Saturday, December 02, 2017

The Room

This is, in fact, about the movie The Room. 

Having been abroad there are a great many of things I got to do that most people who haven't spent a lot of time living overseas will never really fully understand. 

Not living in the US means there are a lot of things that sort of missed me until they are on my radar than I become very curious about them. This is especially true of anything that is a cultural phenomena. I'm still trying very much to catch up on cultural phenomena (literally just learned that the fluffy dog meme is called Dodge, so yeah). 

The Room came on my radar because of the Author (may he burn in hell for this). I watched the trailer and sort of sat staring in awe at my screen for the better part of what felt like 10 years, wondering why in the hell this was a movie people watched. 

Later, in a small movie theater in Indiana, I noticed a box office poster advertising a midnight showing of the room. Literally, in nowheresville Indiana. What the fuck was up with this movie. It started, then to catch my eye more frequently; theaters in New York with midnight screenings, theaters in Chicago with midnight screenings, theaters in nowheresville Baltimore with midnight screenings. 

I asked Hellion if he had ever heard of The Room. 

"Don't waste your time, it's the worst movie every made."

"Have you seen it?"

"Of course."

Curiouser and curiouser. 

Then I noted, via the internets a trailer for the new Franco/Rogan comedy. Since I rather enjoy the bromance movies they put out, I was curious and watched the trailer. Even with limited knowledge of The Room, I understood pretty quickly that this was going to be a film about The Room. 

"Did you see the trailer for the Disaster Artist?" the Author shoots me a text. 

Me: Dude. I still haven't seen The Room. 
Author: Don't think it's a requirement. 
Me: I feel like I should. 
Author: It is really, truly awful. I have seen it three times. 
Me: Dude. Let's go to a midnight show. 
Author: Ugh. 

I knew he'd be in, if I could find one that would work with my schedule, and finally the Music Box accommodated on December 1st, the opening day of the Disaster Artist. 

Considering how bad this movie is, I figured the theater would be busy, given the new movie tie in, but probably not that busy. Surely not show up to line up an hour before the show busy. How, very, very wrong I was. 

We got to the theater just before 11 and it was already packed with people waiting in the lounge to get in. We grabbed drinks while we waited and I let Hellion know I was going to see the room. 

"Get very, very, drunk."


We didn't have time for very, very drunk as an usher came around to announce to use waiting in front of the theater that they would be seating the line that had formed outside the theater first, so if we wanted to be in-line we needed to go outside. The Author and I looked at each other, tossed back our drinks and stepped out into the cold to wait. 

The line was already halfway down the sidewalk when we joined, and it was getting longer by the minute. There was a line watching party happening across the street. It was one of those lines that has power as passerbys began to wonder if they should get in the line. A group walked up behind us and bought tickets online while they waited. Another group stopped them. 

"What is this line for? What are you all doing?"

"It's a line to go see the movie The Room."

"Wow, this looks like an event, like a party. What is the movie about?"

"It's pretty much the worst movie every made."

"Oh." The passerby ended up getting out of line and going on their way. 

"Shit, I forgot to bring spoons!"

I looked at the Author.


"You'll see."

"Wait, your serious?"

"Yep. I even had some spoons."

I looked down the street, the line was now so long the end as not visible. 

"What the fuck have you gotten me into, dude?"

"You'll see. It's truly an awful movie."

A quarter to midnight they let the throbbing swarm into the theater. The Author and I grabbed some nice isle seats near the middle and he enjoyed the starry night and clouds of the main stage theater while I got a some sparkly and popcorn and beer. 

The theater, when I returned, was rowdy and full of people. There were groups of men tossing around a football. One pair of guys sitting up the aisle and to my left had a pile of a dozen boxes of plastic spoons next to them. 

"That's fucking impressive!" Someone commented as they walked by. 

The menagerie that was the audience fascinated me. I think I had anticipated a rather bland, single palette audience, i.e., a lot of white dude-bros. For some reason, the film struck me as one that would bring out that crowd, but this was not what the audience looked like at all. In reality, the audience was as diverse as the crowd at the Hump film festival. Queens and queers, black, white, brown, purple, pink, the fascinating diversity of it was refreshing and comforting. I was happy to have been proven so wrong. 

As the lights finally went down, I dug in and prepared myself for whatever this was about to be. 

It was something else. 

There is such a weird, fascinating energy in the crowd as the movie very slowly played out. I mean, my gods the epic novels you could write about how bad this film are have already been written. This is a horrible movie. At the same time, this was an epic fucking crowd experience. The comparisons to going to see Rocky Horror are not off the mark at all. The vibrancy as cars cross over the Golden Gate bridge. The hilarity of the spoons swimming like salmon almost every time the camera is in the living room, the complete inability to hear a single line, but the audience reciting them all anyway. The weirdness of random characters and the ever so easy to fall into callouts and clapbacks made this not only fun but also spiritually satisfying. In some way, we are all in this theater torturing ourselves with this painful, painful movie, and we are all finding in it some type of redemption that turns black and white into a kaleidoscope of color. 

The Room is a horrible, horrible movie whose existence serves a far greater purpose. 

For that, I'm happy that it exists and that I got to see it. 

I'll still take the Author's name in vain for several weeks, though. 


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