We all love great films; Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Toy Story and of course the Star Wars trilogy to name just a few. There are also terrible films, you know, the ones that scrape the barrel for plot, like Catwoman and The Postman that aren’t even worth throwing stale popcorn at.
But there is another category of films – films that are so bad, they’re good. To celebrate these ‘car crashes’ of celluloid, we stupidly decided to set up a club – a bad film club – an opportunity to have a drink, a laugh and revel in the acting horror.
Each month we will be showing a ‘special’ screening. Our opening film was no exception having become an internet and cult legend. Here is our resident film boffin, Robert Ball‘s assessment of what has been described as ‘the ‘Citizen Kane’ of bad films‘: The Room…
The Room (2003)
There are films during which you can feel the obsessive precision of a master craftsman at work. The films of Kubrick, David Lynch or Hitchcock. The Room is their terrible dark twin. Whereas truly great films are perfect in every detail; framing, pacing, screenplay, visual and sound design, The Room is monotonously, heroically unperfect. In every last detail. All of the time.
The star, producer, director and probably caterer of this meandering debacle (Tommy Wiseau) gives himself the plum role of Johnny – a benevolent, teetotal philosopher and adopter of street kids. He is misunderstood, betrayed, and cuckolded in turn by those around him. He cuts a tragic figure. In fact it’s possibly the most tragic screen performance ever committed to celluloid. Imagine Christopher Walken wandering lost after near fatal electro-shock therapy in one of Cher’s old wigs reading a pile of Clinton Cards through a mouthful of cold porridge.
The rest of a central love triangle is, quite literally, rounded out by a femme fatale (shot from such consistently harsh camera angles and in such cheap dresses that she looks like a pound of pork sausages spilling out of a Christmas cracker) and the handsome best friend (A walking piece of MDF with a beard). And talking of cheap furniture, The Room looks like it was filmed in an MFI showroom. During business hours. Which perhaps explains the characters that randomly appear out of nowhere only to look confused and and wander off again without serving dramatic or expositional function.
So, take some terrible acting, a screenplay written by a horny teenager (two stomach churning sex scenes occur in the first ten minutes that feel about as erotic as watching a giant snail trying to fondle his sister), cheap sets, a handful of stock footage, production values that would shame a school nativity and this is the result.
And I’m just scraping the surface. A thin veneer of mere awfulness covering depths of ineptitude studded with pearls of unrewarding crap just waiting to be discovered. The worst film ever made? Perhaps. I’d give it six out of ten.