The impact of Tommy Wiseau’s ‘The Room’

by Mason Kupiainen

Written, directed, produced by, and starring Tommy Wiseau, The Room only scavenged $1,900 during its two-week run back in 2003 on a budget of 6 million dollars. Although the movie was somehow able to get everything wrong, from the acting, script, and story, this became the brilliance of the movie. The acting and dialogue are so terrible, and the story doesn’t even really make any sense. In spite of all of this, the movie has become memorable and rewatchable. Thanks to the horrendous acting and even worse dialogue, The Room has been dubbed “The Citizen Kane of bad movies,” with the appalling dialogue and quotes from the movie being etched into pop culture. 

Similar to Rocky Horror Picture Show, another cult classic, The Room has gained a cult following with movie theaters around the world constantly showing midnight screenings. During these screenings, people often dress up as their favorite character, shout out various things during the movie, and act out scenes. Occasionally, Tommy Wiseau even makes appearances at various screenings across the country. Out of all of these traditions at screenings of the movie, the most famous yet bizarre one involves throwing plastic spoons at the screen. In the movie, photos of spoons can be seen around the apartment of the main characters, with no context as to why. Whenever a picture of spoons appears on the screen, fans will shout out “Spoon!” followed by the chucking of plastic spoons at the screen. 

Image from IMDb

It’s at these screenings where many fans of The Room are first introduced to the movie. Libby Fox, a Muncie local, was working at a movie theater when she was introduced to The Room for the first time.

“I thought it was interesting. It was just so fun and ridiculous,” she said.

Even famous actors have jumped on The Room bandwagon, including James Franco and Seth Rogen, who went on to adapt the story of the making of The Room. 

The Disaster Artist, a movie about the making of The Room, was based on the book of the same name by Greg Sestero, the actor who portrayed Mark in the original movie. After reading the book, Franco was inspired to adapt the story. The Disaster Artist went on to be a hit with critics and audiences, holding a 91% critics rating and 86% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while also pulling in $29,820,616 at the box office. The movie also won the 2018 Golden Globes award for best actor in a musical or comedy, the 2017 Gotham Awards for best actor, and the 2017 NBR award for Best Adapted Screenplay. 

It’s strange to think a movie this terrible has garnered so much attention. Libby Fox, a Muncie local who worked at the movie theater when the movie was released, said the movie is funny in its own way. 

“It’s really funny. I’ve seen it so many times and it’s crazy to see how much money they put into it only to have it turn out the way it did,” she said.

There’s not a clear answer as to why so many people watch this movie if it’s so bad. Seth Rogen even made a comment saying, “What’s good about this movie? If it’s a bad movie, why have I seen it so many times– and if it’s a bad movie, why are we making a movie about it?”

Image from IMDb

It’s really a mix of the awfulness of the movie itself and the heart behind the making of the movie that makes it special. The movie is so wild, entertaining, and fun that it becomes so rewatchable. It’s fun to make fun of the acting and dialogue and laugh at how the people working on this movie thought it was a good idea. At the same time, there’s something inspiring about the creators of the movie. The importance of The Room has come into question because of the peculiar nature of the film. 

“The fact that you can have success in anything is inspiring. If you take your goal and go for it, you can turn it into a success,” Fox said.

The fact that they wanted to make a movie so badly that they went out and created their own is inspiring. How many of us say we’ll do something, but then never actually do it? Some people may say they want to publish a book, or start a business, or learn a new skill, but never actually follow through with it. According to The Disaster Artist, these guys said they wanted to make a movie, and when no one gave them the chance to do it, they went out and made their own movie. It didn’t turn out the way they had planned, however, but in the end, they got the result they wanted; they wanted critical acclaim and have people love their movie. 

While they achieved their goal of making a memorable, famous movie, it’s doubtful that part of their plan was to produce a movie that would become a joke of Hollywood and an example of how not to make a movie. Through all of the laughing and making fun of the movie, we all can relate to Tommy and Greg by having a dream that people may not believe in, so we have to be able to believe in ourselves and go for it.

 Sources: IMDb, Vox, Ross Morin Film, BBC, Slash Film, LA Times

Images: IMDb

Featured Image: IMDb


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