Though it doesn't offer a source, the film trailer for The Room boldly proclaims itself, "the best movie of the year (2003)." On the other hand, it sits just below Troll 2 and Santa Claus Conquers the Martians on Wikipedia's list of worst films ever made. But The Room is more than just bad, it's perfectly bad. Ross Morin, assistant professor of film studies at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota, told Entertainment Weekly it's the Citizen Kane of bad movies.
Plot threads about cancer, drugs and pregnancy are introduced and dropped. Characters disappear without a trace mid-film because the actors quit and their lines were reassigned to others. Painfully awkward sex scenes are frequent. The set design is rife with bizarre imagery of spoons. And the acting is so atrocious it consistently defies all attempts at description.
Yet The Room is a hit.
Heir to the midnight throne and audience participation of Rocky Horror, the independently shot and mysteriously financed film has consistently played to sold out theaters across the nation and even gained a high-profile celebrity following. Actors David Wain and Kristen Bell both claim to hold regular private screenings. Comedian David Cross hails its genius at every available opportunity.
What plot The Room maintains throughout the film is a melodramatic love triangle that writer, director and actor Tommy Wiseau calls "a black comedy about love in the age of terror." Other actors from the film say that was unintentional, but Wiseau doesn't seem to care. He plays up the bizarreness in interviews, insisting the plot inconsistencies are deliberate and that the spoons have meaning and that said meaning may require multiple theatrical viewings to fully comprehend.
Kelly Broich, organizer of last year's Absurdist Film Festival, hosts a screening of The Room at Visual Arts Collective, Saturday, Jan. 21. Broich is also working to make this screening the first in a monthly series of film and stage oddities he will present at VAC under the heading of Collapse Theater.