Frequently hailed as the worst movie ever made, The Room is showing in Edinburgh this weekend, the latest of its showings to audiences around the world who find nothing but joy in its delirious madness. Made in 2003 and originally a total box office flop, the film later found major traction on the midnight circuit and its hilariously inept dialogue and acting (as well as absolutely everything else) has created an unintentional classic of whatever the opposite of cinematic gold is.
The cult movie was directed, produced, written by, and starring the enigmatic Tommy Wiseau, whose deranged sincerity betrays his belief that he really had a true masterpiece on his hands. Actually, the film is some kind of masterpiece in its own right, one that transcends the so-bad-it’s-incredible genre of movie conventions to become something so earnestly ludicrous it has become a lasting phenomenon.
Inexplicably costing $6 million to produce and yet for all appearances looking like it was made from the spare change found in the pocket of a madman, The Room was shot on both film and HD cameras at the same time- a detail that sets the tone for the rest of the movie’s insanity. Terrible greenscreen scenes, dialogue that sounds like it was run through twenty different languages on Google translate before being delivered by malfunctioning robots on pain of death, and heinously long sex scenes that borrow footage from other equally horrific sex scenes just minutes earlier- the movie is a lovable, bonkers gem.
The Room’s plot ostensibly follows Johnny, a banker with a bonkers accent played by Wiseau, whose seemingly perfect life falls apart when his fiancée Lisa begins an affair with Johnny’s best friend Mark. The bizarre narrative turns of this love triangle are interspersed with random minor characters whose baffling subplots go absolutely nowhere, harmless games of football that end in severe injury, and charming non sequiturs such as “I got the results of the test back. I definitely have breast cancer”.
Wiseau now claims the film was meant to be a black comedy all along, but down to the last detail The Room really does feel like a magnificently misguided attempt at a taut realist drama. The result doesn’t quite reach this mark, but its magical, hilarious ineptitude and its glimpse into the complex inner machinations of Tommy Wiseau are worth every last occasionally excruciating second.