Oh hai,Describe The Room Here!The Room is a 2003 film by an unlikely filmmaker named Tommy Wiseau. It is ostensibly about a man, Johnny, played by Wiseau, tortured by the betrayal of his fiancée Lisa and his best friend, Mark, who are having an affair.It was made on a budget of $6 million; in spite of this, the only major locales are the eponymous room, a different room, and a rooftop, punctuated with Stock Footage establishing shots of San Francisco to spice things up and a 19-second scene in a flower shop.A lion's share of the money went into the production itself, as Wiseau decided to shoot the film in both 35 mm film and HD video side-by-side. The film was theatrically released only in Los Angeles. It was advertised by a vague billboard consisting entirely of Wiseau's face staring down at visitors in the area.The Room continues to be screened in L.A. and other cities, becoming a cult phenomenon of sorts. Showings include interactive affairs à la The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which are often accompanied with guests throwing plastic spoons at the film (which has a recurring spoon motif), blurting the film's dialogue back at the characters, tossing footballs (themes of touch football are explored in the film) and dressing up as their favorite character.It was exposed to a national audience for the first time on [adult swim] on April Fools' Day, 2009. Tommy Wiseau was also the focus of a Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! episode which aired immediately after the 2009 showing, causing Adult Swim fans to refer to it as The Tim and Eric Movie. A RiffTrax commentary for the film was released in 2009. The Nostalgia Critic and Obscurus Lupa reviewed it in 2010, and were immediately forced by Wiseau Films to take the reviews down due to non-existent "copyright infringement."note Fortunately, as reviews and parodies are covered by fair use, both were later allowed back up on the website. There is also a flash game tribute to the film here.Two books have been written about the film. In 2013, Greg Sestero (Mark) in cooperation with Tom Bissell wrote The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made, a book detailing not only the making of the film but also his long and troubled friendship with Tommy Wiseau. Philip Haldiman, who played Denny, wrote a comic book called My Big Break, the first of which covers his audition.Not to be confused with Room by Emma Donoghue, The Room by Harold Pinter (which isn't quite as awkward), The Room, a Hubert Selby Jr. novel, The Room, a college film by Doug Walker, and definitely not with Silent Hill4: The Room (although a crossover between them would rule).
The film provides examples of:
Aborted Arc: The film is mostly made out of these. Denny's drug problem and his debt to Chris R, Claudette's breast cancer and mortgage, Peter and Mark's feud, etc. According to Greg Sestero, Claudette's actress did ask Wiseau several times whether the breast cancer would come up again, only to be told that "It's a twist" and eventually just going along with it.
Denny seems completely ignorant of social norms and generally acts much younger than his apparent age, at one point leaping into bed with Johnny and Lisa as they are about to have sex. In an interview, director Tommy Wiseau admitted that Denny is "retarded, a little bit", but the actor was never informed of this.
Lisa to a lesser degree. She shows many sociopathic tendencies but none of them are specific to any known disorder. The movie leaves it ambiguous if she actually does have some kind of social disorder or if her behavior is the result of her mother's morally dodgy advice and parenting, though Peter seems to think it's the former.
Ate His Gun: Johnny ends up doing this at the end of the movie.
Artistic License - Law: The drug dealer is never actually charged with anything, yet Tommy and Mark "take him to jail" in about four minutes.
Cinema Sins: Sure, the police just accept anyone you say needs to be in jail.
Audience Participation: At Rocky Horror Picture Show-style screenings, audiences are actively encouraged to vocally express their abject revulsion, even by Wiseau himself. This includes hurling of plastic spoons and impromptu games of football starting in the aisles each time a similarly incomprehensible football game starts on screen.
Tommy Wiseau enjoys Cinemax-style love scenes set to cheesy R&B, as there are several.
When asked in the DVD director's interview why there are so many scenes of characters playing catch with a football, Wiseau simply responds that football is fun.
Author Tract: Cast members have alleged that Lisa represents what Wiseau thinks of women.
Mark: Oh man, I just can't figure women out. Sometimes they're just too smart. Sometimes they're just flat-out stupid. Other times they're just evil.
Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Lisa. As the movie goes on it's implied that this is the result of Claudette's parental advice, which becomes increasingly immoral throughout the film. At one point Peter suspects that she's a sociopath of some form.
Catfight: One of the very rare male varieties between Johnny and Mark. Seriously, when they come to blow they seem to just slap limply at each other.
Catchphrase: One of the film's major themes is the constant repetition of a certain few lines of dialogue by various characters. They include:
"O hai, X!" This is used by all characters, and in such a way that they all seem constantly surprised to see each other.
"Everything will be fine" and "Don't worry about it". For some reason, no one really wants to confront the seriousness of anything that's going on in the story, from doomed marriages to cancer.
"It's an awkward situation."
Various characters state that Mark is Johnny's best friend.
Johnny is a wonderful person.
Various characters remark that Lisa is so beautiful.
"[She is/You are] my future wife."
"Thaatz the eyedeeah!" Wiseau loves saying this in his trademark heavy accent.
"You owe me one."
"Let's go hooome."
"I don't wanna talk about it."
Mark repeats "What's going on?" every time Lisa tries to sleep with him.
Character Development: Mostly averted. The only characters who change during the film are Denny, who comes to terms with his feelings for Lisa via a "heartfelt" conversation with Johnny, and Lisa herself, who becomes more and more unpleasant as time goes on, eventually flaunting her affair and making up a pregnancy to needle Johnny. Mark shaves his beard at one point, and the same amount of attention is paid to this as many an Important Haircut... but it doesn't mean anything. AT. ALL.
Lisa is consistently described as being incredibly beautiful. Her actress isn't ugly, mind you, but it comes off as somewhat over-the-top for someone who would be Hollywood Homely in a more mainstream film. See Informed Attractiveness below.
Johnny gets this, in spades. Everyone except Chris-R seems to praise him in the film to the point that very few scenes go by without him being praised.
Comically Missing the Point: Johnny manages to take so long to work out Mark and Lisa are having an affair that even when he walks in on them slow dancing and stroking each other he still doesn't get it straight away.
Mark: I have a girl, I mean, she's very attractive, she's getting married, it's driving me crazy.
Johnny: Can I meet her?
Mark: I don't think so. It's... it's an awkward situation.
Johnny: You mean she's too old, or you think I will take her away from you?
Consolation Backfire: After Johnny's suicide, Lisa, leaning against Mark, sobs, "Johnny's dead, but I still have you, right?" This is a little too soon after Johnny's death for Mark (they're standing over his corpse), and he recoils in disgust, saying that she doesn't "have him".
Lisa: I lost him, but I still have you, right? Right?
Mark: You don't have me. You'll NEVER have me.
Lisa: Mark, we're free to be together. I love you.
Despair Event Horizon: "It's not over! Everybody betrayed me! I fed up with this world (pronounced as wirruld)!"
Double Standard: Mark continually blames Lisa for seducing him and betraying his best friend Johnny. Everyone else seems to feel the blame falls solely on Lisa, as well.
Downer Ending: Johnny discovers Lisa's affair, ransacks his own apartment and kills himself. The film ends with Lisa, Mark, and Denny variously screaming at each other and crying. We can assume that both Denny and Lisa are likely doomed, because Johnny was paying their bills. Really the only bright spot in the ending is that Lisa gets her comeuppeance and according to Word of God Claudette overcomes her cancer.
Dramatic Irony: Johnny kindly (and very suddenly) sets aside his anger over Lisa's false accusation of domestic violence to lend a sympathetic ear to Mark as he talks about his girl problems. Johnny hasn't a clue that the girl Mark mentions he's seeing is Lisa.
Johnny: I did not hit her. It's not true. It's bullshit. I did not hit her. I did NAHT... (beat) O hai Mark!
Driven to Suicide: Johnny kills himself because Lisa has been horrible to him but is still relying on him for cash, whilst cheating on him with his best friend. He finds all this out on his BIRTHDAY!
Oh hi, gun barrel!
