Venturing Into the Cult of Tommy Wiseau’s “The Room”


Despite its bad press, “The Room” continues to garner a cult following. (Courtesy of Grace Campbell for The Fordham Ram)

This past Saturday, my eyes were opened to a whole new world as I went to the Village East by Angelika for a screening of “The Room.” “The Room” is a cult classic movie from 2003 that has been deemed by many critics as the worst movie of all time. That assessment is not exactly wrong. I want to say that it’s so bad it’s good, but really it’s just so bad. However, it still has managed to amass a cult following with many inside jokes, which were yelled out throughout the showing. 

“The Room” is notoriously known for its poor production quality and nonsensical plot. The movie follows the tumultuous relationship between Johnny, played by Tommy Wiseau, and his fiancée Lisa, played by Juliette Danielle, who is cheating on him with his best friend. Despite the main plot, the movie is also filled with numerous subplots that never fully develop and characters that seem to appear out of nowhere. 

The acting in “The Room” was honestly shocking. It is clear that most of the cast had little to no experience in acting, and their delivery of lines comes off as forced and wooden. It was definitely hard to watch. The production quality of the movie is equally as bad. The camera work is shaky and amateurish, and the sound quality is often inconsistent. The set design is cheap and tacky, and the green screen used in some scenes is laughable. 

Despite its many flaws, “The Room” has gained a following for its unintentional comedy. The movie’s terrible acting, ridiculous plot and poor production quality have made it a cult classic among fans of so-bad-it’s-good movies. Throughout the show, the audience was wildly interactive. I still don’t completely get all the meaning behind the jokes, but I definitely picked up on the trends. They would yell out whenever Lisa’s name was said, and whenever her mom was on screen they would yell out about her breast cancer. At random times that I couldn’t understand the pattern of, they would throw plastic spoons at the screen. Those are just to name a few. I have never been to a movie with such a passionate fan base before, and it was definitely an interesting experience to say the least. 

At the screening, the writer, director and star of the film, Tommy Wiseau was there in person. He took photos with fans and did a question-and-answer session before the screening. It was… interesting. I had never heard of or seen this man before, but I will never forget taking a picture next to him as he was wearing three belts and standing inside of a glass enclosure. But he was honestly a really nice guy and not what I was expecting at all. During the Q&A portion of the film screening, he had a lot to share about keeping a positive attitude and how important kindness is. Overall, it was one of the weirdest nights of my life, but not something I would ever take back.