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YMMV / The Room

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  • Accidental Aesop: As pointed out by the leftist YouTuber H.Bomberguy, the film actually works very well as a statement on how bad relationships can warp your perceptions. Lisa's depiction as a manipulative, gold-digging harpy and Johnny's as an Ideal Hero suffering from the senseless betrayals and lies of everyone around him, is not at all different from how many people feel about their exes and themselves after a bad breakup. That the story is infamously silly just reveals the worldview is similarly so.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The uneven moods, non sequiturs and inconsistencies leave this wide open for most of the characters.
    • Johnny is actually a pretty decent (though almost certainly unintentional) depiction of somebody on the autistic spectrumlaughing at inappropriate moments, naïvely trusting of those around him, No Social Skills but not without compassion, nice but boring to be around, messily dressed, doesn't have a clue how to deal with liars... The more unusual thing is that nobody in the film comments on it, though granted they would have known him for a while by now.
    • Denny is, supposedly, an intelligent if slightly naïve boy about to head off to university but given his actual behaviour — following a couple upstairs and jumping into their bed mid-foreplay, hitting on Johnny's fiancée and then telling Johnny, selling drugs when he's the surrogate son of a banker — even Wiseau himself admits the film makes more sense if you assume Denny has quite severe socialization and learning difficulties.
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    • Alternatively, it also makes sense if you consider Denny to be a budding, manipulative sociopath taking advantage of the kindness of two naïve older friends (who, it should be noted, don't seem to mind things like Denny jumping into their bed mid-foreplay) and stirring up trouble for fun and profit.
    • Since Lisa keeps switching between intended sympathy and total bitchiness, one is left to wonder whether she actually might have a legitimate reason to cheat on Johnny with Mark that she hides behind the For the Evulz reasoning, or if she's just The Sociopath some other characters accuse her of being, especially since Johnny is the textbook case of a "Nice Guy".
    • Mark seems to change his personality during the pot-smoking scene as often as the man who is alternately rude and polite from Monty Python's Flying Circus. A lot of Mark's behavior seems to make more sense if you assume that the rooftop confrontation with Peter is not the only time he's high onscreen.
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    • The scene in which Mark tells Johnny a story about a woman that was physically assaulted by one of the "many" men she was seeing seems oddly sketchy if you pay close attention to Mark's facial expressions as he tells the story. Mark can clearly be seen slightly smiling after saying "she ended up in a hospital on Guerrero Street". His situation behind the break-up with the "unseen" Betty character also seem to be very suspicious after hearing this story out. Lastly, when Mark tells Lisa to get out of his life following Johnny's suicide he proceeds to hit her in far harder fashion than Johnny is accused of.
      • Greg's book makes clear that the bit about 'Guerrero Street' is an improv, because it's where Tommy Wiseau lived at the time (he didn't want anyone to know). Greg is laughing because of how he's pissing Tommy off. As he further goes on to point out, Tommy actually used this take in the movie because he couldn't be bothered to do another.
      • When Johnny laughs at Mark's story, it might not be because he thinks it's funny, but because he thinks Mark is making it up, hence him saying "What a story, Mark!" The Disaster Artist seems to contradict this interpretation, since Tommy Wiseau had to be told he shouldn't laugh at domestic abuse.
    • Claudette's dialogue makes much more sense if you assume she's a drama queen and an Attention Whore - traits that clearly run in the family. If, as she claims, "nobody listens" to her, this is probably not the first time she's made up something like breast cancer, hence Lisa's calm reaction.
    • Some fans have a rather dark interpretation of Johnny and Denny's relationship, specifically pointing out Denny's rather odd choice of words after Johnny's suicide. After he, Lisa and Mark all find out what happened, Denny immediately turns to them and yells "Leave us!"... even though he's a guest in someone else's house. Um... why was he so eager to be left alone with Johnny's corpse?
    • Depending on how you interpret Denny's line "I just like to watch you guys", it could be taken as an indication that he has, in fact, watched Johnny and Lisa have sex at some point and that Johnny and Lisa were previously okay with this. If this is the case, it goes a long way toward explaining why Denny doesn't hesitate to follow Johnny and Lisa into their bedroom and why they don't bat an eye at him doing this.
    • Since Steven's name is never mentioned in the film and he's never given any notable character traits to set him apart, some fans interpret him as simply being Peter played by a different actor rather than an actual individual.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
  • Awesome Music:
    • The opening theme, which is surprisingly good.
