Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Room

O hai, National Film Registry Project! How's your sex life?

What can one say about Tommy Wiseau's The Room? This cinematic masterpiece is truly destined for the National Film Registry. I might as well jump the gun on this one and be truly prepared, so I can be duly praised for my foresight and vision in hailing this as one of the most highly artistic films of all time. What can one say about unforgettable characters like Johnny, Lisa, Denny, Mark, Lisa's Mom, the wormy guy in glasses, Mr. "Me Underwears", Nuclear Bomb Lady, and Who the Hell is This Guy? Each turns in a stellar performance in this tour de force.

This is a movie that best captures the post-modern angst of the big city, combined with the aimlessness of the Gen-Xer's facing full adulthood - complete with a mentor role over a Millenial and conflict with a Baby Boomer, mixed with a masterful use of neo-medieval Christian symbolism. It is not that Johnny has absolutely no idea how to play football: his repeated tossing of a football without ever scoring a goal of any sort is a powerful visual metaphor of his lack of direction. Mark doesn't repeatedly forget that he has already had sex with Lisa because he's an idiot: instead, he is showing a Joyce-like ability to shift between the facets of his experience. What is not acceptable to one side of his personality (helping Johnny's future wife cheat), is acceptable to his baser nature. This then becomes a tragedy of Miltonian proportions, as the figure of Lisa - who can be equated with "Sin" in Paradise Lost or a masterfully crafted Eve figure from medieval drama, causes such severe temptation to the lower instincts of Mark as to cause him to "fall from heaven" (or Johnny's close friendship), while at the same time, making Earth unbearable to the pure soul of the Christ-figure of Johnny, who has no choice but to sacrifice himself rather than continue living in the depravity of this world. Because of this, the whole film culminates in the loss of Denny's innocence, which gives such powerful symbolism of the previous generation moving aside so that a new generation can be completely screwed by the system.

The world of The Room has touched a generation in a way that few films have before. Tommy Wiseau joins such luminaries as Ed Wood and M. Night Shyamalan as a by-word for quality film. Few will ever top the brilliance of this performance. except perhaps the geniuses of RiffTrax.

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