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  • Writer's pictureThomas Duncan

The Room (2003) ft. Adam M. Rosen

Updated: Dec 9, 2023



Cast:

  • Tommy Wiseau as Johnny/Writer/Director

  • Juliette Danielle as Lisa

  • Greg Sestero as Mark

  • Philip Haldiman as Denny

  • Carolyn Minnott as Claudette

  • Robyn Paris as Michelle

  • Scott Holmes as Mike

  • Dan Janjigian as Chris-R

  • Kyle Vogt as Peter

*Recognition:

  • The Room premiered on June 27, 2003, at the LaemmleFairfax and Fallbrook theaters in Los Angeles. Wiseau additionally arranged a screening for the cast and the press at one of the venues, renting a searchlight to sit in front of the theater, and arriving in a limousine. Ticket buyers were given a free copy of the film's soundtrack on CD. Actress Robyn Paris described the audience laughing at the film, and Variety reporter Scott Foundas, who was also in attendance, would later write that the film prompted "most of its viewers to ask for their money back—before even 30 minutes [had] passed."

  • IFC.com described Wiseau's speaking voice in the film as "Borat trying to do an impression of Christopher Walken playing a mental patient." The Guardian described the film as a mix of "Tennessee Williams, Ed Wood, and R. Kelly's Trapped in the Closet."

  • A number of publications have labeled The Room as one of the worst films ever made. An assistant professor of film studies was the first to describe The Room as "the Citizen Kane of bad movies."

  • Originally shown only in a limited number of California theaters, The Room quickly became a cult film due to its bizarre and unconventional storytelling, technical and narrative flaws, and Wiseau's off-kilter performance. Although Wiseau has retrospectively described the film as a black comedy, audiences have generally viewed it as a poorly made drama, an opinion shared by some of the cast.

  • Although the film was a box-office bomb, sales and notoriety significantly increased in later years.

  • The Disaster Artist, Sestero's memoir of the making of The Room, was co-written with Tom Bissell and published in 2013. A film of the same title based on the book, directed by and starring James Franco, was released on December 1, 2017; the book and film received widespread acclaim and numerous award nominations.

  • The Room currently holds 26% on RT among critics, a 9 score on Metacritic, and a 2.6 out of 5 on Letterboxd.

What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: You tell me, I have no clue!


Plot Summary: Johnny is a successful banker who lives happily in a San Francisco townhouse with his fiancée, Lisa. Johnny seems to have it all, a bunch of friends—including his closest friend Mark—and a beautiful fiancée of five years, Lisa. One day, inexplicably, she gets bored with Johnny and decides to seduce Johnny's best friend, Mark, and nothing will ever be the same again.


Did You Know:

  • According to Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau submitted the film to Paramount Pictures, hoping to get them on board as distributor. Usually, it takes about two weeks to get a reply from such a studio. This movie, however, was rejected within 24 hours.

  • According to Tommy Wiseau, Denny has some sort of mental disorder, which explains his behavior in the film. He didn't bother mentioning this to Philip Haldiman during production.

  • Shot simultaneously on 35mm film and high-definition video. Tommy Wiseau wanted this to be the first film to shoot in two formats at the same time, so he had a custom mount constructed to house both cameras, not realizing he would need a different crew and lighting setup for each. He also purchased the cameras instead of renting them as film productions usually do. The cost of the HD camera itself was $100,000.

  • Tommy Wiseau was adamant about the shot of him getting out of bed and walking naked to the bathroom: "I have to show my ass or this movie won't sell." He did numerous takes of the scene, refusing to move on until the crew demanded he do so. Editor Eric Chase later tried to convince Wiseau to cut the shot, claiming it scared Chase's wife.

  • According to "The Disaster Artist," Tommy Wiseau is fascinated by vampires and enjoys cultivating the impression that he is one. Greg Sestero recounts how, early in production, Wiseau approached cinematographer Raphael Smadja with a new scene: "I want my car to fly off the roof and into the sky. It's just possible side plot. Maybe Johnny is vampire." Wiseau eventually dropped the idea after learning that this wasn't possible on the production's budget.