    • The original theme, which was rejected for being too dark. Even if you agree that it doesn't fit the movie, the music itself is beautiful.
    • This fanmade song, "Leave", by Allie Goertz. She achieved the unthinkable – taking the (primary) story of the film, along with some of the most infamous lines such as "Oh hi, Mark" and "What a story, Mark!" and putting them into a genuinely heartfelt context. The awesome factor is doubled in that she managed to have Greg Sestero co-star in it. In the description, instead of mocking Tommy for what he made, she appreciates the human element of the film in that he put his whole heart into it. Even with how disastrously-made the film is, that's definitely better and more respectable than films produced without love or care or any redeeming factors.
    • "I Will" is pretty good too, for a cheesy love song.
    • Pretty much the entire soundtrack is pretty good. It's rumored that this was the only part of the film Wiseau had no control over.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Lisa's mother, Claudette. Some view her as The Scrappy for her repetitiveness and bitchiness, and others tolerate her because her actress actually gives a shit, and she often comes off as one of the few voices of reason complaining about how stupid the plot is and questioning things that the viewers are likely wondering themselves.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The guys playing football in tuxedos. The scene has no significance to the rest of the movie.
    • Claudette saying she has breast cancer. Not only does she announce it in a remarkably nonchalant manner, but it does nothing to the plot, and even Lisa herself seems unfazed by the news.
  • Bile Fascination: Most likely the reason this is so popular; people have watched it just to see if it's that hilariously bad, and most of them weren't disappointed.
  • Broken Base: The audience participation in most live screenings. People either think it adds to the fun and helps bring attention to some of the subtler ridiculous moments (like the stock photo of the spoon framed in Johnny's apartment), or it's an irritating ploy to push the film's meme status and actually takes away from the fun, as some of the stupidest moments in the movie are drowned out by the audience.
  • Captain Obvious Aesop: Wiseau claims the message of the film is "If a lot of people love each other, the world would be a better place to live." Considering he says this in the context of Denny confessing his love for Lisa, it's also a Broken Aesop.
  • Critical Research Failure: How amateurish was Wiseau's production? He listed a "second unit" cast, for the on-location shots. That's right — he not only doubled the credits (Tommy gets listed again as Johnny, Greg gets listed again as Mark, and so on), but second unit personnel are crew not cast, and on-location shots used in the film are not second unit. They're production.
  • Cult Classic: The Room continues to be screened in L.A. and other cities to this day, thanks to becoming a cult phenomenon. Not really surprising given how fascinatingly bizarre it is. Tommy Wiseau himself comes to these screenings to discuss the making of the film, though he does not reveal much...
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Johnny is a borderline incomprehensible and weird person who finds stories about domestic abuse funny, Lisa is incredibly stupid and/or callous, Mark is a douchebag and an idiot, and Denny has drug problems and a very creepy relationship with Johnny and Lisa. The writing and acting don't help, either. Some of the supporting cast aren't much better; Claudette is a sexist Gold Digger who wants Lisa to follow in her footsteps, Chris-R is a violent drug dealer who holds Denny at gunpoint, Mike does absolutely nothing plot relevant, Peter (the Only Sane Man) goes missing halfway through the film, and Steven just casually saunters into the plot in the last twenty minutes and acts as if we have any idea who he is. Michelle is the Only Sane Man who actually bothers to stick around for the duration of the film, and that isn't enough to prevent Johnny's suicide. It is certainly one of the most bleak movies from The Noughties (and one of the funniest as a result).
  • Designated Hero:
    • Mark, who puts all of the blame for his affair and Johnny's suicide on Lisa despite being equally at fault (at least if the latter didn't make him realize it), and both Peter and the film itself seem to agree with him. Mark also tries to murder Peter at one point, yet neither Peter nor the film itself seems particularly worried by this.
    • Johnny himself is treated as a textbook Nice Guy but some of his bizarre behavior such as laughing at domestic abuse which put someone in a hospital and his covert taping of Lisa to determine if she's having an affair instead of just coming out with his problems could paint him in a more negative light.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Both "Doggie" - the pug that is lovingly referred to as such by Johnny at the flower shop - and Chris-R seem to be considered the best actors in the film, but that is not really saying much.
    • Peter, the psychologist, is this in several circles, giving some solid (and sadly ignored) advice partway through the film, and then disappearing during the finale because of his actor leaving after the filming of the "football in tuxes" scene. His character's last line? "That's it, I'm done." Some people even make him into an Audience Surrogate.
