The Room (2003): The "Worst Movie Ever Made" Didn't Deserve It.

Tommy Wiseau's The Room (2003), famous for "You're tearing me Apart Lisa" and "Oh Hi Mark," might NOT be the WORST film ever made.

Tommy Wiseau's "The Room". A 2003 film which was avidly mocked and ridiculed upon first release. I decided to watch the film as it was, not coloured by the ramblings of film youtubers, nor by the superiority of weirdo Hollywood actors, that produce similar quality films but with marginally better colour grading. 

What I found was startling. Lying below the dog pilling of criticism and pseudo intellectualism, lied an immaculate masterpiece. Directed and written by legendary creator, Tommy Weseau, the Room portrays an intrigue tale of social manipulation and deception.

Who is the liar? Who is the victim? Who killed Johnny? Or did he kill himself? As a viewer, I was on the edge of my seat. [gun goes off black screen]. [Screen fades to black. Have window with lightening appear. Going forward.] A spellbinding psychological thriller, that uses its Hitchcockian atmosphere to weave an intrigue web of sexual fantasy and betrayal. The Room (2003) explores narcissistic personality disorder, Munchausen, Machiavellianism and the use of social manipulation tactics to garner victimhood status [show Lisa saying he hurt me] and to inflict pain to those that have wronged you. 

The video above will discuss if there is any reasonablness to my claims, as I deconstruct the most important scenes in the film to determine if it got a fair shake up, now twenty years after its intial release. Does the performances of Tommy Wiseau (Johnny), Juliette Danielle (Lisa), Greg Sestero (Mark), Philip Haldiman (Denny), and Carolyn Minnott (Claudette, Lisa's mum). 

However... Let Me Tell You the Truth 

I tried alright, I tried, I gave this movie the benefit of the doubt, and you’re right, I wanted to be play contrarian. People were dogpiling on it, I thought well, can’t be all that bad can it? Well. The movie was nothing like what I have discussed. What I talked about is what the movie could have done, should have done. Instead, it falls flat in nearly every conceivable avenue, because the acting suffers from both bad writing and bad direction. And well, that makes up the entire film doesn’t it? The score was alright though, so you know, put that on the cover. 

Bad Writing ("You're Tearing Me Apart Lisa!")

Unlike what I have tried to bullshit out of this 2003 story, WISEAU wrote a dull screenplay that can be condensed down to 'Lisa cheats on her boyfriend with his best friend. Why? Because she doesn’t love her husband anymore. Why? I don’t know she just fell out of love with him.' What could have made this compelling, was exploring why she had the affair, why she was unhappy. Was it because she felt oppressed by her husband as he pulled the financial strings? Because he was actually abusive? Because the sex was bad? I don’t know, this article's introduction has been me trying to read between the lines, and admittedly making some shit up in the process. Nup, she’s just a cold-hearted sociopath. Well doesn’t the best friend have some culpability, I mean why would he betray his friend like that? Oh naa cause she is so enticing, like Angelina Jolie in "Beowulf" and she can seduce any man. What a boring story then! That’s it? Oh Lisa's to blame for destroying her marriage, she’s to blame for destroying the circle of friends, she’s to blame for him committing suicide. 

On top of that, drawing to the end of the film, its revealed that she lied to Johnny that she was pregnant. For what purpose? I don’t have a bloody clue. She’s not doing it to convince Johnny to marry her. Why? Cause he’s still on board with it, she the one that wants to pull the plug on the whole marriage thing. 

I think that that particular ‘lying about being pregnant’ scene was kind of only added to make her seem more villainous. It reminds me of Episode 3 when Annakin starts rebelling against the council, and you can hear the writers in a panic. Oh shit, we’ve more portrayed the council as incompetent fools, and we spent the trilogy characterising Anakin’s hardships from boy to adult, the audience might start to empathise with him. Ummm ok, what do we do, we have to make people empathise with the good guys. Ummmmm…. Oh! Lets have him take out a dozen children. 

You kinda see this all the time with bad films, where writers want to portray the protagonist as a martyr, but due to their poor writing skills they create a protagonist with all the allure of wet carboard. The solution? Lets make the antagonist do random evil atrocities that don’t fit the character and/or fit the story, so the audience has no choice but to empathise with the other guy. It drives me up the wall because you see exactly what they’re doing, and it takes you out of the film. Audiences want characters with some colouring, not a solid black and white, good and evil dynamic! Or at least give the main character some flaws. 

