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Episode 130 - The Room (w/ Paul Scheer)

Episode 130 - The Room (w/ Paul Scheer)  

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  1. 1. Should "The Room" enter The Canon?



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I love that Paul submitted this for consideration to be included in our beloved, esteemed, Canon. Probably my favorite thing about “bad” movies is that no matter how poorly executed they are, there are at least a few people working on it that are fully committed to the project. In ‘The Room’ no one is dragging their feet. There truly is an earnestness within. Now if only there was Jim Varney as Earnest in it, this might be a Canon shoe-in!

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If you're voting in a movie (primarily based on its cultural impact)

 

I'm not necessarily voting based on cultural impact (I think The Room is truly hilarious and bizarre enough to be enjoyed on its own terms), but I think it's a mistake to discount the imprint this film has made. There's a reason Tommy Wiseau is constantly touring with his movie, while the director of Kangaroo Jack (another terrible movie from 2003) is sitting at home, waiting for the phone to ring.

 

Fourteen years is actually a long time for a cult movie (or even a mainstream movie) to survive and thrive. 2003 was a great year for movies (Finding Nemo, Return of the King, Pirates of the Caribbean, Kill Bill Vol 1, Lost in Translation, to name just a few), but the fact that we're even having this conversation about The Room (as opposed to Dogville, or American Splendor, or A Mighty Wind--all released in '03) speaks volumes.

 

The concept of "so bad it's good" is deeply entrenched in film culture, and it's a niche that deserves representation in the Canon. The only other real contenders are probably Plan 9 From Outer Space and Troll 2 (although I'm sure a case could be made for many others), but I think The Room eclipses both of those movies in terms of pure entertainment value. (Plan 9 probably wins on the cultural impact front, though.)

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The concept of "so bad it's good" is deeply entrenched in film culture, and it's a niche that deserves representation in the Canon. The only other real contenders are probably Plan 9 From Outer Space and Troll 2 (although I'm sure a case could be made for many others), but I think The Room eclipses both of those movies in terms of pure entertainment value. (Plan 9 probably wins on the cultural impact front, though.)

 

Ed Wood was definitely my thought when Paul was talking about what else qualifies as this kind of "Best Worst Movie," i.e. one that is made with complete sincerity and artistic ambition but is still completely terrible. But I suppose you could argue that while Wood did have the right combination of sincerity/incompetence as a filmmaker, he didn't fancy himself an actor like Tommy Wiseau does. That does add another dimension to The Room.

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while the director of Kangaroo Jack (another terrible movie from 2003) is sitting at home, waiting for the phone to ring.

 

Bruckheimer was the only guy who ever called him in the first place.

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I'm not necessarily voting based on cultural impact (I think The Room is truly hilarious and bizarre enough to be enjoyed on its own terms), but I think it's a mistake to discount the imprint this film has made. There's a reason Tommy Wiseau is constantly touring with his movie, while the director of Kangaroo Jack (another terrible movie from 2003) is sitting at home, waiting for the phone to ring.

 

I agree that The Room is totally hilarious and bizarre, but I also 100% think that if the director of Kangaroo Jack toured with it, people would definitely go and make an ironic night out of it. People are willing to poke fun at anything. Which lends to my point that so much (admittedly, not all) of the spectacle of The Room is created more so by everything surrounding it.

 

As for your point about 14 years being a long time for a cult movie, I don't know that it is. Evil Dead, Clerks, and Eraserhead are all cult movies that (i) are much older, (ii) are still very popular, and (iii) have had widespread influence. on other movies. As far as I know at least, I don't think any directors are seeking to emulate Wiseau.

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Oh hai, The Canon forum. Long time no see! I was one of the goobers who suggested The Room for debate early on in the podcast, so I really wanted to chime in. The appeal of so-bad-it's-good movies like The Room - but especially The Room - is that they're funny. And I don't just mean that it's inept - a bad film is merely boring, lazy, or careless.

 

Science breaks humor down as: expectation -> tension -> expectation fulfilled, but in an unexpected way. The Room is the cinematic equivalent. As lifelong consumers of media, we have an innate sense what a film should be. The Room twists our preconceptions to the core - dialogue, motivation, continuity. The very structure of what a single scene should be. Our notions for a film are resolved, but twisted in ways we'd never expect.

 

Intentional or not, the result is as entertaining and engaging as any comedy - and baby, The Room is top tier. They say good comedy is timing, and The Room is a perfect storm where all expectations are tweaked just right. It's the Richard Pryor of 'bad' movies. And I think that's what sets The Room apart. In its own way, The Room is just as fascinating a portal into the mind of Tommy Wiseau as Kubrick's films' are into his (or your favorite _x_ director). The growing cult of fans, the crazy making-of story, plus the walking enigma that is Tommy Wiseau are just icing on the cake. I have to vote 'yes'.

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long time listener, first time posting. i've regretted not posting/voting before, such as: missing out on voting/posting against 'juno' and 'wrath of khan', advocating for a "neither" option, talking about how awful a guest brett morgan was, defending the razzies, and calling out the lack of diversity. but ultimately, lives are not at stake.

 

that being said, i had to make myself heard this time.

 

i have the same feelings for bad movies- even terrible ones. they are often forgettable, but also they give us hours of fun and mindless entertainment. i laughed at 'the room' for all the wrong reasons. tommy wiseau adapted his vision after his movie failed; and no one is giving him credit for his writing or his acting.

 

the design and music scream 1990's- bad after-hours cable 1990's. but i was genuinely surprised to find out it's from the early 2000's! during the podcast you speculated if wiseau studied kubrick, and scorsese. i am confident in saying this looks more like he studied zalman king's 'red shoe diaries' as if it were 'breaking bad.'

 

sycasey2.0 pointed out that this is more of a cultural curio, but not canon worthy. i couldn't agree more. as far as accidental genius goes, i don't see it here. velcro, penicillin, and the opening riff to 'sweet child 'o mine' are accidental genius. one-off genius is lacking here too. see maria falconetti and 'nevermind the bullocks.'

 

florence foster jenkins is a fascinating figure. she was a bad singer and will never be remembered as one of the greats. she was a study in other things though- as a patron of the arts and someone with true aspirations. 'the room' is a garbage film. it's a study in other things, but not one of the greats.

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Much like the urinal installed in an art museum, The Room is a thought-provoking film only if you allow it to be.

 

As mentioned earlier, it's best viewed through Youtube clips; the film is incoherent and boring. It provides a dream-like quality as characters float in and out of scenes interacting with other characters like an alien playing with action figures of humans.

 

Someone mentioned Trump earlier, and I'd agree in that assessment in that Tommy Wisseau is a millionaire that somehow fails upwards.

The films is worth seeing if only to see him however, as his line delivery and presence is honestly mesmerising. I'm going a hard no, but I'm not angry if it gets in, because it's easy to get seduced by the external narrative around the Room.

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