For those reading this and wondering what “The Room” is, I pity you. The film follows a sad young couple as their relationship falls apart, but that’s not really important. What is important is that it is hilariously awful, so much so that it has gained a massive cult following across the nation. Film junkies everywhere gather at midnight to laugh, yell and throw spoons.
Of course, midnight showings can be rather intimidating for the uninitiated. One does not want to pull a social faux pas and feel out of place. In order to help, here are five tips to getting the most out of the worst.
1. Don’t try to understand the movie
Attempting to understand the story and the characters in “The Room” is a completely futile idea. Like finding the meaning of life and reading “50 Shades of Grey,” there are just certain things the human mind was not meant to do.
Characters in “The Room” enter into places for no reason and act in ways no sane human being would. Conversations repeat themselves ad nauseam, often introducing plot elements that will never be mentioned again. For instance, one character says she has cancer. The fact that no one is alarmed by this announcement is almost as strange as how the cancer magically cures itself and is never discussed again.
As long as you know the basic plot elements (“a couple is having issues” is good enough), it’s for the best to neglect ideas like consistency and reality. The creators certainly did, and on that topic…
2. Meet the creators
Both Friday and Saturday night, star/writer/director/producer Tommy Wiseau and co-star Greg Sestero will be present for showings at the Oriental Theater. I got the pleasure of meeting the two and snagging a photo in Milwaukee a few years back. It was a surreal experience; I remember taking the photo, some very quick small talk and Wiseau wearing several belts with his sagged pants. I’d say it was strange, but considering his film, it almost seems in character.
Thankfully, the two seem to have embraced the film’s ridiculousness (it was originally sold as “a film with the passion of Tennessee Williams” but is now a “dark comedy”), so there’s no reason to be afraid of being friendly or busting out some favorite quotes and poses. It might even become your new Christmas card photo.
3. Marvel at the Oriental Theater
The Oriental Theater, built in 1927, is my favorite location in all of Milwaukee. Yeah, I might be biased because it also shows movies, but it is gorgeous. Sometimes it is even better than the movie you’re watching. If you haven’t gotten a chance to get down to the historic cinema landmark, “The Room” would be a great excuse. It’s the perfectly unique setting for a perfectly unique movie experience.
4. Know your catchphrases
As with most classic midnight movies, there are a few catchphrases and key lines to know. The most notorious line is “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!”, a moment that manages to be emotional and unemotional at the same time. Feel free to yell the line with the character; the rest of the crowd certainly will.
There are other important moments as well. For instance, every time Wiseau does a useless pan across the Golden Gate Bridge, chant “Go! Go! Go!”. Slow claps are also more than acceptable during any of “The Room’s” many sex scenes.
Props also make several appearances in the audience during Wiseau’s accidental masterpiece. The most famous props are spoons, which are to be thrown whenever a random photo of a spoon in seen in the background. The Oriental kindly provides plastic spoons, but they are limited. Plus, the spoon photo makes several appearances, so it might be in your best interest to buy your own pack for throwing (don’t bring metal spoons unless you want to lose friends).
A football is also a nice prop to bring for the characters’ few awkward games of catch.
There are a few websites where one can find more lines and phrases where audience participation is more than welcome. However, the important thing to remember is…
5. Yell whatever you like
Really, “The Room” is like a comic free-for-all. If a funny thought comes into your head, feel free to share it with your friends and all of the people around you. No one is watching the movie for the acting or the story, so have a field day. Chant “USA!” at awkwardly inappropriate times. Yell “Falcon Punch!” whenever a lame fist fight breaks out.
There’s no end to the comedic hijinks. That is, unless you start losing your voice two-thirds of the way through the movie. In that case, your personal contributions may stop, but the fun certainly won’t.