Drugs Are Bad: Denny almost gets killed by Chris-R because of his "drug money". Later, Mark attempts to kill Peter while high on marijuana.
Easily Forgiven: Mark nearly shoves Peter over the edge of the roof and is forgiven almost instantly.
Evil Matriarch: Lisa's mother guiltlessly, but only occasionally, insists that Lisa take advantage of Johnny for financial reasons, as she seems to have done with her previous husbands. She gets in on the action by trying to bilk the down payment on a house out of Johnny. She has a tendency to touch her finger to Lisa's nose in an awkward facsimile of maternal tenderness.
Filk Song: Tommy Wiseau's The Room rap by The Brooklyn Doctors.
Flat Character: Due to a lack of characterization and an abundance of bad writing, very few, if any, characters have any effective personality traits or Character Development that make them well-rounded characters. Greg Sestero personally described Mark as a character "without a head or tail".
Flowers Of Romance: Johnny buys flowers for Lisa (roses, to be precise), since they're engaged and he cares about making her happy. Said flowers are also present in their sex and make-out scenes.
For the Evulz: Lisa is originally just interested in Johnny's cash, but after a while she starts to flaunt her affair with Mark, and lies to Johnny about being pregnant just to "make things interesting".
Four-Temperament Ensemble: Tommy (Melancholic), Lisa (Choleric), Mark (Phlegmatic), and Denny (Sanguine) actually do a great job of showing off the negative aspects of their respective temperaments
Funny Foreigner: Johnny, and Tommy Wiseau himself, unintentionally. Obscurus Lupa described Wiseau as "the French Borat, if he didn't know he was the French Borat", while IFC.com described his voice in the film as "Borat trying to do an impression of Christopher Walken playing a mental patient." Made even funnier because in Real Life Tommy Wiseau claims to be from New Orleans. (Love that French Quarter accent!)
Gangsta Style: Like any good movie gangsta, Chris-R holds his gun sideways.
Johnny to Mark: "Don't touch me, mothafawker. Get out!"
And then after Lisa is gone: "Get out. Get out! GET OUT OFF MY LIIIIIFE!"
And then Denny to Lisa and Mark after Johnny dies: "Leave us! Just leave! Both of you!"
Gonk: Johnny. Seriously, just look at the picture above.
Hammerspace: Continuity problems often cause characters to suddenly gain and lose objects between cuts.
Denny loses his apple after walking up the stairs to jump on Johnny's and Lisa's bed.
Lisa suddenly produces a vase for Johnny's flowers.
After overhearing Lisa tell her mother about her affair, Johnny walks immediately over to his phone and sets down a tape recorder he wasn't carrying so he can hook it up to the phone.
After cajoling Johnny into drinking with her, Lisa reenters the room from the entrance, carrying two glasses and a bottle of vodka.
In the original script, a scene opens with Lisa talking to Claudette on the phone and ends with her walking Claudette to the door, meaning Lisa pulled her mother out of Hammerspace.
Happy Birthday to You: This otherwise low budget movie apparently sprang for the rights to use this song. Or maybe just took a gamble on it, because it's not listed in the credits (as most movies do).
Heel-Face Revolving Door: Mark and Lisa keep seeming to change between intended sympathetic characters and Jerkasses, Lisa in particular. Also, Lisa' friend Michelle. Is she supportive of Lisa cheating on Johnny or not? Make up your mind, Wiseau!
Idealized Sex: During the first sex scene, Johnny is so high up on Lisa it looks as though he is having sex with her belly button. Nevertheless, from the cheesy music and the rose petals everywhere, it's clear that it's meant to be a wonderful romantic, erotic moment.
I Have This Friend: Invoked verbatim by Mark during this rooftop scene with Johnny about infidelity.
I'll Kill You!: "I KILL YOU I BREAK EVERY BONE IN YOUR BODY! I KILL YOU YOU BASTURD!"
Important Haircut: Some attention is given to Mark shaving his beard off partway through the film, although it's not at all clear what, if anything, this is supposed to signify. Given that, after that point he appears to accept his affair with Lisa after complete and utter confusion each time she lures him into sex, it could be argued that Mark's beard was a subversion of Beard of Evil. Taking it away makes him more jerkass.
