Review: The Room (2003)

What is the worst film you’ve ever seen? No, I’m not talking about Bee Movie, Transformers, or Cats. I mean a film so terrible it leaves a pit in your stomach and makes you contemplate the point of humanity. I’m talking about a film so bad that it would make a toddler’s drawing look like fine art. The Room is possibly the worst film ever made. This cringe-worthy romantic drama revolves around Johnny (Tommy Wiseau), a banker residing in San Francisco who uncovers an affair between his wife Lisa (Juliette Daniel), and his best friend Mark (Greg Sestero).

If nothing else can convince you not to watch this film, let me make it clear that Mark is named after Wiseau’s favourite actor, Matt Damon. Let that sink in for a second, Mark is named after someone called Matt. The Room’s producer, director, and star is unclear on their own favourite actor’s name. That stands as a testament to the quality of this film. From the first scene alone, you are introduced to the poor lighting, quirky European accent and grammatically abysmal script that will be prevalent throughout the rest of the film. It is here we are introduced to Johnny, whose linguistic ability makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look like an English professor. There is no easy way to describe Johnny’s appearance, but to try my best: he looks like a cross between a homeless drug dealer and a Soviet porn star. He is an eight-foot zombie-like freak of nature. Despite his unique appearance, in a later scene Johnny manages to go unrecognised by wearing sunglasses.

During the first scene, Johnny’s teenage neighbour Denny visits his house. Denny has a ten-second conversation with Johnny and Lisa before they abandon him to have sex. But don’t worry! Denny isn’t alone for long, as he barges into their bedroom, saying “I just want to watch you guys”. Soon after, Johnny finds out he didn’t receive the promotion he was expecting and tells Lisa. She reminds Johnny that she still loves him, to which he responds, “You’re the only one who does.” One second; that is the biggest lie ever. What about his neighbour Denny, what about his best friend Mark, what about his three other friends who pop up to play football with him every other scene? In fact, everybody in this film seems to adore Johnny for some reason I can’t understand. Out of nowhere, Lisa invites Mark over and propositions him. He refuses for half a second before sleeping with her.

Lisa then meets her mother, Claudette, claiming that “Johnny got drunk last night… and he hit me.” Claudette points out that “Johnny doesn’t drink” (by this point in the film, Johnny has already drunk both scotch and vodka), completely ignoring her daughter’s tale of abuse. Ignoring issues runs in the family: later, Lisa completely ignores Claudette when she tells her daughter she has breast cancer. The greatest conversation ever put to screen now begins, as Denny tells Johnny that he is in love with Lisa, who comforts him by saying “If a lot of people loved each other, the world would be a better place.” We then move to the roof, where a thug is attacking Denny. Johnny, Mark, Lisa, and Claudette arrive to save him, and neither the thug nor the plotline are ever seen again. A few minutes later we’re back on the roof, where Johnny is complaining about the abuse rumours. In what can only be described as the holy grail of bad acting, he storms onto the roof, shouting “I did not hit her – it’s not true – It’s bullshit – I did not hit her – I did not -oh hi Mark!”. That was the best Wiseau could pull off after three hours and 32 takes. He and Mark have a conversation about a girl Mark knows who was hospitalised by her abusive boyfriend, prompting Johnny to laugh. Johnny’s social etiquette does not improve as the film progresses. Later, when Mark asks Johnny about a client at the bank, Johnny responds with “I cannot tell you – it’s confidential – anyway, how is your sex life?”.

The film then begins to wrap up, thankfully; it’s now Johnny’s surprise birthday party, with him eventually having realised about Lisa’s affair with Mark. He seizes the opportunity to confront Mark in front of everybody, announcing with the worst grammar ever spoken: “You betray me – you not good – you’re just a chicken” before breaking out into a chicken impression, then continuing on to say “It’s not over – everybody betray me – I’m done with this world.” He then struts out of the room, throws a temper tantrum, and shoots himself in the head. This should feel tragic, but at this point, you’re just relieved knowing the film will end soon. Finally, the credits roll. So, is it worth giving this film a go? No, don’t sacrifice your sanity watching it.

Photo courtesy of Wiseau-Films