The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Announcement

Hi everyone, it's been a while since I checked the page, and I wanted to make a few announcements.

First and foremost, it appears a dubious site has claimed the old url, meaning any link in any review that goes to the old mattmovieguy url is corrupt. I'm in the process of trying to remove them all, but it's a lot! It's best not to click on any link without hovering over it first to make sure it doesn't have mattmovieguy in the url.

Second, it appears since my last trip to the blog, Photobucket has decided to charge for third party hosting, meaning none of my images are appearing anymore. That's simply an aesthetic issue, but still annoying.

Thank you all for your patience, and again, hopefully this will all be fixed soon.

--Matt

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Room (2003)

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Oh hi guys! Some time ago I received an e-mail from our good friend Kenner over at Movies in the Attic, telling me I needed to check something out. He described The Room, and included a link to a YouTube clip of the infamous rooftop scene. Not only did this look fantastic, but it had this enormous cult following that I knew nothing about, including midnight showings. (As an aside, I missed one last Saturday at Coolidge Corner in Brookline, MA, about an hour from where I live. Damn!)

The Room follows the life of Johnny, a man of unknown Eastern European origin who is a fairly successful banker in San Francisco, but brings absolutely nothing to the table personality-wise, which Lisa, his wife to be, sees as a problem, but her mother, "suffering" with breast cancer, thinks it isn't such a bad deal. He supports her financially and dotes on her, who cares that he has zero charisma and looks like Weird Al as Rambo in UHF (got that from the RiffTrax, not my work). Lisa decides she has a thing for Mark, Johnny's best friend, and Mark, though thinking it'd be wrong to sleep with his best buddy's girl, decides their romps through the park aren't as much fun as he and Lisa's romps between the sheets. Now the question is, how does Lisa break the news to Johnny?

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You probably don't need me to tell you that this is tons of fun. It starts out fun, and keeps getting better. David Wiseau said that his message with his film was for everyone to learn to love each other a little more, and I think he does that-- in a roundabout way, of course. I mean, it's impossible to watch this and not be a little happier about the world, right? Tommy Wiseau is like the William Hung version of Woody Allen, and based on the interview with him that comes with the DVD, he's going to ride this train for all he can get, whether he's in on the joke or not. I say good for him-- though when he tells me in that same interview that his film is so deep it needs multiple viewings, I start to find myself less sympathetic...

The thing I was wondering as I watched this was, what did everyone on set think as they watched Tommy Wiseau acting? Was it like the cast of Bullets Over Broadway reacting to Lily Tomlin's character? I think we're all glad though that Chazz Palminterri didn't off Mr. Wiseau, though can you imagine how awesome that scene would've been? "Oh hi Chazz." "Listen, just walk over there, over near the water." "But I did not hit her. She said I hit her but I did not." "I couldn't give a shit less what she said, just walk over there." "Oh hi Seagull." Blam!!!

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The rooftop scene is probably the most infamous. A good chunk of my friends don't know this movie exists, and I still say "I'm just sittin' up here thinking" when they ask what I'm doing. Then there's the mom's nonchalant reveal that she has breast cancer, which was made all the weirder by the daughter's complete lack of sympathy. "Oh you'll be fine, it's just breast cancer." Some of my favorites were a little more subtle, like how Mark and Johnny would ask their psychiatrist friend for his advice, then he'd give it, and they'd snap at him for being such a psychiatrist, to the point Mark wants to throw him off a building.

The music in The Room is fantastic. The first song is classic Skin-a-max soft rock-- which fits with the Skin-a-max scene--, but all the songs after that were like these early 90s freestyle slow jams. I don't know if these people were friends of Tommy's, or he saw them open up for Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam in 1991. You can just see the manager going to a record label back then, trying to sell them. "Ted, Ted, can I call you Ted? Listen Ted, we have the next Expose here. They're going to be huge." Or they're going to be played over Skin-a-max style scenes in The Room.

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Michelle here was my favorite character. Look at how hot she is lying on the couch with her glass of wine, not caring at all that the slit in her skirt reveals her leg up to her waist. I got the sense overall that Mr. Wiseau had one, maybe more, bad experiences with women, because the bitterness was palpable. As such, Lisa and her mother were portrayed as pretty bad people. I think that overall effect had to have backfired on Wiseau, though, because his character looked like such a horrible person, with zero personality, who tried to buy his future wife's love, and blamed it on her when it didn't work. Michelle though, seemed to fall outside of Wiseau's wrath. Maybe there was a sympathetic girlfriend of a woman who did him wrong in real life that he liked, or maybe Robyn Paris, the woman who played Michelle, just charmed Wiseau so much that he rewrote her character. I know I was charmed.

If you live near a big city, especially New York or LA, this gets frequent midnight showings at indie theaters. If not, or you're like me and you missed it when it came to a town near you, there's always Netflix, and I think that works fine. Also, there's a Riff Trax for this, and though I haven't heard the whole thing, I did catch some of the highlights, and it's pretty sweet. It might be worth checking out, though this is the perfect big group bad movie, meaning you should be able to provide sufficient commentary.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0368226/

5 comments:

  1. Classic movie! Loved Chris-R, the drug dealer.

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  2. I've never heard of this, but it looks good.

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  3. Here are Kenner's comments that he had trouble posting:

    "Oh hi Matt,
    You forget the character Denny who you can't even describe as homoerotic but just bizarre. The scene where he invites himself up to the bedroom, or for that matter the drug deal scene. Wow.

    This movie clearly is made hilarious because of Wiseau looks like James Lew (Bad guy from Red Sun Rising) but sounds identical to Olivier Gruner reading of cue cards. Everything about the movie screams lack of understanding in human nature from the dialogue to the action of the characters. Breast cancer for one, the challange to a fight with the hilarious Chicken taunting to the creepy Denny who would most likely repulse people in real life.

    The love triangle is absurd and it just is awful. Hilarious to the tenth power. I was afraid they stopped making such camp classics.

    I'd love to catch this on television, I caught it on Adult Swim late night and I forgot the title but then when I found said clips I knew I had to pass it on.

    The thing about Wiseau is that he tried to say he intended this to be a comedy but you can tell it's anything but intentional comedy. Especially the topics of the film."

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  4. It is so worth it. The drug dealer was great too. That whole scene, which I forgot to bring up, where Denny is almost shot by the drug dealer, then Johnny and Mark chase him off, and then there's this ridiculous "Who's on First?" routine where Lisa and the mother are trying to find out what the hell Denny was doing. "What kind of drugs Denny?" "What does it matter, it's over now!" Then Johnny comes in, awkwardly hugs it out with Denny and says "Let's go home."... even though they were home...

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