Johnny is a successful banker who lives happily in a San Francisco townhouse with his fiancée, Lisa. One day, inexplicably, she gets bored of him and decides to seduce Johnny's best friend, Mark. From there, nothing will be the same again.
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In San Francisco, we follow Johnny, a man who has a girlfriend, Lisa, and also his best friend, Mark. Lisa has been cheating on Johnny with Mark and Johnny doesn't know! Will Johnny ever find out? Will Mark still be Johnny's best friend? Written by
Tommy Wiseau ranks among the greats: Spielberg, Scorcese, Griffith, & Welles. In THE ROOM, he has created a piece of cinema that has no parallels. It is a unique piece of artistic greatness.
Let's first discuss Mr. Wiseau's expert crafting of dramatic tension. Denny, the slightly mentally retarded 20-year-old, wants to watch Johnny and Lisa make sweet love. Denny also frequently acts like a brain-damaged Golden Retriever in that he continually wants to play catch with a football, even though everyone only stands 6 feet apart. Denny eventually gets involved with drugs and has to confront the hate-filled Chris-R (and there is no logical reason why the character has a hyphen in his name so don't ask). Johnny nobly comes out of nowhere to provide Denny salvation, and then this plot point is totally forgotten.
The best part of the movie is Mr. Wiseau's acting. He is leagues ahead of other contemporary actors. He is on par with DeNiro in Raging Bull, Nicholson in Easy Rider, and Brando in Streetcar. He delivers his lines as if he IS Johnny, the All-American guy who is trying to stay on the wagon and can't get that promotion at work. He clearly has been well-trained in Method Acting. His Croatian-Serbian-Norwegian-Klingon-Mongolian-Yugoslavian accent is barely noticeable when he delivers lines such as `You're tearing me apart, Lisa' and `I treat you like a princess but you stab me in the back.' You feel Johnny's pain as he becomes a regular MacGyver and hooks up a tape recorder that is able to record for 24 hours straight. His laugh (ha-ha-ha) comes off as natural as can be. When you think JOHNNY, you think All-American guy. The fact that Mr. Wiseau is over sixty years of age and may be on some kind of horse tranquilizer for much of the movie is not an issue.
In the trailers for THE ROOM, it is mentioned that Mr. Wiseau's directing and writing evoke Tennessee Williams, and a truer statement has never been made. You can feel the passion when Johnny transforms himself into Frankenstein and proceeds to destroy his room, moving at a very slow speed. It is as if he is saying to the viewer, `Stella!!' except Mr. Wiseau does not need to say it verbally. He says it through his emaciated skin which has seen better days and through his jet-black hair which is clearly his natural color. Even though the Room takes place in San Francisco, it is as if Blanche DuBois is saying to us, `Johnny, you are a real American, because you play football and say ch-ch-chicken.'
On the musical front, the shifting from a mysterious moody orchestral score to straight-up R&B ably shows Mr. Wiseau's ability to blend different styles musically in order to create a unified mood in his movie. On the sound front, the boom operator clearly did an excellent job as half of the lines in the beginning of the movie are dubbed in later, even though the filming takes place in a quiet room with no extraneous noise.
With regards to editing, Mr. Wiseau deftly uses cutaways to 30-second-long shots from different vantage points in San Francisco. He seems to be saying to the viewer, I hope you weren't interested in the dialogue, because now you will have to sit through 30 seconds of the same shot of the Golden Gate Bridge you've seen 10 times already, before we get back to the dramatic tension you were longing for.
Other attention to detail includes varying dates on how long Johnny and Lisa have been together (5 or 7 years), the switching from the day shots to night shots and then back to day shots on the same day, the fact that all of the men are dressed in tuxedos and decide to play football even though there is no justification for why they should be dressed in tuxedos, and using the exact same shots in the second love scene between Johnny and Lisa that are also used in the first love scene.
Overall, Mr. Wiseau has proven himself to be among the top-rank writers, directors, actors, editors, gaffers, love maker, action stars, and best boys of his generation. He has shown the ability to take any aspect of filmmaking and transcend it. He is able to take monkey poop and turn it into a well-polished turd. I hope to see many more films from Mr. Wiseau in the near future, and I hope that all of them will have Mr. Wiseau acting as well as new and better performances from the guy that played Denny (he rocks!!). To Mr. Wiseau, I say L'Chaim, and let's drink to much greater Cinema to come!!
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