Film and TV

Saturday Night: The Room With Tommy Wiseau

See pics from the midnight movie and Tommy Wiseau's appearance in our slideshow.

Oh my God did I forget how nerdy midnight movies were. Holy Jesus, seeing The Room on Saturday night at midnight at the Landmark River Oaks put me into a weird Ogre-from-Revenge Of The Nerds spiral that wasn't helped by the beer and the liquor from the theater bar.

What's weird is that I'm music nerd, and I didn't realize, or I must have just forgot, how different yet the same movie nerds are from music ones.

For instance, music nerds can order booze from a bar the way some people cast out a fishing pole. They have their own tipping system, and they sometimes try to pay for their booze with a Kroger card, which I am guilty of.

Movie nerds will stammer and ask if the bar sells beer, even with a huge cooler full of the stuff sitting in front of them. They will also attempt to quote famous lines from bar scenes in their favorite movies, much to the chagrin of the bartenders and the lone music drunk sitting a few feet away scowling and tweeting.

They'll get plastered off two beers and heckle the screen and talk shit about Kurosawa and lament the film career of Howard Hughes, like a few nerds did a few feet from me on Saturday night.

Music nerds on the other hand will tear up and cry onto their Can shirts if you claim that Sid Vicious invented punk rock, and they'll wince like they were shot in the gut when someone asks if Robert Johnson is alive. Don't ask them if they're into the Black Eyed Peas.

Tommy Wiseau, the mysteriously foreign auteur behind the 2003 cult drama The Room, was in town Friday and Saturday night to hold a Q&A session, introduce his film, meet fans, with some even dressed like characters from his movie. He was joined by Greg Sestero, who plays the "villain" Mark in the film.

Wiseau showed up around 11 p.m. on Saturday, as he did the night before, to throw a football around with the fans in line to see the movie. It was a running gag from the film that the male characters always played super-close catch with each other.

The Room is about a man, Johnny, caught up in a love triangle with his girlfriend Lisa and his best friend Mark. Other characters come in and out of the romantic drama, including the creepy voyeur and Johnny's son-figure Denny, Lisa's mother, and various wooden friends and confidants.

Anyone who thinks that the Wiseau image is an act would be hard-pressed to think so after spending even five minutes with him. He's extremely personable and kind to meet, but he has a scattered conversational pattern, seemingly going off word cues he hears from the other person into his own tangents.

This explains a lot about the script of the cult hit. I told him we posted the best Room spoofs here on Art Attack and he started talking about publicity stills.

As for the film, it has developed its own Rocky Horror-type life, with viewers joining in by throwing plastic spoons at the screen whenever there are framed photos of spoons seen in the frame. There's also a lot of screaming at the film, especially during the "love scenes" or the clips panning across the San Francisco skyline. As with Rocky Horror, there's plenty of call-and-response with the stilted script and the fans.

To the uninitiated, you either get it or you don't. If you like a quiet theater, even for something as goofily endearing as The Room, don't see The Room during a crowded midnight showing. The movie is so bad that it's actually unintentionally funnier than most mainstream comedies that Hollywood puts out, which to me is its main selling point.

The main iconic lines in The Room come off like greatest hits in a communal setting. If the film is Led Zeppelin's IV, then count "You're tearing me apart Lisa," as the veritable "Stairway To Heaven" for the Roomies. See, I got to include a music nerd reference in here somewhere. Also, Tommy looks like the late Peter Steele from Type O Negative. Doubly whammy.

Wiseau remind the crowd during the Q&A session before the film that he'll be working on a remastered edition of The Room, which should available for Blu-ray and 3D release by the end of the year for Christmas, and another tour like this.

Someone asked if a sequel would happen and he gave a curt "maybe," which would make little to absolutely no sense, but in Wiseau's world, it could very well happen.

And remember, leave your stupid comments in your pocket.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty