Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Room Revisited

Fun fact: this is my one hundredth post and in honour of the occasion I thought it might be fun to revisit the subject matter of my first real post, and the reason for my creation of this blog in the first place, The Room. Now by this point I am sure you’re all well aware of why this movie fails hilariously and most of you have already seen it (perhaps several times) so I won’t waste time re-describing everything that happens. Instead I’ll focus on the cult and mythos that surrounds the film and my opinions on it.

When I wrote that post way back at the beginning of 2010 I had only seen it once and invented a drinking game based on my initial impressions. Since then I have seen it countless more times, twice in a theatre filled with a screaming, spoon-throwing audience (an experience I recommend you all try even if you’ve already seen the movie, trust me when I say it’s better). Now it’s been over a year since I’ve seen it last, but will see it shortly with a group of friends that is yet to be exposed to it. I expect they’ll find it stupendously horrendous like everybody else. For my part, I’m sure I’ll laugh along with them, but I’ll have something beyond the terrible script, acting, and set design to be shaking my head at; the fact that Tommy Wiseau has managed to build a successful career off of failure.

When his movie started to become popular with audiences and word of its awfulness began to spread, Wiseau saw that people weren’t watching it for the drama and tragedy as he originally intended, but rather so they could laugh at his terrible film and mock his ineptness. A man of dignity may have halted all screenings of his film and crept away in shame, but Wiseau went a different route. He embraced the derision; he laughed along with everybody else laughing at him and pretended that this was his intention the whole time. And you know what? It worked for him. The popularity of him and The Room continue to increase, and by this point I’m sure he’s made quite a bit of money off of it. He’s turned his image of comical failure to his advantage and now stars in his own webseries, The Tommy Wi-Show, where he comically fails at video games, and the short film, The House that Drips Blood on Alex, where he comically fails at acting. It’s blatantly clear that he’s self-aware now. He’s like that weird little kid on the playground that nobody talks to or interacts with until that one day when he falls in dog shit. Everybody starts laughing at him and, desperate for any sort of attention or interaction, he laughs with them and starts piling more dog shit on himself shouting, “You love me! You really love me!” until it stops being funny and just becomes sad. Though I don’t think it’s quite reached that point yet, it’s definitely getting there. And even when it does get to that point, Wiseau will still have the millions he got from all the people who paid to see his shitty movie and he’ll have the last laugh with the joke on us.

In many ways I think Tommy Wiseau is emblematic of our culture, the man of our age you might say. We live in a world of Failblogs, Jersey Shores, and Rebecca Blacks where people with no discernible talent inexplicably find themselves in the limelight, dance their little monkey dance, and scream and tug at one another’s hair for a second longer in the public eye before finally fading into oblivion. And we eat it all up, laugh at their feeble movements, and throw nickels and dimes at their feet until we forget about them and move on to the next sideshow. Tommy Wiseau understands this system and has perfected his own method to exploit it. By not getting too big too fast he doesn’t burn out after a week. Instead he stays on the peripheral and slowly works his way towards the center, milking us for every dollar he can get while drawing it out as long as possible. In this regard he is a genius and a true visionary. But in a more accurate regard he’s a silly man with a silly accent who stumbled into popularity, thought, “Hey! I like money!” and just rolled with it.

Similar to how I’ve come to feel about Harry Potter, I find that I’ve become a shade more pessimistic regarding The Room. The original innocence and excitement I went in with when I saw it for the first time has now disappeared. This leaves me with one profound question: what ever happened to Denny?

Bonus points to anyone who can tell me what happened to Denny.

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