  • After low ticket sales, the film was almost immediately pulled from cinemas. Tommy Wiseau paid to keep the film playing in one cinema for two weeks so it would be eligible for Oscar nominations. This proved to be a fruitless attempt, as the film didn't receive any nominations. Ironically, The Disaster Artist (2017), the film based on Greg Sestero's book, received one Oscar nomination for "Best Adapted Screenplay".

  • During the "love is blind" scene, Peter seems dazed and frequently reaches out to touch things while moving around the room. This was because Kyle Vogt had struck his head on the spiral staircase while rehearsing and suffered a concussion. Tommy Wiseau, who was angry with Vogt because he was about to quit the film and honor a prior commitment, wouldn't let him leave for treatment.

  • Tommy Wiseau enjoyed filming the love scene so much, he decided to create a second love scene with recycled and unused shots from the first (which is why the candles are already lit when they arrive) and randomly insert it later in the film.

  • Carolyn Minnott had always wanted to act and this was one of the only parts she could get. As such, she gave it everything she had, even nailing a scene right after being hospitalized for heat stroke.

  • Mark (Greg Sestero) was named after Matt Damon. According to Sestero, Tommy Wiseau was obsessed with the actor, but somehow misheard his name. Coincidentally, there is a notable actor/producer named Mark Damon - whether Wiseau confused the two is unknown.

Best Performance: Greg Sestero (Mark)/Eric Chase (Editor)

Best Secondary Performance: Carolyn Minnott (Claudette)/Juliette Danielle (Lisa)

Most Charismatic Award: Tommy Wiseau (Johnny)/Flower Shop Dog

Best Scene:

  • Lisa and Johnny

  • Lisa and Mark

  • Lisa and Her Mother

  • Oh, Hi, Mark

  • Denny's Drug Problem

  • Johnny's Birthday Party

  • Post Party Recording

  • Johnny's Demise

  • End Credits

Favorite Scene: Oh, Hi, Mark/Denny, Lisa, and Johnny in Bed Together

Most Indelible Moment: You're Tearing Me Apart, Lisa!/Denny, Lisa, and Johnny in Bed Together/The 4th Sex Scene


In Memorium:

  • Burt Bacharach, 94, American Hall of Fame composer ("Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head", "Walk On By", "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)"), six-time Grammy winner, appeared in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, and won two Academy Awards for Original Song in 1970 and 1982.

  • Eugene Lee, 83, American set designer (Saturday Night Live, Candide, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) and Wisconsin native.

  • Cody Longo, 34, American actor and musician (Days of Our Lives, Hollywood Heights, Piranha 3D).

  • David Jude Jolicoeur, 54, aka Trugoy the Dove", American rapper (De La Soul) and songwriter ("Me Myself and I", "Feel Good Inc."), Grammy winner (2006).

  • Austin Majors, 27, American actor (NYPD Blue, Treasure Planet, The Ant Bully).

  • James Flynn, 57, Irish film and television producer (Vikings, The Last Duel, The Banshees of Inisherin)

  • Raquel Welch, 82, American actress (One Million Years, BC, Fantastic Voyage, Three Musketeers), Golden Globe winner.

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Johnny: YOU ARE TEARING ME APART, LISA!


Lisa: Yes, the computer business is very hard these days, mom.


Johnny: ...Anyway, how is your sex life?


Johnny: You betrayed me! You're not good. You, you're just a chicken. Chip-chip-chip-chip-cheep-cheep.


Johnny: Why, Lisa, why? Why?!


Johnny: I did not hit her, it's not true! It's bullshit! I did not hit her!

[throws water bottle]

Johnny: I did *not*. Oh hi, Mark.


Claudette: Everything goes wrong all at once. Nobody wants to help me. And I'm dying.

Lisa: You're not dying, mom.

Claudette: I got the results of the test back - I definitely have breast cancer.


Mike: I have to go see Michelle in a little bit to make out with her.


Mark: As far as I'm concerned, you can drop off the earth. That's a promise.


Mark: Leave your stupid comments in your pocket.


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 5.5

Impact/Significance: 1.17

Novelty: 1.83

Classic-ness: 2.33

Rewatchability: 6.17

Audience Score: 6.25 (78% Google, 47% RT)

Total: 23.25


Remaining Questions:

  • Why was this movie made?

  • Why does Mark go for Lisa?

  • What is the significance of the character Denny and why did he have a drug problem?

  • What happens with Claudette's cancer?

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