Oh hi, Mark! Hi doggy! Today’s waffle is all about my visit to London to see The Room (Live!). It wasn’t really live, that sort of implies that it would be acted out for us on stage, but it was actually just a screening of the film with an intro by the actors and the chance for a cheeky photo with them. For the uninitiated, The Room is quite probably the worst film ever made, and has gained quite a cult following for this reason (I’m amazed it hasn’t made it on to my Culture Mission list!). It’s almost a one man show; Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed, produced and ‘starred’ in it, and so it is obviously very dear to his heart. I think he genuinely thinks it’s a masterpiece! It also stars the incredibly pretty Greg Sestero who, thankfully, is suitably embarrassed by his involvement. He’s still happy to milk the cash cow by ‘touring’ with Tommy and the film though, and, amazingly, hundreds of people turn up each time to take part in their question and answer sessions and throw cutlery at the big screen. Last week, I was one of those people. Some pals and I trotted down to the Prince Charles Cinema in London to join three hundred other weirdos hoping to see Tommy Wiseau in all his waxy-skinned glory. We were pretty lucky to get a ticket, all the showings had sold out pretty quickly (much to our disappointment), so imagine our joy when they added an extra screening!
Everything about the day was a hoot. The film itself is so bad it’s hilariously enjoyable, but I’ve never laughed at it quite so much before. We knew we were in for a treat when it was announced before entering the theatre that no booze, American footballs or metal cutlery were allowed. (For the unfamiliar, there is a scene in which the main characters throw a ball around while wearing tuxedos, for no apparent reason, so hopefuls try to get their footballs signed. Also it’s customary to throw plastic spoons at the screen whenever the framed spoon picture is in view, as in the following still. I must admit it takes the fun out of it a bit having to explain these things, but trust me, it’s much, much funnier in action).
The question and answer session was hugely entertaining. Lovely Greg Sestero was obviously wishing to be anywhere but there, and mainly served as a pretty backdrop for Tommy Wiseau’s bizarre and usually irrelevant answers to the audience’s questions, being completely unable to get a word in anyway. An audience member was pulled up ‘on stage’ for arriving dressed in a tuxedo (a la football scene), and stood beside Greg and Tommy awkwardly, occasionally being moved into different positions like some kind of prop. Tommy asked someone else to play a song he’d written on his “small guitar” (which was actually a purple ukulele), and then cut him off after approximately seven seconds. He was also asked to leave a happy birthday phone message to someone called Andy, and had all the audience sing “Happy birthday Andy” before asking him what his name was. Trust me, you had to be there. My favourite part though was their response to the question “Did Claudette ever recover from her breast cancer?” There’s a scene in the film where Claudette, Lisa’s mum, announces that she definitely has breast cancer, only for it to never be mentioned again. Luckily Greg informed us that the particular hospital referred to in a boring anecdote within the film healed her, while Tommy wisely advised us that “we all have cancer, but we can all live to be two hundred, and you want to know how? Because we want to!” Words of wisdom for all, I’m sure.
And then the film began! The basic plot line is that Johnny (Tommy) has a lovely life and a lovely girlfriend (Juliette Danielle, now an estate agent), until she starts having an affair with his best friend (beautiful Greg). There’s not really much more to it than that, but there’s lots of strange dialogue and varying degrees of under/over-acting. The audience were absolutely loving it. Many spoons were thrown, many lines were bellowed by all (“YOU’RE TEARING ME APART, LISA!”), and much merriment was had. There were many things I hadn’t noticed before which I was loudly alerted to by particular audience members, including bulging neck muscles and highly inappropriate dress-related behaviour, and there were other parts that I’d simply forgotten about (a nice pan of a bridge, anyone? How about some terrible hair or nudity based continuity issues?) But the absolute highlight was the moment we’d all been waiting for – the chance to meet Tommy and Greg, in person!
We decided to pop out of the auditorium and say hello during the third awkward sex scene, which was actually the first awkward sex scene re-used later in the film. Clearly Tommy enjoyed that one, although I’m not sure he’d appreciate the audience reaction. When Greg stripped, wolf-whistles abounded. When Tommy stripped, there was a universal groan of revulsion. But then Greg is a finely chiselled model, while Tommy somewhat resembles a lumpy sack of potatoes under a meat suit. I have never in my life seen such a bulging back! (Also I realise this implies that the sex scene involved Tommy and Greg. This was not the case, it actually involved Tommy and Juliette look-at-my-nipples Danielle. And a quick word to the wise, apparently Tommy gets very offended if you refer to the sex scenes as sex scenes. Apparently you should refer to them as L-O-V-E love scenes. Don’t make that mistake, he won’t appreciate it).
Anyway, we crunched our way over plastic spoons to the back of the theatre, where we found lovely Greg Sestero, looking a bit dejected in his funny little hat. He was obviously less than impressed with the film, saying “This is so awful!” and being very quick to assure us that he wasn’t originally meant to be cast in the film, he was just going to help out with the production, but had been offered “loads of money” to be in it. When I asked how much “loads of money” was, he skilfully deflected by saying “I don’t know where he gets it from”. Anyway, we went into the foyer where the light was better and had our photo taken with him (he put his arm round me!), and then we had our photo taken with Greg AND Tommy (and Greg put his arm round me again!).
There was plenty of merchandise on offer – special double language subtitle combo DVDs, t-shirts with an anguished Tommy screaming “YOU’RE TEARING ME APART, LISA!” (I feel caps are always required), American footballs and the like, with soon to be released underwear. (They should put the same t-shirt picture on the underwear, it’d be the most effective contraception around!) But for all those who feel there’s just not enough Room-related memorabilia in their lives, never fear! Greg Sestero is releasing a book about the phenomenon later this year.
I realise that everything I’ve said here will only make sense to anyone who’s already seen The Room, but if you haven’t watched it yet and have read this far, I urge you to give it a go. You’ll only waste 99 minutes of your life, probably the same amount of time you usually waste on youtube videos of pets falling off treadmills. The Room has already been around for ten years, you’ve no excuse to go any longer without seeing it, especially when there’s the chance to go to official screenings of hilarities with all kinds of crazy and highly entertaining audience members! It was more fun than I’ve had in a long time, and at only £15 a ticket, I’d say it was definitely worth it. But enough waffling for now and time for me to leave, I’m fed up of this world!