Hollywood’s elites gather every year to celebrate the successes of the film industry in a night of elegance. Not so similarly, normal people gather once a month to celebrate perhaps the industry’s worst failure, “The Room,” at Landmark Esquire Theater in Denver.
On the last Friday of every month, the theater screens “The Room” and grants an opportunity for spectators to quote along the movie all the while hilariously mocking what’s happening on screen.
“The Room” is auteur Tommy Wiseau’s unintentional cult masterpiece and is often referred to in most cinema circles as “the best worst movie of all time.” The film is about a banker named Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) who lives with his girlfriend Lisa (Juliette Danielle) in San Francisco. Lisa eventually becomes bored of Johnny and begins to have an affair with Johnny’s best friend Mark (Greg Sestero), and melodrama ensues.
Although the plot may be severely uninspired, “The Room” makes up for it in shear absurdity. The film is plagued with establishing shots of San Francisco that appear between nearly each scene to which audience members constantly yell, “Where are we?” The film shows a sex scene twice, a subplot about breast cancer is brought up and then never discussed again and there is no end to hilariously bad dialogue that the audience repeats along with the characters on screen.
Johnny and Lisa’s apartment bizarrely has framed pictures of spoons, and when these are shown on screen, the audience is prompted into throwing plastic spoons at cardboard cut-outs of Johnny and Lisa placed at the front of the theater. When this happens everyone in the theater shouts, “Spoons!” And a volley of disposable utensils is sent into the air.
Along with this, it is quite common for participants to begin throwing a football around whenever the characters begin to play a game of catch, which is far more often than one would think. It is an hour and 39 minutes of pure hilarity all thanks to Wiseau.
Wiseau himself is a bit of a mystery. He has never confirmed how old he is or where he is from. In Q&A sessions, Wiseau always blows off questions inquiring about his past. I had the pleasure of meeting Wiseau last year at the Esquire and during a Q&A, somebody asked him where he was from. Wiseau replied, “Oh come on, stop it!” The theater erupted into laughter, knowing all too well what Wiseau’s response would be. While Wiseau didn’t appreciate the question, Wiseau was actually incredibly kind when two friends and I snagged a photo and got autographed headshots. He thanked us for coming and shook of all our hands and seemed genuinely happy to be there. However, the experience made me wonder: When Tommy Wiseau was setting up to create his magnum opus, “The Room,” did he imagine signing autographs for fans dedicated to laughing at his work? Probably not.
While Wiseau’s passion project didn’t turn out how he hoped, the film has undoubtedly brought people together in a way that might be stronger than he could have ever imagined. Every month, Landmark Esquire Theater Esquire fills up with spectators bent on making fun of the film in the most brutal of ways, it is also clear that there is a love for the film. I have never been in a theater and heard more laughter than I have attending “The Room.” In an odd way, this gathering is a kind of a beautiful thing in the landscape of filmmaking. As a film lover (and hater), I couldn’t imagine my life without Wiseau’s work.