The Room (2003)
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?
Genres: Drama
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)
Rated R for sexuality, language and brief violence
Parents Guide: See below
Country: USA
Language: English
Release Date: March 3, 2004 (Australia)
Filming Locations: California, USA
Box Office:
Budget: $6,000,000 (estimated)
Company Credits:
Production Co: Wiseau-Films
Technical Specs:
Runtime: 99 min
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
Color: Color
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.
[Actually Danielle DeColombie at made the Ed Wood remark, in case you are interested]

When the movie opens, Tommy Wiseau appears on screen almost immediately. In my review of THE DISASTER ARTIST [], 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
KUDOS to Greg Sestero who plays Johnny's best friend, Mark. Greg's acting was not as bad as that of the rest of the cast.
KUDOS to Juliette Danielle who plays Lisa, Johnny's love interest. I don't know what's become of her acting career but you gotta hand it to her, a beautiful, sexy woman subjecting herself to this madness. All she needs is a good acting coach and she may be ok.
Philip Haldiman who plays Denny, Johnny's other close friend. Haldiman, one of the oldest cast members, played Denny, the youngest character. He's got a pretty good filmography.

I leave you with Ladypade's review:

Worse than Mission to Mars... And yet, 1000x more enjoyable
July 10, 2003 - by ladypade – See all my reviews []
"The Room", more aptly titled "Inconsistancy: The Laughably Pitiful Time Machine", left me feeling more conflicted than ever before. On the one hand, this is clearly the worst movie ever made. Tommy Wiseau must be a billionaire, because I have no idea who in their right mind would fund this project. The acting is horrific, the plot drops its incomprehensible tangents about as abruptly as they are surfaced, half of the film is composed of sex scenes (one recycled, by the way), and the dialogue is the most unnatural I've ever heard... it's a joke. And speaking of jokes, all these qualities make "The Room" one of the most fun films I have seen in a long, long time. I loved it - it's absolutely destined to be a cult classic. While watching this adorable attempt at capturing reality, I couldn't help but long for the return of MST 3K so they could have a crack at this thing. Fortunately, the audience picked up on my vibes and shouted out jokes and comments sufficient enough for my yearning. I would recommend that every person in the world find a way to see this film because it will leave you feeling that much better about yourself. I mean that sincerely. So long as you have a great sense of humor and don't mind that the characters' only motivation for action is simply their ill-explained personality traits, I guarantee explosive laughter throughout the surprisingly quick hundred minutes. It's like nothing I have ever experienced before. Wiseau's character delivers the line at one point, "You're tearing me apart!!" My sentiments exactly.

See my review of THE DISASTER ARTIST, the story of the making of THE ROOM - Link below.

Did You Know?