This film does little character exploration. It’s a simple plot but that doesn’t matter, a lot of great films have a simple plot. However, othing is explained, nothing is explored in any great depth. Yeah, she’s a slut, he’s victim, and he’s a victim. What’s more to say? That’s it. There were a lot of ways that Wiseau could have given this some nuance (like I tried describing before in my fake review) but he fails to do so, and I suspect this was a vanity project. Johnny, acting aside, is a Mary Sue. He’s an all-around great guy, everyone loves him and adores him, he helps a homeless guy in his neighbourhood, he gives his wife flowers and gifts everyday, and he is a simple victim of circumstance. That’s it. God forbid Wiseau add any colouring to the character, give him some flaws, give anyone some flaws. The only people who have any character limitations are Lisa and Denny, Lisa being a sociopathic adulterer, and Denny who purchased drugs and didn’t pay it back. I mean that just shows you doesn’t it? If the only flaw that your main character has is that he loves too much, then you don’t have a good main character. 

And that’s the thing. Adulterer plotlines can be fun! I have watched Bold and the Beautiful (yeah mock me all you want) and they’ve done this plotline… hundreds of times, and it’s a lot more entertaining than this one. 

Bad Acting ("It's Not True, I Did Not Hit Her... Oh Hi Mark")

Alright, the acting. 

Johnny: 1 / 10

Tommy Wiseau is trying in these scenes, English is his second language and he wrote this film probably based on bad American soap operas he was absorbing at the time. At the same time, I could never get behind that Johnny was a real character, Wiseau slurred over his lines, and delivery seemed to be an afterthought. Wiseau's acting was awkward and embarrassing BUT he went full bore and took his role seriously, so I’ll give him that. 

Lisa: 3 / 10

Juliette Danielle's character wasn’t well written and she did have to do most of the heavy lifting in this film because it was centred around her, shame Danielle was forced to play the same one note character. I thought she played her character competently at the start of the film, I almost thought, watching the opening scene, that this film would turn out alright, and everyone was wrong. However, it was when Johnny refuses to get a promotion where the film, and its script go downhill, dragging Danielle's acting along with it. 

Mark: 2 / 10 

Greg Sestero was not helped by the script, nor starring alongside Wiseau, but lets not get carried away and believe that just because he has self-awareness, that somehow Sestero has any talent in acting. Sestero's line delivery was only marginally better than Wiseau's -  many of his scenes were unbelievable and delivery was mostly, off. 

Denny: 4 / 10

Denny came across as odd, I felt awkward when he was on screen, which was kind of interesting and you know what! In such a bland film, that deserves a couple points for that alone. Philip Haldiman accomplished what an actor is supposed to do, I actually bought into him as his character and actually felt something when he was on screen! Although not given really anything to play with, Haldiman's somewhat stilted delivery made dialogue that was intended to come accross as playful or innocently flirtacious, as cringworthy and innapropriate. Indeed, particuarly in the first scene of the film,  the scene implies that he wants to pursue a sexual relationship with Johnny or Lisa. Which, in a film with such a cookie cutter plot, adds some much needed distraction, however fleeting it was. 

Peter: 5 / 10 

Peter works, he doesn’t fit at all in this group of weird friends, the character is a little awkward and bookish, but Kyle Vogt played a believable psychologist. However, I think Vogt just needed to loosen up a bit, there were some scenes where his discomfort on screen could not be camouflaged by his character's akwardness. If only he had a competent director to give him some guidance, and that includes both of them! 

Steven: 6 / 10

Just for reference, Steven is the guy who catches Lisa and Mark kissing each other at Johnny's birthday party at the end of the film and yells at them, and who Lisa reveals that she isn't pregnant. I don’t know why, but Greg Ellery is the best actor in this entire film. Although, looking back in writing this up, his acting doesn’t seem that great, having watched other actors after this in a much better movie. But after being exposed to 80 minutes of sub-par acting, I thought, well anger that’s an emotion! And Ellery is portraying it somewhat believably! And you can see Lisa feeding off the energy! That’s good! 

Bad Directing (Odd Green Screens, Pacing & Acting)

That’s the thing, some of this acting can be blamed on the directing. Cause plays a really important role for actors, to try to get them to present with the right emotions, but here, there were many times where lines were not delivered properly by actors and they lost their meaning. Obviously putting WISEAU aside, Juliette Danielle couldn’t really pull off the perused lips bitchy routine that the script asked for which I guess is complimentary in itself, and there were a couple of scenes where she visibly wanted to laugh due to the corny dialogue. The green screen in the roof top scenes also provided an odd eye sore and rendered already stilted scenes, even more so. 

Perhaps the Critics were on to something...

Is it a recommendation? Well, let me put it this way. If you are finding the current content on Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Peacock, etc. unsatifying, then you should watch this film. Not because it will be better, but it will offer you a new found appreciation for the media on those services. 

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