Johnny is supposed to be an excellent banker, despite his limited English and vampiric appearance.
Lisa says she's in "the computer business", whatever that means, but is never shown doing anything resembling work. On the other hand, she's also supposedly unable to support herself. At one point she kicks out Claudette because she says a client is coming over. This was possibly inserted as justification for how she can have a job and yet spend all day lounging around the apartment.
Lisa is frequently referred to as being beautiful and sexy. Most fans think she doesn't quite live up the praise (and honestly, her personality doesn't help). She's not unattractive at all, it's that the movie goes on and on about how beautiful and sexy she is with almost every male character making a remark about it. This is particularly hilarious at the party, when a nameless character comments that "Lisa looks hot tonight". This is his only line in the entire film, except yelling "Surprise!" in unison with everyone else when Johnny comes home. Greg Sestero has noted that the costuming, makeup, and lighting were working against her, too. Apparently a dozen or so Lisas filmed scenes before either being fired by Wiseau or quitting in disgust, so the lines referring to her beauty may have stayed the same while the appearance of the character changed from Wiseau's original vision of what he described as an "Angelika Jolie" type.
It Is Pronounced Tro-PAY: It's Tommy whiz-oh, not wass-oh. Though, at a midnight screening that Tommy attended, he referred to himself as "waz-oh".
Karma Houdini: For some reason, Mark is blameless when Lisa cheats on Johnny with him — all four times. When Johnny commits suicide, Mark is indignant at her. It takes two to tango, and he tangoed four times knowingly with his best friend's steady girlfriend and fiancée. His disgust at the very end of the film actually made sense because Lisa was actually coming on to him OVER JOHNNY'S CORPSE. His reaction could be seen as a My God, What Have I Done? moment.
Kubrick Stare: The official poster. The fact Wiseau is slightly cross-eyed makes it less than threatening, though still kind of creepy.
Probably unintentionally. When Claudette discovers Mike and Michelle, who are introduced as they inexplicably come into the apartment to make out and eat chocolate, she asks, "What are these characters doing here?" The audience is probably wondering the exact same thing.
Peter's final scene before vanishing out of the film is the tuxedo football game in the alley. When he falls over he makes a disgusted face into the camera and says "That's it, I'm done".
In a more literal example, when Johnny knocks over a picture frame in the movie's final scenes, it falls toward the screen and lands on the camera.
Locked In The Bathroom: Johnny locks himself in the bathroom after his birthday party when he discovers his girlfriend and best friend have been having an affair.
Looping Lines: Constantly. Most of Johnny's dialogue was obviously dubbed over in post. This may explain some of his more notorious line readings.
May I Borrow a Cup of Sugar?: Denny comes over to borrow exactly this (plus a few other items). Getting him into the scene accomplishes nothing.
Mean Character, Nice Actor: Despite their characters' awful behavior, Greg Sestero (Mark) and Juliette Danielle (Lisa) have been known to be quite friendly and polite to fans and critics alike and have a great sense of humor about the filmnote As well as the fact that they, as well as the other actors (barring Wiseau) from the film, including Dan Janjigian (Chris-R) LOVE the review done by The Nostalgia Critic. . Meanwhile, Tommy, depending on when you encounter him, can be seen as being on the other side of the spectrum...
Melodrama: Ostensibly, although in spite of all the terrible things in the film, such as drug addiction, cancer and infidelity, it's only at the end that anyone seems really bothered by anything that's happened.
The Messiah: Johnny pays Denny's tuition and rent, lavishes his girlfriend with gifts, brings in lots of clients to his bank, and just cares so much about everybody. Everyone praises Johnny, even those who betray him.
Mood Whiplash: Thanks to Wiseau's dialogue and direction, viewers are never sure where a scene is going. The best example of this is: "I did not hit her! It's not true! It's bullshit, I did not hit her! I did NAAHHT!... Oh, hi Mark!"
