Saturday: "The Room" at Market Street | Rock Candy

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday: "The Room" at Market Street

Posted By on Sat, Jun 27, 2009 at 4:48 PM


The trailer. See Agee's tips for watching "The Room" here.

When you think of great cinematic displays of angst, maybe you land on Gena Rowlands wilding out in “A Woman under the Influence.” Or Brando, bellowing up at the balcony in “A Streetcar Named Desire.” But that's only because you probably haven't seen “The Room,” the melodrama-turned-cult-hit that screened at the Little Rock Film Festival in May. It will play again at 9 p.m. Saturday at Market Street Cinema and, if organizer Levi Agee has his way, each subsequent final Saturday of the month until September.

A steamy story about a love triangle involving a banker named Johnny, his best friend Mark and Johnny's fiancee Lisa, who's secretly sleeping with both men, “The Room” has become widely celebrated as the most spectacularly terrible film ever committed to celluloid. It debuted, tepidly, in LA in 2003. In one of the first reviews, Variety's Scott Foundas said that it “may be something of a first: a movie that prompts most of its viewers to ask for their money back — before even 30 minutes have passed.” But slowly, through word of mouth, it became a film to see — to mock.


The film's problems are legion. The acting is tone deaf. There's little to no character development. A number of subplots emerge and then disappear. Characters often get lost in the frame. Several scenes are out of focus. Much of the movie is hampered by terrible green screen work. There are long, wholly non-erotic sex scenes that always seem to involve rose petals. The music never fits the mood except during the sex scenes, which are scored to what sounds like dollar bin '80s R&B.

Tommy Wiseau, who wrote, directed, produced and self-distributed the film, stars as Johnny. With long black hair, a wide face and what appears to be a lazy eye, he looks like a villain from “The Highlander,” but here favors silk shirts and ill-fitting suits. In interviews, he's been cagey about his background, but he speaks in what sounds like a thick Austrian accent, dull and plodding until it spikes when he tries to add emotion, memorably when he says, “naaaat!” and, everyone's favorite moment of pathos, “You're tearing me apart, Lisa!”

As audiences began to gather to hurl plastic spoons at the screen every time a framed picture of a spoon shows up on screen and leave en masse during a particularly boring sex scene in mock protest, Wiseau, who maintained, unconvincingly, that he'd always intended the film to be seen as a black comedy, began to host monthly midnight screenings in LA.

Over the years through those and other film festival screenings, the film's cult has broadened. Last fall, Entertainment Weekly ran a four-page article about Wiseau and “The Room,” noting its famous fans like Paul Rudd, Kristen Bell and Jonah Hill. Wiseau made a guest appearance on “Tim and Eric Awesome Show” on Adult Swim in March, and on April Fool's Day, the Cartoon Network ran the film in its entirety at midnight.

Agee, a graduate student in UCA's digital film program and a volunteer with the Little Rock Film Festival, arranged for the film to screen during the festival. Although it played opposite the festival gala, some 30 folks showed up and quickly got into the communal spirit, Agee says.

“There's a competitive nature in the one-upmanship. It's like ‘Mystery Science Theater' karaoke. You get an adrenaline rush out of it.”

Agee hopes that the film becomes a fixture in the indie film scene here and that this initial run extends indefinitely. If not, he won't be deterred in spreading the gospel of “The Room.”

“I own the DVD. People could always come over to my house.”

Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • The Dark Money Edition

    The coming primary and judicial elections, especially the dark money flowing into a race for an Arkansas Supreme Court position; also Leslie Rutledge and the ballot initiative process and the Razorbacks and War Memorial.
    • May 18, 2018
  • The Leslie Rutledge Sovereign Immunity Trap Edition

    The Democratic primary for the 2nd Congressional District, sovereign immunity and Leslie Rutledge and the Little Rock mayoral race — all covered on this week's podcast.
    • May 11, 2018
  • Samantha's again wins the Arkansas Times Second Annual Margarita Fest

    Congratulations to Samantha's Tap Room & Wood Grill for winning the Arkansas Times Second Annual Margarita Festival presented by Don Julio Tequila last night. The Pizzeria was the runner-up. Thanks to the 600 people who came out to the sold-out event, proceeds of which benefited the Downtown Partnership.
    • May 11, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Coming Monday: Little Rock Black Restaurant Week

    MoTown Monday is Ceci's Chicken and Waffles. Tasty Tuesday is Sims BBQ and Brewster's Soul Food Cafe. Wing Wednesday is Chicken King and Chicken Wangs. Soul Food Thursday is Lindsey's BBQ and Hospitality House and Food Truck Festival Friday is @station801. It's the first Black Restaurant Week.
    • Mar 8, 2017
  • New music from Isaac Alexander

    New music from Isaac Alexander.
    • Jul 14, 2017
  • No Small Talk Ep. 8: Katy Henriksen, Springs Arts preview

    A packed episode this week of "No Small Talk": a chat with Katy Henriksen, from Of Note on KUAF; Stephanie Smittle breaks down the Spring Arts issue; and we finish up with just a tiny bit of Oscar chatter.
    • Mar 9, 2018

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation