Why, The Room. Why.

by Caitlin Sussman | Layout & Design

I went to the CINEinsomnia screening at the Harvard Exit. I may never forgive them.

One of the greatest and most alienating things to exist currently on the internet is a comic strip: Garfield Minus Garfield. The creator uses image manipulation to remove the titular cat from the life of Jon Arbuckle, leaving him flailing, hopeless and alone.

For you, however, this is not enough. You want to experience what it truly means to drift in the inexplicability of human action. You want to founder in an empty, freezing sea and be cast onto the Shores of Failure. For you, there is The Room.

You’ve probably heard of The Room, due both to writer-director-producer-star Tommy Wiseau’s bizarrely untethered advertising campaign and to the word-of-mouth that has stalked the film since its initial release. None of these reviews are going to be positive, but that is its power. Not everyone has the strength to face what The Room has to show them.

Wiseau’s message of eternal isolation finds root in the tale of Johnny, ambiguously-and-unsatisfactorily employed, surrounded by a throng of suspiciously young friends and frames from which he has never removed the stock pictures. His deception by petulant fiancée Lisa and erratic friend Mark is all the more startling for its complete lack of reality-based grounding. Every character is shallow, confused and inconstant. Dialogue ranges from the incompetent aping of “Tenessee [sic] Williams” to unnervingly and acontextually Stoppardian. Ineptitude of this level is rarely achieved without the involvement of the SyFy channel. It is broken and shuddering and beautiful.

Find a midnight showing; there will be one near-enough to you. You don’t want it too close. Wiseau’s face will glower down from any poster the theatre is brave enough to showcase. Within the fan community, speculations as to his origins and motives run rampant. Whispers name him warlord. Vampire. In the interests of your emotional development this night, it is irrelevant. He is your prophet, the one person to look upon the buffet of human wonderment and render it completely devoid of hope or redemption or sense.

Please, do not buy popcorn. Any moment spent wiping salt from your fingers or rustling a paper bag is a moment during which you are not fully experiencing the sheer and terrifying joy that only a brush with madness can offer. And don’t make eye contact with any of the other bodies occupying space in your general vicinity. You were people before, but the movie you are about to experience will strip you even of that vague comfort.

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