by Jack Henison
The Prince Charles cinema located in Leicester Square is one the most beloved in the country. It has a long tradition of showing classic or cult films that have a large fan base and encourages the audience to dress up and quote along to the films being shown. Even Quentin Tarantino has praised the cinema, by stating he made ‘Kill Bill’ to be screened there for its UK release. For years its most in demand screening was ‘The Sound of Music’ sing along, which became something of a rite of passage for fans of the musical. But its status has now been surpassed by a lesser known independent film which has been considered by many to be one of the worst films ever made, a film that has acquired a large fan base that enjoy making fun of the various technical and narrative flaws with it. I am of course talking about ‘The Room’.
The Room is one of those rare films that come out every few years that get absolutely nothing right the acting, writing, directing just everything is done badly, but much like ‘Plan 9 from Outer Space’ and ‘Troll 2’ it has gained a cult following. The film follows Johnny a happy go lucky banker played by the Orson Welles of awful Tommy Wiseau, who also directed, wrote and produced the film. But his world is “torn apart” (fans of the film will get that) as his girlfriend Lisa has an affair with his best friend Mark. Well that sounds simple enough, how could it be so bad you ask? Well The Room is perhaps best known for several pointless plot points that bring the film to a complete halt and are then never mentioned again. Now not much is known about Tommy Wiseaus past, I have tried to research him as best as I can but every website I go on states information that differs from the last. What is clear though is that English certainly isn’t his first language; in fact I don’t even know where he is from as not a single website stated his country of birth. So judging alone from his undefinable accent it’s clear that when writing the script he made a number of grammatical errors, which the cast were either unwilling to correct or were forced to stick to his warped vision.
As of writing this I have now seen The Room twice at The Prince Charles, and on the second occasion I actually got the opportunity to meet the man, the myth, the legend Mr Tommy Wiseau himself and yes he was pretty much exactly what I expected, an odd man who has an unusual sense of entitlement after making this now loved disaster piece. The screening I must say though is like nothing I have ever been to and if you haven’t been then I really urge you go check it out. Even if you don’t like the film the experience alone is just incredible. People dress up, hurl abuse at Lisa, hum along to the soundtrack etc. There is also an unexplained framed picture of a spoon (trust me that’s the least weird thing in the film) shown throughout the film and it’s now a custom for audience members to throw plastic spoons around the cinema every time it appears in shot. Experience alone it is by far the best cinema trip I have ever been on.
Based on what I wrote I don’t imagine many of you are the least bit interested in watching The Room but honestly you really do need to check it out. When critics compile a list of films that you must watch before you die the same ones always appear like ‘Citizen Kane’, ‘Casablanca’, ‘Seven Samurai’, and ‘The Seventh Sea’l etc. I’m certain that one day The Room will appear on a similar list, of course not for the same reasons as those wonderful films I listed, but purely for the fact it has to be seen to be believed. Invite all your friends, good thinking!