    • Then there's Steven, who effectively replaces Peter, and is an out-of-nowhere character who just begins berating Lisa. RedLetterMedia loved him as he seemed to be an audience member popping into the theater to point out how irrational Lisa and Mark were acting.
  • Fetish Retardant:
    • Tommy Wiseau's naked ass. Excuse the full-body shudder.
      The Nostalgia Critic: Fuck it, movie, fuck it! I-I got a hard enough time watching his acting, you gotta show me his ass?! What the hell?!
      • The reaction by Kevin Murphy of Rifftrax was no less horrified as he tried to stop the film from running.
        Kevin: DISCONNECT! (zap!) DISCONNECT! (zap!) DISCONNECT! (zap!)
    • This goes for all of the love scenes, which are overly-long and cheesy at best and nauseating at worst.
      The Nostalgia Critic (again): Is he fucking her belly button? 'Cause it looks like he's fucking her belly button!
  • Fountain of Memes: The entire movie is full of them, with the vast majority coming from Johnny. Just look at the Memetic Mutation part below for examples.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The Disaster Artist reveals several behind scenes of the film.
    • As utterly pathetic as the Wimp Fight between Johnny and Mark was, Wiseau really was hurting Sestero as by the end of it, the latter had bruises all over his arms and wrists from the former's hands, which have apparent "cyborg-like strength".
    • The reason why Peter was acting kinda dazed and touching things a lot in one scene was because his actor had suffered a concussion and Wiseau wouldn't let him leave for treatment of it.
    • Sestero and any other staffs were uncomfortable about how Wiseau handled the sex scenes, especially his poor treatment of Lisa's actress.
    • In the film itself: Any time someone says "It's going to be fine". It won't.
  • Ham and Cheese:
    • Greg Ellery clearly knew what kind of movie he was in and his melodramatic performance as Steven brings life to the plodding birthday party. In fact, Greg Sestero (Mark) was the one who was responsible for getting him cast as Steven for this specific reason.
    • Scott Holmes (Michelle's boyfriend Mike) spends the entire movie aping Jim Carrey, clearly playing for whatever sympathetic laughs he thinks he might get.
    • According to script supervisor (and possible ghost director) Sandy Schklair, everyone knew full well what kind of movie they were making. Well, everyone except Tommy Wiseau.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Many fans and critics alike suspected that Lisa was a reflection of how Tommy Wiseau viewed women. His behavior towards women, on and off the set, in The Disaster Artist all but confirmed this, and with an implied reason: an unfaithful fiancee that cheated on him several times.
  • He Really Can Act: At the end of the film, Denny pulls off a really heartrending performance when mourning over Johnny's corpse after he commits suicide.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Peter's last line, before he left the film and got replaced with Steven, is "That's it. I'm done."
    • Here's the background for that scene: Kyle Vogt (Peter) had other work at the time, and so could only be involved for so long. However, despite repeatedly reminding Tommy that he had to leave production, they weren't able to finish his scenes and instead of filming the party with Kyle, Tommy insisted on the "football in tuxes" scene. It makes the line even more hilarious in hindsight.
    • Johnny saying "Do you understand life?", followed immediately by a scene in which he says "That's life!"
    • There is now a brand of underwear called "Me Undies." (Warning: NSFW)
    • One of Tommy's dreams was to see The Room win multiple Oscars. Twelve years later, the film Room won Best Actress. And even later on, Room's distributor made a movie about The Room! Even better that said movie got a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination — and "Tommy Wiseau" was nominated for Best Actor!
  • Ho Yay:
    • There's a bit between Johnny and Mark in the beginning, but it's quickly dropped in order to make room for the love triangle plot that drives the rest of the movie.
    • Johnny's reaction to hearing that Mark is dating a married woman could easily be interpreted as jealousy.
    • How about all the attention Johnny lavishes on Denny?
    • Johnny and Mark tossing a football around in the park seems much more romantic than any of their interactions with Lisa, since all they do with her is talk and have sex.
    • And the kiss Mark gives Johnny after his suicide? Possibly the strongest example of all.
  • Hype Backlash: Despite its reputation as the "Best Bad Movie Ever!", some people just see it as a plain bad movie with no merit whatsoever. Others see it as an outright Forced Meme, especially once it started getting compared to The Rocky Horror Picture Show in terms of cult-like popularity and Audience Participation screenings.