Mr. Fanservice: The actor who plays Mark, Greg Sestero, is called "Sestosterone" for a reason. He is—let's face it—a very handsome man. He worked as a model for Gucci and Ferré before starting his acting career.
Never My Fault: Mark refuses to take responsibility for Johnny's suicide, instead putting all the blame on Lisa.
Nipple and Dimed: Shockingly averted, there are quite a few lingering shots of Lisa's breasts, including the nipples.
Also Lisa is in "the computer business" which could mean anything.
All we learn about Mark's job is that he's making some good money (see above). The first time Lisa calls him, he says he's busy, though whether that has anything to do with his job is ambiguous. Especially as when he says this, he's sitting in a parked car, in casual dress. For all we know, he's waiting for his pot dealer.
Wiseau himself. Nobody's sure exactly how he financed this movie.
Oblivious to Love: You'd think that Mark would sort of get the hint as to what Lisa wants from him the third time he is unwittingly seduced by her.
One-Hour Work Week: Johnny comes from work, then apparently never goes back again, given that he spends day after day playing with Mark and Denny. Maybe that was meant to be a weekend.
One Steve Limit: Just an odd example of laziness: the couple found having sex in the apartment are "Mike" and "Michelle", which are the same name, just masculine and feminine. Also, Mark and Denny's never-seen girlfriends are named Betty and Elizabeth, respectively. Betty is a nickname for Elizabeth. And so is Lisa.
Only One Name: Everybody. The closest thing to a last name in the film is "Chris-R."
Only Sane Man: Peter is the only one who hesitates to play football in a tuxedo. He also points out how manipulative and two-faced Lisa is and tries to stop Mark from doing drugs, which would only aggravate the situation even further. Moreover, he tells Mark to take responsibility for his affair with Lisa and to stop seeing her. Given that he's a psychologist, it's not all that surprising that he is the only person with common sense.
Parody Retcon: The director and star claimed his film was actually a "black comedy" after it became the So Bad, It's Good hit of 2003. Trailers were even hastily edited to reflect this. No one was fooled, except maybe Wiseau. The rest of the cast and the script supervisor knew exactly what they were making.
Passed Over Promotion: Johnny's failure to be promoted can be interpreted as what inspires Lisa to begin the affair in earnest.
Please Wake Up: Both Mark and Denny say this to Johnny, after his suicide.
Real Life Writes the Plot: Greg Sestero's book reveals what many of us has always suspected: large portions of the movie (such as a cheating fiancée, the bank being unwilling to cash a check from out of state, and a few of the "weirdos" encountered at the Bay To Breakers run) are based on things that happened to Tommy Wiseau.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: Mark and Johnny in one of the rooftop scenes, though this was almost certainly unintentional. It's also inverted, as Mark (wearing a red T-shirt) is considerably calmer than Johnny (wearing a blue jacket) during this scene.
Red String of Fate: In the beginning of the movie, Johnny gives Lisa a red dress. At the end of the movie, after finding out she's cheating on him, he angrily tears it apart. Almost certainly unintentional.
Remember the New Guy: A really lazy example. With about 20 minutes left in the movie, a new character, Steven (whose name is mentioned only in the credits) suddenly appears and becomes deeply involved in the plot. Presumably, we're not supposed to notice that he suddenly appeared from nowhere without an introduction. Word of God is that Steven is supposed to be a replacement for the psychologist character Peter (whose actor left the production), but the audience is given no hint of this; indeed, Steven looks nothing like Peter.
Sharp-Dressed Man: Johnny, Mark, Denny, and Peter in the scene where they're all wearing tuxedos for no adequately explained reason.note It's implied that they're posing for wedding photos, but that explanation only raises more questions.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A particularly lazy example. The actor playing Peter the psychiatrist had to leave production for another gig, and his scenes weren't done by the deadline (Wiseau had prioritized the "football in tuxes" scene over the scenes at the birthday party), so Wiseau went out and cast a new actor to play Peter, then changed the name of the character to Steven, then ditched the suit-and-glasses look for the character so that Steven becomes a random friend who shows up for the last 19 minutes of the movie with no introduction and delivers an impassioned, if hammy, performance as though he's already deeply invested in what's going on. It probably would have made more sense to give those lines to an already-established character, such as Mike. The flash game mocks this by having Peter get run over on the way to the party by Chris-R, having just carjacked Johnny.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: During Mark's "do you think girls have affairs" dialog with Johnny, it's painfully obvious that Mark is asking Johnny if he knows his girlfriend is having an affair with him. He denies it has anything to do with himself and is just about "a friend".
