Clint Jun Gamboa (as Clint Gamboa) and Wayman Davis Music written and arranged by Wayman Davis for Nu-Rhythmn
I Will Performed by Wayman Davis Written by Kitra Williams and Jarah Gibson Music written and arranged by Wayman Davis for Nu-Rhythmn
Happy Birthday (uncredited) Written by Mildred J. Hill and Patty S. Hill
PARENTS GUIDE FOR THE ROOM (2003)
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
MPAA Rating: R for brief strong violence, a scene of suicide, disturbing content, sexuality and sensuality ,smoking and alcohol use, and for language.
SEX AND NUDITY
A brief scene of sex between woman and man. Sounds of breaths are heard (possibly an orgasm).
Man and woman are kissing each other.
Another scene of man and woman having sex.
VIOLENCE & GORE
A man puts the barrel-end of a handgun into his mouth and shoots. After taking the shot, he lays on the floor dead with a puddle of blood by his head.
A drug dealer is threatening a young man with a gun and beats him shortly.
A brief fight occurs at the party between Mark and Johnny.
A man grabs another man by his shirt and pushes him against the edge of the roof.
A man yells and destroys his apartment, as well as throwing a TV out of the window and knocking many items off of shelves.
12 uses of "fuck" (one being "motherfucker") and 2 uses of "bitch".
ALCOHOL, DRUGS & SMOKING
A man and woman get drunk off of scotch and vodka.
A young man discusses how he owes money to a drug dealer for buying drugs, and a woman expresses her disdain towards the young man's briefly implied drug use.
A man is very briefly shown smoking a marijuana cigarette and offers it to a man; the second man declines and scolds him for his actions.
Adults are shown drinking wine and champagne.
FRIGHTENING & INTENSE SCENES
Spoilers - The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.
An elderly woman casually mentions having been recently diagnosed with beast cancer in one scene. Her daughter assures her that she'll be fine. It is then never brought up again.
Johnny shoots himself in the mouth and kills himself via a gun he had kept. There is some blood around the body. People circle around the body and grieve. It is violent, disturbing and bloody scene even if it is not gory.
There's talk about two characters "running away together.". This scene is violent and disturbing.
Read my review of The Disaster Artist
Everything Wrong With The Room In 8 Minutes Or Less
The Room: - Kerri Doherty of "The IMDb Show" dives into the origins of midnight movies and finds out how 'The Room' became a cult classic and Paul Scheer reveals the inspiration for 'The Disaster Artist' and his love of awesomely bad movies.
Read about The Room On the Internet Movie Data Base
Complete credited cast:
Tommy Wiseau ... Johnny
Greg Sestero ... Mark
Juliette Danielle ... Lisa
Philip Haldiman ... Denny (as Phillip Haldiman)
Carolyn Minnott ... Claudette (as Carolyn Minnot)
Robyn Paris ... Michelle
Mike Holmes ... Mike (as Mike Scott)
Dan Janjigian ... Chris-R
Kyle Vogt ... Peter
Greg Ellery ... Steven
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bennett Dunn ... Partygoer #1 (as Bennet Dunn)
Daron Jennings ... Barista
Kari McDermott ... Partygoer #2 (as Kari Mcdermont)
Jennifer Vanderbliek ... Partygoer #3 (as Jen Vanderbliek)
Frank Willey ... Coffee Shop Customer
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