A disaster in its own right, Tommy Wiseau’s The Room is a cinematic masterpiece of the worst (and best) kind.
Rarely has one film inspired such a diverse response from critics and audiences alike. The Room is known as ‘worst film all time’ but even the average film will never achieve the loyal cult following it has. Now deemed a ‘classic’ amongst an underground cult following, Wiseau’s film has become the subject of 2017’s most anticipated comedy-drama film The Disaster Artist, directed by and starring James Franco.
For those in need of a Wiseau education, here’s three things you have to know about The Disaster Artist if you’ve never seen The Room.
The Birth of The Disaster Artist
A movie-about-another-movie, The Disaster Artist is an autobiographical film based on the real-life experiences of Greg Sestero, who played Mark in The Room.
Based on the book of the same name, The Disaster Artist largely focuses on Sestero’s brotherly friendship with Wiseau while providing insight into Wiseau’s plight in bringing his beloved script called The Room to the big screen.
Real-life famous brothers Dave Franco and James Franco portray the kinship between Sestero and Wiseau respectively, with the latter directing and producing the film with comedy brother Seth Rogen (who also features in the film).
Filled with behind the scenes revelations and The Room references galore, The Disaster Artist will answer how The Room became the cataclysmic marvel it is today.
Why The Room is called the ‘worst film of all time’
Sestero once said, “To put it simply, The Room doesn’t work in any way films have evolved to work over the last century of filmmaking.” This isn’t an understatement.
The Room follows Johnny (Wiseau), a successful banker who lives with his immoral fiancé Lisa. Johnny’s peaceful life is turned upside down when Lisa spreads rumours about him and begins an illicit affair with his best friend Mark (Sestero). Their deceit and betrayal unravels Johnny to breaking point, leaving everyone to pick up the pieces.
Wiseau’s vision to create a serious drama that explored the dynamics of friendship and romance didn’t go to plan due to his inexperience with filmmaking (his credits include writer, producer, director and leading actor), and… let’s call it a unique approach to acting.
Thus, Wiseau gave us the final cut of The Room – a film bursting with awful acting, pointless scenes and subplots that are only mentioned once and never resolved (including Lisa’s mother breast cancer diagnosis and Denny’s involvement with drug dealers). Allegedly, Wiseau even dropped a subplot where Johnny is revealed to be a vampire.
Slammed by critics and barely making a dollar at the box office (initially), The Room immediately made film history for all the wrong reasons.
The Room is ‘so-bad-its-good’
Despite its overwhelming faults, The Room ultimately gained another label – it’s so bad that its good.
The Room’s failures that landed it into the depths of a film abyss indirectly launched a niche appeal for audiences across the globe. Its cult appeal was inspired when two film students found an intriguing film review for The Room while passing a movie theatre, “Watching this film is like getting stabbed in the head”.
Simply, everything that is ‘serious’ is what makes The Room so hilarious – where you should cry you laugh in hysterics.
Irresistibly re-watchable and instantaneously quotable; Johnny’s cry, “You are tearing me apart Lisa!” and his infamous rant “I did not hit her. It’s not true. It’s bullshit. I did not hit her. I did not! Oh, hi Mark!” have reached Internet and pop culture infamy. Inspiring thousands of sold out cinema screenings with audience participation, it’s truly a movie experience that needs to be seen to be believed (BYO plastic spoons).
Sestero encapsulated The Room’s surrealistic and everlasting appeal, “The magic of The Room derives from one thing: No one interprets the world the way Tommy Wiseau does.”
Constantly defying expectations, The Room is simultaneously famous for being the ‘worst film ever made’ and a pop culture sensation – with its legacy immortalised in The Disaster Artist.
The Disaster Artist has a limited release in Australia on the 30th November and a national release on the 7th December.