For what seemed like every weekend for the better part of a decade, Tommy Wiseau’s The Room has screened at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre. I saw it on three separate occasions and each subsequent screening seemed to grow on the prior’s mythology. So when do you throw the spoons? Can we really throw a football? And it wasn’t your usual dude-bro cadre of college-aged deplorables that you’d expect attending these screenings. No, I caught glimpses of the starchiest of academics, college professors, and former teachers during these midnight screenings. Why?
Let me put it this way: we like to feel good about ourselves. The Room makes us feel good because it provides us with a communal outlet to engage, ironically, with a piece of art. There’s pleasure in the kind of ridicule that we expend at The Room, from throwing plastic spoons at the screen to impromptu games of catch football that take place in the aisles of our theater. We feel good about these acts of ridicule because it suggests an acknowledgement of the film’s absurdity, and in that recognition we find ourselves in a moral/intellectual position of superiority. We just like to feel better than The Room. You know, the sort of “we’re laughing at you, not with you” sort of acknowledgement. Thing is that when we engage in these acts of condescension, we frequently forget the origins of what we’re poking fun at in the first place. It’s easy to forget that Tommy Wiseau’s film was intended as a piece of serious, personal filmmaking that we’ve – and subsequently, Wiseau himself –turned into a joke.Read More