Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Room (Tommy Wiseau, 2003)

What does one see when one views the human condition through the lens of a microscope? If you don't know the answer to this query, you clearly haven't been touched by The Room. Its surface might not be tactile (hell, it might not even exist at all), but those who have been touched by it, and those who are thinking about being touched by it, know exactly what I'm talking about. Now, I'll admit, I was somewhat skeptical  about the prospect of allowing myself to enter the mind of writer-director-star Tommy Wiseau with the full force of my chi. I was all like, where did this strange creature come from? And why am I letting him hold sway over my spiritual well-being for such a lengthy  period of time? I mean, do I really want someone who looks like they have been purposefully crossbred with Blixa Bargeld from Einstürzende Neubauten and Phil Hatrman's Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer to be in charge of my spiritual future? Well, to answer my first question, I can only guess that Tommy Wiseau is either from Bukovina or Transnistria (not that there's anything wrong with that). As for his stranglehold on my spiritual well-being/future? Have at them, Tommy. In other words, prepare to be irreparably altered by his heartfelt tribute to the wonders of love, 'cause you'll never be the same again after you have been touched by The Room. (Uh, don't you mean, irreparably damaged?) You see, that's what wrong with your generation. When you're not cloaking yourself in a translucent layer of irony, you see everything as a threat to your mollycoddled psyches. You know how long it's been since I tossed a football with someone? (Aren't you going to finish the point you were making about what's wrong with today's youth?) Well, I was about to about finish it, but someone interrupted me. (You're talking about me, right?) Yes. (Whoops, sorry about that. Do continue.)

Where was I? Oh, yeah, football. It's been years since I tossed, and, using deductive reasoning, caught, a football (unless the person I'm throwing the football to decides to be a dick and not throw it back). And during all those years, never once did I think to myself: Gee, I wish someone would throw me a football. Well, I have news for you, after being by touched by The Room, I wanted someone to toss me a football so bad, I could smell Fred Quillan's taint sweat on my fingers.

(What's your point?) Do I have to spell it out for you? The Room made me want to play sports? That's a pretty big deal. (Aren't you just saying that because there's an inexplicable amount of football tossing in this film?) You could be right.

(On the other hand, you could be using football as a way of dampening your love of Juliette Danielle's Lisa, a woman, who we'll soon find out, is the epitome of heterosexual desire.) Why would I want to dampen my love for Lisa? It's obvious you haven't been touched by The Room. That being said, the sheer amount effort it took me not to go ga-ga from the get-go about Lisa was extraordinary. (Why are you trying to stop yourself from expressing your true feelings?) Don't you see? That's the power Lisa has over men. (She can't be that powerful, can she?) Don't make me mock you for not having been touched by The Room a third time. And, yes, she can be that powerful.

In fact, I kept hoping the many men in her life would get run over by a trolly, so that I could fly to San Francisco and take a crack at being used and abused by Lisa.

Speaking of trollies, the film opens with a cool director cameo, as we clearly see Tommy Wiseau riding on a trolly in the first scene. (Wait a minute, director cameo? How can a director have a cameo if he's the star of the movie?) Good point. But then again, we don't know that yet. (What are you talking about? His Bargeldian/Unfrozen Caveman face is larger than life on the film's poster.) Okay, fine, it's not really a director cameo. I just liked the fact that Tommy Wiseau can be seen riding one of San Francisco's iconic trollies.

"Wow! You look so sexy, Lisa." And with that line, we're introduced to one of the most alluring female characters in film history. (Are you serious?) I'm deadly serious. Actually, I'd like to alter what I said about Lisa being the one of the most alluring female characters in film history. (Thank you. I mean, even you have got to admit that's kooky talk.) What I should have was: When Lisa (Juliette Danielle) gets up off the couch, her bottom half sheathed in a black skirt with a massive slit up the side, her upper half adorned in a tight blue top, to greet her boyfriend Johnny (Tommy Wiseau), we're introduced to one of the most alluring characters in film history. (Except for some unnecessary details, what you said sounds exactly the same.) Um, hello? I removed the part where I made reference to Lisa's gender.

Oh, and "unnecessary details"?!? Since when are black skirts with massive slits unnecessary? They will always be necessary. Always.

