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February 24th, 2018

I do not usually watch really bad films. I especially do not usually watch really, really bad films. But it was worth it, today, to go to a bar for a private event: join drunk people and watch one of the worst films of this century.

I have seen The Room.

"It's not 'so bad it's good.' It's bad." That's what event co-host Sarah X. Dylan said. She and Greg Nibler, the two hosts/ owners/ creators of Funemployment Radio, screened it for a private audience at Landmark Saloon. Dylan knows. She has seen The Room, um, a lot. I hadn't. She and Nibler have interviewed the film's star/ writer/ co-producer/ director Tommy Wiseau. They have a Tommy Wiseau-signed football, on display at this show. Portland audiences have embraced this bad, weird, sometimes incomprehensible movie — Cinema 21 is hosting its latest special screening of The Room Friday, March 2nd! In less than a week! — but that does not and cannot change that it is bad.

Again, I try not to watch films I know are bad. I won't see enough good films; I'd rather not distract myself with bad ones! And before Mystery Science Theater 3000 and RiffTrax became a thing, encouraging people to snark at bad flicks, I'd usually watch a bad film and simply get embarrassed. My "favorite" example: when I saw the Roger Corman science fiction cheapie Space Raiders in 1983 at a rundown Norfolk, VA theater. The audience started to cheer each time one of the film's ostensible "good guys" died. 9-year-old me was mainly sliding down in my seat feeling contact embarrassment. Eef. But, knowing today's showing was probably the ideal way for me to see The Room, with drunk people, I did this.

Wow. I, um, I will get over that... (I exaggerate. I'm already over it.)

Meanwhile, thoughts! They're random!

• Plenty of scenes are repetitive; plenty of scenes have no point; special effects to make it seem like Tommy Wiseau and Company are on an actual roof in San Francisco and not a green-screen set are sometimes hilariously sloppy (the buildings move from shot to shot!); almost no one can actually act; and the story is so poorly structured I was honestly surprised that the movie had an ending. I was worried it would just stop.

• Someone has to have written The Room fanfic where Claudette gets her breast cancer cured. Then maybe has her memory selectively wiped, so it's like her diagnosis never happened but she can still maintain that Lisa stay with Johnny (Tommy Wiseau's character! He provides for Lisa!).

(Context: Claudette at one point in the first half, apropos of absolutely nothing, says "And I'm dying. I got the results of the test back — I definitely have breast cancer." THIS IS NEVER MENTIONED AGAIN.)

• And other fanfic stories could fill in other gaps! An actual scene at the bank when Johnny doesn't get his promotion! More about the dog at the flower shop! The story of the cute couple in the coffee shop!

• The San Francisco stock footage, some of it used over and over and over, conveys a quality of suspended timelessness to this story, as if all of the (at-times Antonioni-esque-staged) drama is occurring while time, womb-like, has stood still...nah, I can't keep doing this. Cutting back halfway through the film to stock footage of a location we saw at the start, and it's clearly the same location shot at the same time, is just lazy.

Oh, and when I say "Antonioni-esque-staged," I mean that sometimes Tommy Wiseau has a lot of people just standing around.

• If Tommy Wiseau can get six million dollars, why can't I?! (Tommy Wiseau spent six million dollars of his own money to make The Room. To this day, no one knows where that money came from.)

• While writing this I sometimes tried to shorten "Tommy Wiseau" to "Tommy" or "Wiseau." Neither looked right. "Tommy Wiseau" seems like a name you should spell out every, single, time.

Tommy Wiseau.

Tommy Wiseau.

Maybe I'm not over this film.

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