  • Memetic Molester: Denny. While he doesn't do anything outwardly malicious and otherwise comes off as a friendly person, he displays some rather strange behaviour. From his uncomfortably close relationship with Johnny and Lisa (especially his "I just like to watch you guys" line), and him outright admitting to Johnny that he has a crush on the much older Lisa, many viewers see him as more perverted than how he was probably intended to come off.
  • Memetic Mutation: This may be one of the most quotable films of the Turn of the Millennium.
    • You are tearing me apart, Lisa!
    • What a story, Mark!
    • Ohai, (X).
    • Anyway, how's your sex life?
    • Its nawt true, its nawt!
    • I show them. I will record everything!
    • Where's my fucking money, Denny!?
    • I just got the results of the test back. I definitely have breast cancer.
    • And she's showing everybody me underwears.
    • Leave your stupid comments in your pocket!
    • I just like to watch you guys.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Any sympathy for Lisa goes down the drain when she decides to take advantage of her fiancé's suicide so she and Mark can be together. Although it's apparently not meant to be seen this way in-universe.
    • Being high on pot doesn't excuse Mark for trying to murder his friend Peter.
  • Narm: Almost every scene in the movie, with several achieving meme status. Notable examples include:
    • The line "You're tearing me apart Lisa!" is used as a go-to example of this movie's acting.
    • When Johnny says "Everybody betray me, I fed up with this world" in one of the worst examples of Wiseau's bizarre accent.
    • The Anger Montage at the end of the movie involves Johnny stumbling around and awkwardly breaking furniture in an attempt to seem outraged.
  • Nausea Fuel: The drawn-out love and sex scenes are gratuitous and sickening. They don't seem to serve any purpose other than Padding. Tommy Wiseau's naked ass doesn't make things any better.
  • Never Live It Down: Tommy Wiseau is never going to live down the fact that he actually made this movie. He seems to have accepted this, though, and doesn't mind how much the internet has made fun of it over the years.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Dan Janjigian's performance as Chris-R manages to be genuinely scary, especially when he's holding a gun to Denny's head and demanding his money. According to Greg Sestero, he actually scared most of the cast and crew.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Chris-R. He's not the only one, though. Characters drift in and out of the film like a fever dream.
  • One True Threesome: Lisa, Johnny, and Denny seem to have a suspiciously close relationship regardless of being surrogate family. Denny even comes and hangs out in the bedroom with them for a while when they clearly are working up to sex.
  • Padding:
    • Nothing between the second sex scene and the birthday party has any actual effect on the plot, with the exception of Johnny hooking a tape recorder to the phone.
    • While the film uses a lot of establishing shots of the city throughout, they become especially repetitive during the party, with four such shots of the city at night in relatively short succession. They might have been used just to denote that time was passing, but they otherwise have no bearing on anything and could have easily been left out.
    • Probably the most obvious form of padding used is that of having characters essentially repeat scenes with only a few details changed. This is especially obvious when it comes to Lisa and Claudette, whose conversations with each other are always about virtually the same thing, and with Johnny and his friends tossing the football back and forth.
    • The scene where Johnny confronts Lisa and Mark at the party is pointlessly split into two parts. Johnny and Mark even start to fight the first time, but then calm down and apologize to each other, only for things to heat up again right after as they duke it out for real. Tommy Wiseau also decided that Johnny getting mad at Lisa and Mark dancing together was a more dramatic moment to spark the fight than the scene where Mark asserts paternity over Lisa's fake child.
  • Replacement Scrappy: Steven. Just about every time he speaks (save for when he first walks in on Lisa and Mark making out, where the audience gasps and yells, "CAUGHT!"), he is met with yells of, "Who ARE you?!" by the audience. He is even accused of murdering Peter in one such screening.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Odds are that, if you've sought out (or even heard of) the film Retro Puppet Master, it's because it was Greg Sestero's most prominent pre-Room film role.
  • The Scrappy: LISA. Many of the characters are annoying due to their bad acting and/or stupidity, but she really takes the cake. Her idiot not-boyfriend Mark comes in very close second.
  • Signature Line: While the film has a lot of memorable dialogue, "You are tearing me apart, Lisa!" is easily the most (in)famous line.
  • Signature Scene: Johnny's entrance in the rooftop scene with Mark, "angrily" throwing a water bottle while shouting "I did not hit her! It's not true, it's bullshit, I did not hit her! I did not! …Oh hi Mark." The Dull Surprise delivery combined with the Mood Whiplash pretty much combine all of the movie's weirdness in one scene.