Enjoy the sight of Lisa in her black and blue slit-friendly ensemble while you can, because she's about to change into the red slip Johnny bought for her. (Maybe that's where Johnny was going on the trolly in opening scene, to buy Lisa a red slip at the local lingerie store.) You could be right. But I don't want to focus on that at the moment, as Lisa is about to come down the stairs wearing the very red slip Johnny gave her. Damn, Johnny's right, she does look sexy.

(Who's that mentally retarded kid with the floppy hair salivating over Lisa?) Oh, that's Denny (Philip Haldiman), he lives in Johnny and Lisa's building and likes to pop over from time to time. (Yeah, okay, but why is Johnny letting him ogle Lisa in her red slip?) Oh, that's easy, Denny, like Johnny, is a big fan of Lisa's soft, supple flesh, and one of the best ways to appreciate its mind-blowing contours is to ogle it. (I guess that makes sense. I still don't understand where Denny fits in with all this, but I'm sure it will be explained at a later date.)

If you don't mind, Johnny and Lisa are now going to have semi-tasteful sexual intercourse in their bedroom. (Okay, but why is Denny in bed with them?) He just wants participate in their pillow fight foreplay. I'm sure he'll leave when the time comes for Johnny to gingerly insert his pockmarked penis into Lisa's rose petal-dusted vagina.

Now, I realize that I've used the expression, "pockmarked penis," many times in the past. But I think most of you will agree, it has to be applied to Johnny's penis. I mean, there's no way it's not covered in pockmarks.

My favourite part about the film's first sex scene wasn't the music, the candles, the rose petals, the awkward humping, or even Lisa's tantalizing breasts, it was when Lisa's blonde hair goes from being up to down, to up again,  within the span of five seconds.

It may have been pockmarked, and it might take weeks to get all the rose petals out of her vagina, but Lisa's post-coital demenour after being on the receiving end of about a dozen or so soft focus wayward thrusts oozes an air of satisfaction.

However, that satisfied demenour actually masks an unmistakable layer of uncut dissatisfaction, as we quickly learn that Lisa doesn't really love Johnny. In fact, she thinks he's downright boring. (You mean to say that while Johnny is out earning money to pay for red roses and red slips, Lisa is badmouthing him to her mother?) That's exactly what I'm saying. Judging by the series of scrunchy faces she employs during her mother's forthcoming lecture, Lisa is no mood to be told what to do; her mother thinks she should stick with Johnny, as he's good for her.

Her delicious curves were designed to seduce men, not to be periodically prodded by the pelvically challenged on weekends. Realizing this, Lisa calls Mark (Greg Sestero) and tells him to come over so they can "talk." It's obvious when Mark arrives that Lisa's got more on her mind than talking. (Hey, isn't Mark Johnny's best friend?) So? Forget about Johnny. Stop trying to put Lisa in a box. Look at Lisa's organic structure. Look at it. It's soft, shapely, and full of nooks and crannies you didn't even know existed. It needs to be shared with the world. And part of that world is located between the fork-shaped area where Mark's probably not pockmarked penis spends the better part of its day contemplating about pussy and honeysuckle.

(I don't know about this.) What's to know? (Yeah, but, won't Johnny be upset that Lisa is having stair sex with his best friend?) Screw him. You heard Lisa, she doesn't love him anymore and he's boring to boot. (But he buys her roses and red slips.) I think Lisa needs more than roses and red slips to make her happy.

Speaking of roses, Johnny is about to pick up another dozen as we speak. Quick question: If Johnny is such a regular customer at the flower shop, shouldn't he know the name doggy that always sits on the counter? Maybe the dog's name is "doggy." Get the fuck out of here.

Given that Johnny and Lisa have been together for five years, that means he's roughly spent over 400,000 dollars on roses during their relationship.

Instead of simply breaking up with him, Lisa starts a campaign of deception and deceit. On top of that, she gets him drunk (Johnny is straight edge), tells people he hit her, and asks him if he wants her to order a pizza after she had already placed an order for one.

Just before sex scene #3, the second involving Johnny and Lisa, is about to take place, a drunk Johnny informs Lisa that she has nice legs. This statement is probably the most sensible line Johnny utters in the entire movie, as the rest is a haphazardly assembled series of grunts and non-sequiturs.

Call me callous and weird, but the scene where Lisa's mom informs her that she has breast cancer is the hottest scene in the movie. In order to prevent the mawkish dialogue from interfering with my autoerotic activities, I turned the sound down. Oh, and the reason the scene is so hot is because Lisa is wearing black pantyhose as she sits and listens to her mother blather on about how she's dying.

In terms of drama and dramatic acting, Juliette Danielle shines during Denny's rooftop confrontation with Chris-R (Dan Janjigian), a toque-wearing, gun-totting drug dealer. When Johnny and Mark usher Chris-R off the roof, Lisa demands to know  what kind of money Denny owes Chris-R and what kind of drugs he's using. Dissatisfied with the answers Denny gave regarding both of her clearly worded queries, Lisa repeats the questions over and again. I get chills just thinking about the intensity of this scene. It's pretty heady stuff.

Boasting the body of Lydia Lunch, the mind of Nancy Spungeon, and the face of an angel, Juliette Danielle is sexy and awesome as the alluring Lisa. Having seen my fair share of movies that feature multiple men fighting over a single woman over the years, I'm always unconvinced that the men in question would be so love in with the object of their affection. The women, for the most part, just don't have anything going on in terms of physicality and personality. Whereas Juliette Danielle has everything going on; and, yes, I'm mean everything. Meaning, I totally believed that Johnny, Mark and Denny would be in love with her. It's a testament to Juliette Danielle's fearlessness as a performer that she was able to believably convey to the audience that everyone loves Lisa.

(Fearlessness?!?) Um, she makes out with Tommy Wiseau. (Right, 'nuff said.)

Forget about Lisa tearing Johnny apart, I want to tear Lisa out of those button fly jeans. Rawr.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Juliette Danielle used Barbara Stanwyck's performance in Double Indemnity as an inspiration, as she is that good at being duplicitous under pressure.

Tuxedo football, dark alleyway football, rooftop football, and even park football, there sure is a lot of football in this movie. However, to quote Lisa, I don't want to talk about it.

A sort of how-to guide on how not to break up with the unfrozen frontman of a West German industrial band in the Bay Area circa Operation Iraqi Freedom, The Room will baffle some, but it will titillate many. The first fully-formed erotic drama of the 21st century, Tommy Wiseau has created, whether it was on purpose or not, a movie that totally exists. Oh, and don't forget, leave your stupid comments in your pocket, and always remember to XYZ (examine your zipper) before you leave your place of residence.


  1. I take it your experience with THE ROOM was in the relative privacy and comfort of your home. I am glad that you did not have to experience it with the lowest scum of humanity as I did:

  2. @Mark Edward Heuck: I read your review. You poor bastard. Why did you do that to yourself? That would have killed me.

    @Yum-yum: Huh. I dunno. Huh. This just looks kind of dull and poorly made. I guess you are just able to make lemonade with any actress that catches your fancy.

  3. @Marc: Hey, you mentioned Chechnya in your hilarious review of The Room experience; Transnistria is just down road from there.

    To answer your question: Yes, I watched it in private; even though I've had plenty of opportunities to experience The Room on the big screen with an annoying audience (some with Wiseau in attendance).

    Anyway, after reading about your ordeal, I'm kind of glad I didn't... go, that is.

    @ido: Poorly made? Definitely. Dull? There's nothing dull about The Room. Okay, maybe the super-long sex scenes were kind of dull, but everything else was pure drama and excitement.

    You make my love for Juliette Danielle sound so cheap and dirty. ;)

  4. @I looked this thing up on wikipedia. Supposedly it cost 6 million to make. How? That's a lot of money and not much to show for it.

    Well, you compared Juliette Danielle to Lydia Lunch. I think that's stretching it a bit. I watched some clips of this film online (I'm not sitting through the whole thing) and she's nowhere near the Sexiest Woman on the Planet. Especially in "Fingered."

    1. Their thighs are eerily similar.

    2. Again, huh. Well, I've worshiping at the Lydia altar for decades. So I just have a hard time comparing her to anyone else.

      Anyway, I think your "pockmarked penis" expression has finally found a completely suitable host.

    3. I can understand that; you have a strong attachment to Miss Lunch. But you shouldn't take the words I typed about The Room too seriously. :)

    4. I was enjoying your usually brand of sassy fashion-forward witticism up until the Lydia comparison. Then my primal instincts kicked in and all those years of listening to "Queen of Siam" and Teen-Age Jesus kicked in.

      Its weird this film has such a cult following. "Plan 9" I understand. That's a fun movie with a lot of heart. But I wouldn't want to watch it in a theatre full of people making choreographed comments. I hear that happens, too.