“You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!”
“Why, Lisa, why, why?!”
“Everyone betrayed me! I’m fed up with this world.”
“They betrayed me, they didn’t keep their promise, they tricked me, and I don’t care anymore.”
Tommy Wiseau’s cries of anguish in cult classic The Room never get old, at least not for the loyal crowd that came out last Thursday. I found this to be one of the best The Room experiences I’ve had, as the crowd was clearly full of long-time fans and therefore not participating at the deafening pitch of the full house of virgins at Rocky at the Michigan Theater. The excited shouts of “Water!!” when a stock shot of bodies of water in San Francisco appeared, the encouraging “Go, go, go!” when the panning shots never seemed to end, and other beloved call outs (now including the offhand, “Ok, Boomer,” when Lisa’s mother is giving her advice) made for a really interactive and chaotic experience.
The film itself honestly can’t really be summed up via text. I can tell you that it’s poorly written, produced, and acted and thus one of the best cultural works in recent history, but that doesn’t really capture the specific disjointed and slightly baffling nature of this film.
Finally, the spoons. I have to talk about the spoons. To spoil one tradition of this movie experience, there is a specific framed photo of a spoon on the set that gets the most screen time in the film. Every time one spots said photo, it’s necessary to shout “SPOONS!” and (plastic) spoons are thrown in the air in celebration. This viewing had so many spoons and enthusiasm that between sightings people would reach down and into the aisles to gather spoons to throw at any triumphant moment for Tommy in the movie. At the end, people jumped on stage to throw the immeasurable amount of utensils back at the audience. The spoon obsession is simply the oddest and most enjoyable part of seeing The Room.
All this being said, this movie is also an amazing look into unfiltered male ego, misogyny, and conservatism. The tone deaf nature of this film broadcasts this uncomfortable mindset, but in such a poorly executed way that it feels made to be ironically consumed. There’s no guilt in booing Lisa, the classic “woman as temptress” archetype, because she’s so cartoonishly evil that there’s no way to not be in on the joke.
Next time you see The Room making the rounds, whether that’s in Ann Arbor, Royal Oak, or elsewhere, grab an unsuspecting friend and enjoy bemoaning the betrayal of the pseudo-Christ himself, Tommy Wiseau (er, “Johnny”).