Every so often here at Munch we’ll ask one of our friends to join us in the kitchen and on the couch as we watch another movie. These guest posts will allow us to bring new insight into a particularly bad movie, another voice on the blog, or a talented cook in the kitchen with a flair for something we won’t even touch. This week we have Brenden introducing us to the cinematic catastrophe known as The Room.
When André, Leanna, and Ben told me that they were starting the Munch blog, I immediately knew which film to recommend form them to watch: The Room – Tommy Wiseau’s masterpiece (?) of cinema. Is it the best-worst movie ever made? The worst-best movie ever produced? Does it matter?
No, it probably doesn’t matter. Needless to say, I was super excited to share this film with the Munch crew when it landed on their (very long) watch list.
Our theme for the meal was carbs! (carbs! carbs!). There’s a scene in the movie where Lisa, the female lead, goes shopping for party snacks and buys nothing but carbs. She reaches into her bag and pulls out bread! chips! crackers! and more! In other words, just things that some producer’s intern probably picked up at the corner store because Tommy wasn’t prepared enough to have planned ahead of time what sort of food was going to be needed for this scene.
We started off our carb-heavy meal with some homemade focaccia bread, to which we added onions, feta cheese, rosemary, and some extra-fancy, flaky sea salt. The final result was a savory, moist bread that we couldn’t get enough of. Maybe Lisa was on to something.
If you don’t make bread for yourself often, you must try the recipe for this focaccia that we put up on Kitchenbowl.
Next, we whipped up a pizza. Not just any pizza, though, the exact pizza Lisa orders in the first scene: “half Canadian bacon with pineapple, half artichoke with pesto, light on the cheese.” We thought this pizza sounded more interesting than the pizza they actually get, which is just plain cheese, so we went for it. As weird as it might sound, it was actually really good.
The pesto we used is actually a Leanna Family recipe so you can find that recipe here!
For dessert, we had chocolate covered cheesecake, which actually references two different scenes in the movie. The chocolate is a call back to the weird-as-hell truffle make-out scene by a couple with no impact on the story, and the cheesecake was inspired by the oft-ordered cheesecake at the local cafe. All of the customers ordered a piece! We enjoyed it as well.
You don’t always want to head out to you local cafe for a slice of cheesecake so we have the recipe up on Kitchenbowl if you want to make it for yourself.
Whiskey and vodka. Neat.
This simple concoction was served to Johnny, our main character, by his fiancée, Lisa, one evening. It was pizza night (yes, the very same pizza night from above) for the couple, and who doesn’t enjoy a stiff drink with your pizza? After some initial hesitation by our hero, who doesn’t want to drink this thing that resembles the end of a King’s Cup drinking game more than anything else, Lisa convinces him with a quick, “Don’t worry about it. It’s good for you.” And, “If you love me you’ll drink this.” Great!
We couldn’t allow ourselves a full glass of this stuff so we settled for shot glasses.
Their night progresses in precisely the way you would expect, and so must we. Cheers!
This movie is a little bit different than the usual Munch fare in that watching it comes with some interactive rules. A.V. Club has a great list of all of the interactive cues, but here are some of our favorites from our night at Seattle’s Central Cinema, where we watched the film:
- “SPOON!”: Yell the word “spoon” at the top of your lungs whenever you see artwork that features spoons or other cutlery on screen while simultaneously tossing handfuls of plastic spoons towards the screen.
- “Greg Sestero” *clap* *clap* *clapclapclap*: Chant the actor Greg Sestero’s name whenever his character, Mark, appears on screen.
- “HI DENNY” / “BYE DENNY”: Yell hello or goodbye to Denny each time he comes and goes from scenes.
- “Go, go, go, go, go!”: Chant whenever a shot tracks across the Golden Gate bridge (this happens more than you might expect).
- Clap: Clap along with the beat of the music during the sexy scenes.
- “YOU’RE TEARING ME APART LISA”: Yell this line with vigor along with Johnny.
- “Errroungh, errroungh, erroungh”: Make awkward sounds whenever people start making out
There isn’t much of a plot to discuss, but we’ll give you the basics to provide some context for the rest of Brenden’s review. The movie follows the story of Johnny, played by Tommy Wiseau himself, and his “future wife” Lisa. Lisa stays at home all day, gets bored, and stirs up some trouble. There’s an elderly pug involved at some point, a drug dealer on a roof, lots of terrible decisions, and an overly dramatic ending. Now, on with the show.
In a CNN interview, Tommy is asked about the meaning of the many spoons that appear in artwork on set. In his rambling answer he talks about the history of spoons (which he is apparently quite familiar with because he’s studied psychology) and how they represent human progress (or something), and how that, in turn, is just one part of the movie that connects the audience members together. What the hell? Anyway, he’s right in a sense. The best thing about The Room is the fact that its cult following has spawned insanely fun interactive screenings all across the country. Watching this movie honestly would not have been as fun without our trip to the theater to throw spoons at the silver screen.
Also, Tommy has a killer accent that we couldn’t get enough of.
How poorly produced is this movie? Let me count the ways.
- Random plot line introductions and abandonments
- Bad, porno-esque music selection
- Blatantly reusing clips multiple times across sex scenes as if no one would notice
- Forgetting to include ambient music referenced in the script
- Playing football in tuxedos for what apparently turns out to be no reason at all
- Playing football in such confined spaces
- Does Johnny know how to properly have sex?
- The front door is a magical portal to other parts of the house
- Lots of misogyny
- Adding important characters in the third act with no introduction at all
- Under-reacting: there’s no way, “don’t worry about it” was an appropriate response from Lisa when her mother reveals that she “definitely has breast cancer”
- Not actually getting any closure on the mother’s battle with breast cancer until we discovered Tommy’s AMA (to our delight and confusion)
- Lazy cinematography featuring cliche San Francisco grounding shots – at least 4 or more shots of the Golden gate bridge and at least two shots of a streetcar – and a poor mastery of focus
- Wiseau’s weird lumpy body (and bare butt) that he flaunted far too many times
- Did we mention the film has a persistent misogynistic undertone?
In case you missed our point… This is really not a good movie. It’s enjoyable if viewed with a good group of friends in a theater that allows you to yell and throw things. Take from that what you will.
Brenden: On a scale of best-worst movie ever to worst-best movie ever I have to settle with the former. I feel that films of the worst-best movie ever category are mostly reserved for big-budget flops or anything by M. Night Shyamalan. Since The Room is neither of those, it solidly lands in the best-worst category. But can you imagine the twist at the end of an M. Night Shyamalan-directed version of The Room?
Andre: 5/5 spoons. This was just the right kind of bad movie for me in that it invites you to laugh rather than groan. I haven’t had this much fun watching a movie since Con Air, and let me tell you, Con Air set the bar pretty damn high. Also, watching The Room at Central Cinema was just perfect. We had plenty of beer to fuel our experience and plenty of heckling from the audience to pull you out of the movie and keep you from sliding into that special kind of depression that often accompanies bad movies. I fully intend on attending another The Room viewing as soon as possible.
Leanna: On a scale of playing football in tuxedos in an alley to eating chocolate truffles in someone else’s home, the experience of watching The Room angled more towards the latter. If I had to watch this movie in the quiet solitude of my apartment, I might feel otherwise, but the viewing experience at Central Cinema really saved the day. It’s a truly dreadful movie, and should only be watched in the safety of a theater that provides all of the necessary provisions (beer, spoons, an engaged crowd, and more beer). Also, just a free piece of advice for you because I’m feeling generous: No matter what Tommy tells you, do not under any circumstances watch his new Hulu series The Neighbors. If you thought The Room was the low point in his career, think again. You’ve been warned.
Ben: For my own sake, I will separate my review in two parts: the experience, and the cinematic product. The experience: 70%. For a 21st century version of what you experience at the Rocky Horror Picture Show, The Room is a good time. It is fun to throw spoons in random directions, it is fun to to yell and shout during the film, and the experience of viewing The Room with a crowd greatly improves the cinematic experience. As far as the cinematic product though I can’t, in good conscience, give it more than 5%. The film has a lot of dead ends, and it may honestly be better presented in a theatrical format. The Room is inane, overdramatic, weighed down by odd misogynistic undertones, and ultimately has the emotional depth of a twitter post.