You know what it’s like - you’re settling down in the cinema, a stash of snacks at your side to see you through the film. But as darkness falls the people in front of you start talking, commenting on every frame as it flashes up before your eyes. And they keep it up ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE FILM.
However, when those people are Graham Linehan (creator of Father Ted), Peter Serafinowicz (who co-wrote Look Around You) and Robert Popper (producer of Peep Show) it makes for one of the best nights at the cinema you could ever hope for.
If you found David Lynch’s Lost Highway confusing, then go no further, since Nicko and Joe’s Bad Film Club chose Tommy Wiseau’s The Room for this month’s diatribe from top comedians they invite along for the evening. Released in 2003, the film has reached cult status in the States, being referred to as "the Citizen Kane of bad movies". Part of the attraction is, as Serafinowicz highlighted, this isn’t really a film, but more a collection of people walking through doors, cul-de-sac-esque plotlines and dialogue "that sounds like it was written by an ATM". It’s barely 5 minutes before one of all too many soft-core baum-chicka-wah-wah sex scenes rears its ugly head (and I mean this literally - Nicko at one point drew the comparison between Wiseau’s naked body and a pasty, to give you some idea).
Nicko and Joe (replaced for the evening by Clint Edwards) had thoughtfully supplied everyone with a veritable smorgasboard of cakes, and we were provided with spoons to throw at the screen whenever one of the several framed photographs of cutlery swings into shot. This is merely one of many joyous traditions associated with the film which Robert Popper explained to the uninitiated, including yelling "FOCUS!" when the screen slips all too often into fuzziness (a blessing during those sex scenes) and "who ARE you?!" when one bafflingly unintroduced character becomes part of the main dialogue, "as if he was a frustrated audience member who has escaped into the film", as Serafinowicz observed.
The Q&A at the end of the film divided the audience as to whether The Room was either the work of a mad man or a genius, but we were left certain that is was not the work of an actor or a writer. Tommy Wiseau wrote, produced, directed, cast, starred (as a character cunningly named “Johnny”, which when garbled out in Wiseau’s almost Transylvanian accent sounds cunningly familiar) and badly redubbed the whole sorry debacle. For this contribution to humanity alone, he will, unfortunately, achieve the fame and notoriety he evidently craves but so little deserves.
The Room is being shown again at the Prince Charles Cinema on 3rd October.
By Ruth Lang.