The Awe Inspiring Awfulness of the Worst Movie Ever Made: The Room (2003) Review

“You don't understand anything, man. Leave your stupid comments in your pocket!”

Title: The Room
Studio: Wiseau Films
Screenplay: Tommy Wiseau
Director: Tommy Wiseau
Actors: Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero
Release Date: (USA) June 27, 2003

Studio 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.”

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I have seen many, many bad movies. Some are so bad they are good, some are accidentally funny, some campy, some deliberate and some are just plain, irredeemingly, unforgivably bad. The Room is something else entirely. It is singularly terrible in a way that I have never seen before and in a way I could never have imagined. It is inept and ridiculous in every way possible. There is not a frame or line of dialogue or musical refrain that displays any kind of thought or skill. And yet, the movie got made and finished and released. This movie is a virus, a filmic earworm that you can’t unseen, it will stay with you forever. If you choose you see it, the blame is on you.

The one clear thing about the film is that it takes place in San Francisco. Constant exterior and scenic shots fill the movie at every scene break. And they aren’t even pretty or interesting. The dialogue sounds like it was written by a child or soThe Awe Inspiring Awfulness of the Worst Movie Ever Mademeone who does not speak English very well, but that’s not even the problem. The mistake is that not only no one fixed the dialogue, it is that the worst of it is often repeated. By the fourth or fifth time we hear that Mark is Johnny’s best friend or that Lisa doesn’t love Johnny anymore, the line becomes a weird Greek chorus of insignificant portent.

Illogical and creepy characters populate The Room. The neighbor kid, who Johnny supports for no apparent motive, the would-be mother-in-law who shows up too often and for no real reason and a friendly and disturbing psychologist/friend.

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Not even the music is done right. The background music sounds like it belongs in a different film, maybe a period costume drama and the pop music played over the decidedly unsexy sex scenes is nonsensical, again like the lyrics were written by a nonnative speaker. Not just cliché, but incomprehensible at times, like “I will stand in the way of a bullet/ I will run through a forest of flame.” I think I understand the image, but not the point.

Granted the actors were not given much to work with, but their skill level is on par with a small high school theater department that doesn’t have enough people for all the speaking parts, so anybody who is willing and fits the wardrobe can get on stage.

The starring actor-writer-director Tommy Wiseau is also in a class by himself and defies convention. Not only does he laugh too often and inappropriately, he garbles and misremembers his own lines in a vaguely eastern European accent. Johnny allegedly works in a bank, but Tommy clearly has no idea what that entails. His costar has disturbing resemblance to Britney Spears and does remember her lines, but her words and behavior rarely match up.

The Bottom Line:

Over the years The Room has achieved cult status, and the debates about the why or the whether or not it deserves it continue. I’m not saying it’s good, but it sure is something, and my world has never been the same since the first time I saw it. This movie is astonishing, breathtaking and very, very bad. I was stunned and amazed for all the wrong reasons. I still can’t fathom why it is called The Room. I lose sleep over it.

Dave Robbins
While wearing flannel shirts that are older than his editor, Dave works as the Associate Editor at the Brazen Bull where he often says things like: "Don't talk to me about David Lynch until you've seen Eraserhead."

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