Entire scenes were out of focus because nobody bothered to check the lens.
According to Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau submitted the film to Paramount, hoping to get them as the distributor. They rejected the film within 24 hours. Usually, it takes about two weeks to get a reply.
According to Greg Sestero's book, Tommy Wiseau insisted on having his bare bottom filmed. Wiseau's reasoning was, "I have to show my ass or this movie won't sell."
Peter seemed dazed and was touching things in one scene because the actor had suffered a concussion and Tommy Wiseau wouldn't let him leave for treatment.
After a very limited theatrical run, the film has become popular as a "midnight movie," with a cult following. Audience members dress up as the characters, throw plastic spoons at the screen, and toss footballs to each other. Tommy Wiseau attends many screenings, and holds Q&A sessions with the audience.
Most of the crew were convinced the film would never be seen by anyone.
According to Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau intended for the film to contain a subplot in which Johnny was revealed to be a vampire, due to Wiseau's own fascination with the creatures. Sestero recounts how, at the outset of production, Wiseau tasked members of the crew with figuring out a way to execute a sequence in which Johnny's Mercedes-Benz would lift off from the roof of the townhouse and fly across the San Francisco skyline, revealing Johnny's vampiric nature. Wiseau eventually decided to drop the subplot after learning that there was no practical way to film the flying car scene on the production's budget.
Tommy Wiseau claims to have financed the film by importing and selling leather jackets from South Korea. He refuses to further elaborate on this. However, according to Greg Sestero's book "The Disaster Artist," he said Tommy financed the film from working in real estate and entrepreneurship.
Filming took over six months. In that time, two cinematographers (along with their crews) resigned and three actors left, being either recast or replaced with a completely different character.
Post release, Tommy Wiseau claims that this film was always meant to be a comedy full of so-bad-it's-good elements. The rest of the cast has doubt on that theory.
A billboard for the film was erected on Highland Avenue in Los Angeles, where it stayed for five years. Later, the same billboard was used to promote the book The Disaster Artist, written by co-star Greg Sestero about the film's making.
The original script was significantly longer than the one used during filming and featured a series of lengthy monologues. It was edited on-set by the cast and script supervisor, who found much of the dialogue incomprehensible. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, one anonymous cast member claimed that the script contained "stuff that was just unsayable. I know it's hard to imagine there was stuff that was worse. But there was."
According to Tommy Wiseau, Denny has some sort of mental disorder, which explains his behaviour in the film. Philip Haldiman was not told about this.
Wiseau sent the art department out to buy new items. They returned with framed pictures of plastic spoons, which Wiseau, impatient to continue filming, ordered hung up. Plastic spoons have become a staple of midnight screenings of the film, often being thrown at the screen upon the occurrence of a spoon shot. There are thirty-four spoon shots.
Many of the crew members had to conceal their laughter about what they were witnessing. The cameraman began to laugh so hard the camera would shake during takes. The first Director of Photography had his own tent where he could laugh out of sight, while ostensibly watching the footage.
Unlike most movies, where the sets are generally closed while filming nude sequences, Tommy Wiseau insisted that the set be open while filming the long love scene between Lisa and Johnny.
Cartoon Network's late-night TV block, Adult Swim, aired a somewhat censored version of the film every April Fools' Day from 2009 to 2011.
Tommy Wiseau esoterically addressed several fan questions in a special Q&A feature filmed for the DVD release. Among these are "Why is it called 'The Room'?" Wiseau replied that the title is meant to evoke a safe place for viewers.
Tommy Wiseau was so pleased with the sex scene footage that he wanted all of it in the film, before an editor talked him out of it. The first sex scene between Johnny and Lisa was nearly six minutes before it was cut in half. Juliette Danielle was shocked by the lengthy sex scenes; she thought they were going to last a couple of seconds
Michael Rousselet and Scott Gairdner started the cult movement in 2003 upon seeing the first initial run of The Room in theaters. Mesmerized and obsessed, they brought a hundred friends to the final four screenings during the last three days of The Room's theatrical run. They ran amok in the theater bringing props such as spoons, football, and roses as a sort of "Viking funeral" believing the film would never be seen again.
When Greg Sestero had to call Dan Janjigian to tell him that they were going to reshoot his scenes, Dan's response upon picking up the phone was "Did Tommy blow up the studio yet?"
Greg Sestero stated in his book The Disaster Artist that Tommy Wiseau took his movie so seriously during production, that he told Sestero that the lines he wrote were so amazing that they would be able to put people to sleep. Ironically, Sestero found some truth in that.
This movie is often referred to as the "Citizen Kane of Bad Movies".
Tommy Wiseau once yelled at a crew member for farting on set.
The film was promoted almost exclusively through a single billboard in Hollywood, located on Highland Avenue just north of Fountain, featuring an image Tommy Wiseau refers to as "Evil Man": an extreme close-up of his own face with one eye in mid-blink. Although more conventional artwork was created for the film, featuring the main characters' faces emblazoned over the Golden Gate Bridge, Wiseau chose the "Evil Man" for what he regarded as its provocative quality; around the time of the film's release, the image led many passers-by to believe that The Room was a horror film. Despite the film's failure to enjoy immediate success, Wiseau paid to keep the billboard up for over five years, at the cost of $5,000 a month. Its bizarre imagery and longevity led to it becoming a minor tourist attraction. When asked how he managed to afford to keep the billboard up for so long in such a prominent location, Wiseau responded: "Well, we like the location, and we like the billboard. So we feel that people should see The Room (2003). [...] we are selling DVDs, which are selling okay."
The film contains just over ten minutes of sex scenes.
Carolyn Minnott had always wanted to act and this was one of the only parts she could get. As such, she gave it everything she had, even nailing a scene right after being hospitalized for heat stroke.
The budget for the film reached $6 million, all of which was spent on production and marketing. Tommy Wiseau has claimed that the reason the film was relatively expensive was because many members of the cast and crew had to be replaced, and each of the cast members had several understudies.
Greg Ellery has claimed that Juliette Danielle was just "off the bus from Texas" when shooting began, and that on the first day of shooting, "the cast watched in horror" as Tommy Wiseau jumped on Danielle and immediately began filming their "love scene". Greg Sestero has disputed this chronology, stating that the sex scenes were among the last to be filmed.
Greg Sestero maintains that Tommy Wiseau was adamant characters say their lines the way they were written, but that several cast members managed to slip in ad libs that ended up in the final cut of the film.
Tommy Wiseau paid for a small television and print campaign in and around Los Angeles, with taglines calling the film, "A film with the passion of Tennessee Williams."
Greg Sestero, who played Mark, wrote a critically acclaimed book about his friendship with Tommy Wiseau and his experiences making the film entitled "The Disaster Artist." The book was published in 2013, the 10th anniversary of the film's premiere. It was later adapted into a film, The Disaster Artist (2017), directed by and starring James Franco as Tommy Wiseau and Dave Franco as Greg Sestero.
According to Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau was already independently wealthy at the time production began, having amassed a fortune over several years of entrepreneurship and real estate development in and around Los Angeles and San Francisco.
According to Greg Sestero, the character of Lisa is based on a woman to whom Tommy Wiseau once proposed with a $1,500 diamond engagement ring, but who "betrayed [him] several times", resulting in the breakup of their relationship. Sestero further postulates that Wiseau based Lisa's explicit conniving on the character Tom Ripley, after Wiseau had a profound emotional reaction to The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999).
Tommy Wiseau has expressed plans to adapt the movie into a Broadway musical.
Tommy Wiseau frequently forgot his own lines or missed cues, requiring numerous retakes and on-set direction from the script supervisor. Much of his dialogue had to be re-dubbed in post production.
During the alley scene, the "windows" on the wall behind the characters are clearly seen to be made of paper, as they are slightly rippled.
The script was originally written as a play, then a novel.
Celebrity fans of this movie include: Alec Baldwin, Paul Rudd, David Cross, Will Arnett, Jonah Hill, Kristen Bell, Karen Gillan, Edgar Wright, Michael Cera, David Wain, Rob Thomas, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Patton Oswalt, James Kicklighter, Felix Kjellberg, and Joe Lo Truglio.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, script supervisor Sandy Schklair claimed that it was he who actually handled the direction of the film. According to Schklair, Tommy Wiseau was too busy with his acting duties leaving Schklair to do the directing. Schklair's claim was corroborated in the article by a cast member who remained anonymous. Greg Sestero partially corroborates Schklair's version of events, describing him taking charge of numerous sequences in which Wiseau found himself unable to remember lines properly or adequately interact with the rest of the cast; Sestero further questioned Schklair's desire to receive a directorial credit, equating it with bragging about "[working] on the Hindenburg". Wiseau said of Schklair's assertion, "Well, this is so laughable that... you know what? I don't know, probably only in America it can happen, this kind of stuff."
Todd Barron, the film's third director of photography, was a cameraman, and one of the few people who didn't walk out with the second DP. He asked for the job, and got it.
Some people had multiple jobs on the film. Greg Sestero also worked as a line producer and helped with casting.
Principal photography lasted six months.
A stage play based on the movie's original script was performed on June 2011. Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero both reprised their parts.
Despite being the main character, Johnny has less than 40 minutes of screen time.
Johnny's trademark line "You are tearing me apart!" was taken from Rebel Without a Cause (1955). Tommy Wiseau considered James Dean's performance in that film one of his main inspirations.
Among the numerous differences between the film and the stage script on which it was based is the treatment of Denny's character. In the play, he is called "Billy", and is described as Lisa's homosexual younger brother who is romantically interested in Johnny.
Alex Rynders, a famous movie reviewer, has once quoted, "The Room (2003) is something everyone should watch at least once; it's a great family movie."
Despite the significant amount of dialogue regarding Johnny and Lisa's forthcoming wedding, no character ever uses the words "fiancé" or "fiancée", only referring to Johnny as Lisa's "future husband" or Lisa as Johnny's "future wife".

