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The Disaster Column

The story behind Tommy Wiseau's "The Room"

Isaiah ColbertWhen a film is released and flops in the box office, film critics have a field day. The competition begins for the most pessimistic witty insult to be made of the film and its producers. Which meme is trending on Twitter on the film? How creative was “X” number of YouTube reviewers’ analogies for how bad that film was? Was it so bad that it blew your mind?

Let’s take a break from ragging on bad films and talk about a film that is so bad that it’s “good.” Let’s talk about a film that caused me to transcend to a different plain of existence.

Let’s talk about “The Room.”

The official trailer of James Franco’s “The Disaster Artist” placed Tommy Wiseau’s The Room back into the public eye. The Disaster Artist will cover the behind the scenes story of the making of The Room. The Disaster Artist will release December 1, 2017.

At 11 p.m., on the night before the fall semester of 2017 began, I made a decision — I was going to watch The Room. It had always been on the list of things I’d eventually get to, but most projected plans aren’t likely to become a reality unless it’s an impulse decision, right?

What ensued was an attempt to keep my shocked outbursts quiet, so as not to disturb the sleep of smarter individuals in my house with outbursts along the lines of, “What? Why? Where is this going? Does it really need a sex scene within the first eight minutes of the film? Wow.”

What felt like sitting through one hour and 39 minutes of cringe had changed me. That analytical part of me that holds film up to a high standard of art was lost. Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Death Note seemed like a decent film. At least a six out of ten or something, but a decent film. I had transcended. Like anyone who’s found a new religion, I did some research.

The Room was originally a play written in 2001 that was unable to be published into the intended 600-page book, but later adapted into a 99-page script to film. That film was directed, produced, executively produced, written by and starred the man himself, Tommy Wiseau.

The Room was released in 2003. According to the BBC, The Room “made barely enough money to qualify as a flop,”. Although The Room is considered an atrocity, the film managed to have a huge cult following, a flash video game and sell-out screenings.

The budget for The Room was $6 million for the filming and marketing. The reason it cost that much was because The Room was also shot on both a HD and 35mm format.

According to indieWIRE, Wiseau claims he was able to pay for some of the production costs through importing leather jackets from Korea. A billboard on Highland Avenue in Hollywood advertising The Room  was kept up for five years. The cost for the amount of time that the billboard was around $300,000 for the course of five years, according to Complex.

Considering its opening credits display two separate logos from the same company, The Room has a phenomenal start. Sweeping shots of San Francisco, California accompanied by classical music sets viewers up for a film that is at a level of Greek tragedy.

Without giving too much away, The Room is a film about a man named Johnny, his “wife to be,” Lisa, and his best friend Mark. Lisa becomes bored of Johnny and begins an affair with Mark, and the drama ensues.

The Room’s cyclical dialogue, multiple sex scenes (that in reality are the same two simply shown in different sequences), non sequiturs, and nonsensical scenes come off as random moments rather than points that to push forward the film’s plot. But don’t worry about it; the plot points may be stunted or forgotten, but the raw emotion in every scene or lack thereof will guide you through the film.

By and large, The Room is a special film. Although the quality isn’t up to snuff with other films, it’s gained an international cult following. I’ll never go a day without referencing something from the film. Most decisions made late at night tend be the worst, but I’d consider watching the Room as an exception.

 

About Isaiah Colbert (17 Articles)

I moved from my hometown Chicago to Cheyenne during my eighth-grade year. I graduated from East’s International Baccalaureate program in 2015 and went to the University of Wyoming for my freshman year. I decided that my major would be journalism early on but wanted to try my hand at other aspects in mass media. I am a Tri-editor for Wingspan and I’m attending Laramie County Community College hoping that I will acquire the experience and work ethic to be able to work at Machinima ETC in the future.

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