First thing's first, I play video games more than just about anything but I do enjoy more than just level grinding, jumping on things, shooting barrels, collecting things and, saving the day. A few years ago I was big into movies though not big enough to call myself a film-geek or attempt reviewing a movie in the same way that I 'review' video games on here from time to time. One of my favorite things to do when I'm not gaming is check out a couple of midnight movies and who knows, I just might talk about another big midnight movie in the not-too-distant future.
Anyway, for those of you who don't know, The Room is a film released in 2003 starring, written and, directed by Tommy Wiseau. Tommy plays the role of Johnny who lives and works in San Francisco with his fiance Lisa. The Room doesn't so much document the life of Johnny but rather the kind of experiences which take place in or around the titular room (where a majority of the film is...filmed). Since so much time in The Room is spent in the room, we don't get many details on some of the more subtle and nuanced facts about our characters like, for example, what exactly Johnny and Lisa do for a living or, how time works in this film's universe.
QUICK! Name this character (after watching the film and, without consulting IMDB or Wiki)
Alright that's enough beating around the bush: The Room was critically panned and is in the category of "so bad it's good but only when viewed at midnight with a bunch of people who yell and throw things at the screen". There are plot points in here big enough to warrant their own films but in this one, they're tossed aside in single scenes and never mentioned again. Characters come and go with little to no introduction and there's a desperate need for someone to edit the thing; not just because of the above issues though because it would be nice to know when days begin and end.
So suffice it to say, this movie absolutely sucks. Nobody should watch this movie alone, or on disc unless they're watching it alongside a rifftrax. What I really love about this is the experience, like Rocky Horror. Unlike Rocky Horror though, this is the kind of movie experience I can really enjoy because I, like Hank Hill, am a bit uncomfortable dressing in fishnets and singing in public. The Room has all of the fun as Rocky Horror but isn't quite as involved (although if you go all-out and dress as Doggy you will likely get some high-fives and phone numbers). That's not to say I dislike the Rocky Horror experience, I love it! I can't tell you what it is that draws me to The Room so I assume there's some form of hypnotism involved here. If you're able to get out there and watch this as a midnight screening, it's definitely worth a Friday or, Saturday night.
If you live in the DC area, you're going to want to check out E-Street Cinema which is very easy to get to if you're familiar with the DC Metro system. The theater is really lax about things like screaming at the screen, throwing spoons (plastic spoons, plastic) at the screen and, indulging in The Room's drinking game (they sell booze there guys). The food at E-Street is really good too: crab pretzel is basically an open faced sandwich and their hot-dogs are on pretzel buns. Overall, there are many, many, many, MANY more films you could see on a given weekend. There are more expensive movies you can go out and see as well but this is one of those experiences that everyone who can go and see should go and see, if only to say that they've seen it before. It's unlike anything else that you could see and it's great for Monday-morning water cooler talk. This is by no means family friendly but it makes for an excellent date night or, night out with the guys/gals/whomever.
I knew this would be short but I didn't think it would be quite this short so here's a list of ques if you do decide that you're interested enough to seek out a midnight screening of The Room. This may help to enhance your movie-going experience!
There is a framed picture of a spoon in The Room. Whenever it appears on-screen, shout "SPOON!" and throw your own plastic spoons at the screen or, up-and-back if you're in the front-most rows.
During the Credits cheer for Tommy Wiseau and ask, "Where the Fuck are we!?" during the more iconic screen shots
Every time somebody enters The Room: "Oh hi ______*" *=Insert the character name.
Every time someone leave The Room: "Bye _______*"
Watch The Flower Scene in silence. Once it's done ask "what the fuck was that?!" or some variation
Sing the opening to the Full House theme song during the appropriate screen-shot
During any sex scene, groan in disgust.
During the scene where Lisa and Michelle are talking, groan in disgust when Lisa's neck twitches.
Whenever someone says "Johnny is my Best Friend", count (Johnny is my Best Friend "ONE" etc)
Whenever Claudette pokes Lisa on the nose: "CANCER!" or "CANCER-FAIRY!"
Mark: "I see what's going on here...I mean the candles..."
You the Audience: "WHAT CANDLES?!"
Mark: "...the music..."
You the Audience: "WHAT MUSIC?!"
Mark: "...The sexy dress..."
You the Audience: "WHAT SEXY DRESS!?!"
Whenever someone enters The Room but fails to close the door: "CLOSE THE FUCKING DOOR!" (chanted)
Whenever it pans over The Golden Gate Bridge: "GO-GO-GO-GO" (chanting, cheer when the pan spans the entire bridge or, groan if the pan fails to get from one end to the other)
Scene direction part 2:
Every time someone throws a football around, do so. This requires you to bring a football to the theater. I can't vouch for every theater but at E-Street they're really easy going about what kind of football you bring along. Ideally, you should toss the football around in much the same way as the actors on-screen: tossing in-expertly while close to whichever friends you've brought with you or, whatever friends you've made there.
Scene direction part 3:
During the scene wherein Tommy attaches a recording device to his home phone, the Mission Impossible music syncs up very well, starting with Johnny descending the stairs he was on when the scene began. This is another one that requires a bit of pre-film set up and ideally, you'll want to bring along some speakers if all you have on-hand is your phone. Watching the movie beforehand would also help with timing.
Scene Direction part 4:
Early on in the movie (ie: after the first sex scene) Tommy will wake up, get out of bed and walk away from the camera towards a bathroom. During this scene, Tommy's ass is fully on display so of course, you're going to want to be in the front of the theater waiting patiently so you can jump up and slap Tommy's ass. This may not work well if the theater you're watching this in is larger but many theaters are small enough so as to allow you to smack that ass.
Scene direction part 5:
Late in the film, during the Party scene once everyone is outside, Tommy will stand front in center to make an announcement. Before giving the announcement, he will smile and wave to the bottom-right corner of the film screen. This is the best time to stand in that general area of the theater and excitedly wave at Tommy, while shouting his name and cheering.
Scene Direction 6 and 7:
At the end of the film, there is a flub that somehow made it past editing. When Denny says "No Johnny, Wake up." scream at the screen "Who the fuck is Johnny?!" Shortly after this is a scene slowly panning away from Johnny with sirens in the background and the several other character's heads. During this scene, chant "SUCK THAT DICK" until it look like Lisa is indeed sucking a dick. You then cheer.
The above is mainly stuff I do when I'm out with my circle of friends. There are plenty of other lists and drinking games that are more than likely better than mine so consider my list more of a guideline. Once again guys, I can't tell you how much fun I've had going to see The Room. Landmark cinemas at E-Street in DC just had their showing of The Room this past weekend and the next showing is going to be May 24th and 25th at midnight. I will more than likely be there for one of the two showings in May (eh, 60% chance) but I know that isn't much incentive since it seems so few of my fellow escapists are from The Capital Wasteland. If you're anywhere in this world that shows this film, seek it out!