Trailers Always Spoil: The 2 minute long trailer (included on the DVD/Blu-ray) spoils pretty much every plot twist in the entire movie except for Johnny's suicide. And if that were the weirdest thing about it...
Trivial Title: The action doesn't all happen in one room, and there's nothing special about Johnny's living room or bedroom, or about any other rooms featured in the movie.
Unexplained Accent: Johnny has a thick accent, vaguely French or Eastern European, yet no one ever mentions it or where Johnny came from. The closest Johnny comes is recalling when he arrived in San Francisco, and problems with cashing a cheque from an out-of-state bank. The accent is unexplained in real life too. Wiseau makes contradictory claims to be from either France or New Orleans, though the letter W is fairly uncommon in the French language so it's unlikely that Wiseau is a real French name. It seems more like a bad approximation of the word "Oiseau" ("bird" in French).
According to Greg Sestero's book, Tommy (originally named something else starting with a T) was born in Eastern Europe, immigrated to France and from there moved to New Orleans, then called Pierre. After moving to San Fransisco, he began selling toy birds on the docks, and eventually got the nickname Birdman. He had his name legally changed to Tommy Wiseau, Oiseau being (as above) the French word for Bird, with the first letter changed to W as tribute to his original last name... whatever that was. It must, however, be stressed that in the book, Greg mentions that the stories of Tommy's past tend to change and contradict themselves, so the version in the book should still be taken with a quite large grain of salt.
Updated Re-release: Tommy Wiseau is working on converting the film to 3D for theatrical release in 2012. Oh hi, 3rd dimension!
Voodoo Shark: The drug dealer scene, which apparently exists only to give Johnny a gun, raises far more questions than it answers. Why does the adopted child of a millionaire banker who funds his every whim need to sell drugs to make ends meet? If the dealer's going to jail, why don't the police need his gun for evidence? Why the hell didn't Mark just get rid of it if they didn't? And why couldn't Johnny simply have had a gun, given his (presumed) ability to legally own one? Especially ridiculous because Wiseau originally wanted the scene to have a dramatic shot of the gun falling off the rooftop, so even the one storytelling function the scene does have may be accidental.
Lisa's mom casually mentions her cancer to her dismissive daughter early in the movie, but it is never mentioned again and the mom becomes preoccupied with other, more trivial matters.
The drug subplot vanishes immediately after the scene ends, seemingly serving only to introduce the gun, although see Voodoo Shark as to why even this is suspect.
The four main male characters all dress up in tuxedos to take wedding photos, but promptly abandon that notion to play a game of catch in the street.
Peter finds out about Mark and Lisa's affair, but the only scene that Peter appears in after that is another pointless football scene, so nothing ever comes of it. This is partly an instance of Real Life Writes the Plot, though, since Peter's actor, Kyle Vogt, had to leave production before his scenes were finished, hence the sudden introduction of Steven at the party.
Lisa already ordered a pizza. It's at least on the table... even though it's not the one Lisa ordered. (Half Canadian bacon with pineapple, half artichoke with pesto and light on the cheese. The one we see is a plain cheese pizza.)
What the Hell Is That Accent?: Wiseau uses his own accent, which defies identification. He claims to be from New Orleans and spent his early life in France, but it's nothing like either onenote A redditor argues plausibly that Wiseau is from Poland.. Again, it's doubtful Wiseau is really French because the French don't naturally have "W"'s in their words and names.
Wimp Fight: Mark and Johnny's "fight" on Johnny's birthday party is basically this, and Johnny's bad chicken imitations undermine what (very) little drama there is left.