Quotes: [[Johnny walks to the apartment rooftop]
Johnny: I did not hit her, it's not true! It's bullshit! I did not hit her!
Johnny: I did *not*. Oh hi, Mark.
Mark: Oh, hey Johnny, what's up?
Johnny: I have a problem with Lisa. She says that I hit her.
Mark: What? Did you?
Johnny: [sits down] No, it's not true. Don't even ask. What's new with you?
Mark: [sits down] Oh man, I just can't figure women out. Sometimes they're just too smart. Sometimes they're just flat-out stupid. Other times they're just evil.
Johnny: It seems to me that you're the expert, Mark.
Mark: No. Definitely not an expert, Johnny.>

Claudette: Everything goes wrong all at once. Nobody wants to help me. And I'm dying.
Lisa: You're not dying, mom.
Claudette: I got the results of the test back - I definitely have breast cancer.

Lisa: You can come out now, Johnny. She's gone.
Johnny: In a few minutes, bitch.
Lisa: Who are you calling a bitch?
Johnny: You and your stupid mother.

Denny: I gotta tell you something.
Johnny: Shoot, Denny.
Denny: It's about Lisa.
Johnny: Go on.
Denny: She's beautiful. She looks great in her red dress. I think I'm in love with her.

Johnny: Everybody betrayed me! I'm fed up with this world!

Lisa: I miss you, Mark.
Mark: What are you talking about? I just saw you!

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.
Michelle: Me too!

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 can't talk right now.
Johnny: [sits next to Lisa] Why, Lisa? Why, Lisa? Please talk to me, please! You are part of my life! You are everything! I could not go on without you, Lisa.
Lisa: You're scaring me.
Johnny: You're lying! I never hit you! YOU ARE TEARING ME APART, LISA!

Lisa: I've lost him, but I still have you, right? Right?
Mark: You don't *have* me. You'll *never* have me. You killed him.
Lisa: Mark, we're free to be together. I love you. I love you!
Mark: Tramp. You killed him; you're the cause of all of this. I don't love you. Get out of my life, you bitch!

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.
Claudette: Oh? Why not?
Lisa: 'Cause I'm in love with Mark, not Johnny. And here I am planning his party.
Claudette: It's not right, Lisa. I still think you should marry Johnny! Now, you can't live on love. You need financial security.
Lisa: But I'm not happy! And he still thinks I'm going to marry him next month. He's a fool.

Johnny: [his last lines] Why? Why is this happening to me?
[pulls out a pistol]
Johnny: God forgive 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


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.

Simulated fellatio.
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.

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".

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.

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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