  • Snark Bait: The movie effectively became the Plan 9 from Outer Space of the modern day after [adult swim] drew a lot of attention to it.
  • So Bad, It's Good: The film has become a cult classic for being so bad it's good - no, more like So Horrible It's Epic.
  • Squick:
    • The rather graphic sex scenes between Lisa and Johnny. We see far more of Wiseau's particularly unappealing body than we need to. Actor Greg Ellery states that the Squick goes behind the scenes as well. The actress who plays Lisa was only 23 years old. Wiseau was 47.
    • More to it than that. Apparently Wiseau wanted it to be realistic, so he actually was completely naked while they filmed that scene. That's why he seems to be having sex with her navel - he wanted to make sure he didn't accidentally... erm, get it in there.
    • Worse, according to cast and crew, Tommy had... body odor issues.
    • There's one scene where Lisa's neck starts strangely spasming!
    • Denny: "I just like to watch you guys!"
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • Wiseau insisted on using expensive green screen effects on fabricated sets for the rooftop scenes (which is especially funny knowing that Wiseau owned a store building with an accessible rooftop). Whenever the camera moves in these scenes, the backgrounds move with it - just at a different speed. The exact background is inconsistent and seems to suggest that the apartment is somewhere in the middle of the sea near Alcatraz.
    • The gun that Johnny commits suicide with is clearly a cheap airsoft gun and clearly never fires beyond a generic gunshot sound. Given what the film is known for, anything else would probably be disappointing.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: After the actor playing Peter left the film, Tommy Wiseau chose to create the character Steven to replace him, even though any other established supporting character in the film could have easily filled the role instead. The most logical choice would have been Denny, as he is the friend of all three of the main cast and would be the one most troubled by Lisa and Mark's betrayal of Johnny.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: If some rewrites were done and better acting/direction were employed, this actually could have been a very good movie... of course, it wouldn't have been nearly as memorable. What would also have helped is if certain scenes were used to add emotional depth to the film rather than serving as padding. In particular, the drug dealer scene could have been more significant had it effectively been tied into the overlying plot rather than solely being used as an only loosely connected Chekhov's Gun to Johnny's suicide, and the issue of Claudette's breast cancer could've gone somewhere as well.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously:
    • Tommy Wiseau, as detailed in The Disaster Artist.
    • Dan Janjigian as Chris-R. The Disaster Artist describes how the guy went as far as applying Method Acting to his role... despite being the only person in the cast who wasn't a professional actor and him only doing it as a favor for his roommate. As a result, he became a One-Scene Wonder who gives one of the few convincing performances in the movie.
    • Also as detailed in The Disaster Artist, Carolyn Minnott as Claudette. She had always wanted to act, and this was one of the only parts she could get. As such, she gave it everything she had, even nailing a scene right after being hospitalized for heat stroke.
  • Ugly Cute: The pug in the flower shop is odd-looking and gives off a strange vibe, but many people still find it to be one of the most endearing parts of the film.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Johnny, who comes off as creepily obsessive and a douchebag rather than the model husband Tommy Wiseau intended him as. For instance, he laughs at the thought of a woman getting beaten up and going to the hospital (and it's not one of those awkward, WTF "are you serious?" laughs), and later on, while claiming he never hit Lisa, he shoves her onto the couch when she is ready to walk away. This has Reality Subtext as revealed in The Disaster Artist. Wiseau actually had to be told by the crew that domestic abuse wasn't funny, as he was oblivious as to why he shouldn't laugh, but it stuck because they couldn't get a better take of the scene.
  • Wangst: Johnny is especially guilty of this in his dialogue. Lisa is apparently the only person who loves Johnny, despite the various people who are willing to play football with him, talk with him about his problems and take time out of their lives to go to his birthday party. Though in his defense, he was upset about getting turned down for a promotion when he said that nobody (besides Lisa) loves him.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: Few younger viewers know that "You're tearing me apart!" originated in Rebel Without a Cause, a movie that Wiseau was a huge fan of. Go to the comments section of the scene where James Dean's character says this and you'll see that most of the comments add "... Lisa!" to the end.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Having sex with your fiancé's best friend at your fiancé's birthday party? Good thinking!
    • Better intimately dance with his best friend while your fiancé's only a few feet away, too!
    • And also saying "I don't care" to someone who just said "You're going to DESTROY Johnny; he's VERY SENSITIVE" and ignoring those important words? That's stupidity as well!


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