Rifftrax Live: The Room
APPLETON, WI – Last night I was able to partake in the viewing of the worst film ever made The Room, complete with live commentary provided by the Rifftrax crew. Rifftrax, if you don’t know, is made up of Mystery Science Theater 3000 alums Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbet and they have been working their comedy magic at riffing some of the worst movies you’ll ever see. One thing that the Rifftrax crew have been doing are live shows and broadcasting their shows to theaters across the U.S. and Canada. Some of the live shows they’ve done in the past are Manos: The Hand of Fate, Reefer Madness, and Plan 9 from Outer Space. For there shows this years, dubbed “The Crappening” they selected Sharknado 2 being shown live on July 9th, Miami Connection on October 1st, and most recently The Room. They have given The Room the Rifftrax treatment several years ago, in a commentary track that is downloadable at Rifftrax.com and they have rewritten most of it for the live show.
This was my first Rifftrax Live event I’ve ever been too and am a huge Mystery Science Theater and Rifftrax fan. I would have loved it to have been that actual show in Nashville, TN, but the live broadcast at the Marcus Cinemas in Appleton, Wi did just as well. The show was well done giving just the right mix of of extra jokes and silence at the right moments to let the unintentional jokes work their magic. This is definitely one of their best Live shows and contains a short entitled At Your Finger Tips: Floats, which is a third At Your Finger Tips short they have done. This is definitely a show you need to check out, but I also want to talk a little bit about The Room itself.
I’ve felt that since Mike, Bill, and Kevin started Rifftrax, that this form of what they do has reached whole other level than what Mystery Science Theater ever did. With Rifftrax they’ve been more adventurous with their titles, by not doing mainly public domain films that Mystery had to do. The writing is simply leaps and bounds better, not what was done on the show was bad or unfunny it’s just gotten better over the years. They also, dabble in a little darker and bluer humor that the show could not have done as easily.
Official Trailer for The Room
The Room, as mentioned before, is just awful and became a cult fave for that exact reason. When I mentioned to a friend that I was going to go see the worst film ever, he asked if it was Furious 7. I then replied, no The Room makes that movie look like 12 Years a Slave. Not an understatement. So, just how bad is it? I can answer that question with this excerpt from the Wikipedia page for The Room, “A significant portion of the film is dedicated to a series of unrelated and unresolved subplots involving the friends and family of the main characters.”
The best example of unresolved subplots in the film is where one of the main characters mother, randomly mentions that she has breast cancer and the subject is never brought up again. There is also a random scene, where one character is apparently selling or doing drugs (they never mention witch) and is confronted by a gun wheeling drug dealer asking for his money. The drug dealer is then quickly dispensed with and this plot point is gone as fast as it came. So, this “drama” is so bad, that it is just hilarious to watch even without funny commentary. In fact, you should watch The Room all on its own first, before watching anything that is making fun of it. By doing this, you can get the full effect of just how bad it is.
Excerpts from The Room's previous Rifftrax treatment
Released in 2003 The Room was directed by first time director Tommy Wiseau, who also wrote and produced the movie. Wiseau, who is independently wealthy, funded the film himself by apparently importing leather jackets from Korea. The leather jacket thing is what he told Entertainment Weekly, but I don’t know how many leather jackets you would have to import to make $6 million dollars to make a crappy movie, but it probably a lot and who’s buying that many leather jackets from a creepy looking guy like Tommy Wiseau. Wiseau also stars in the lead role as Johnny, Juliette Danielle as Lisa (Johnny’s fiancée), Greg Sestero as Mark (Johnny’s best friend), and Philip Haldiman as Denny (Creepy next door neighbor whom Johnny supports and sees as a son). The plot surrounds the love triangle between Johnny, Lisa, and Mark, when Lisa become uninterested in Johnny and seeks the affection of Mark. That synopsis probably makes the movie sound slightly more interesting then what it really is, so I’ll add that meaningless plot points come up and quickly go to. The most common themes that pop up are scenes of the male cast tossing around a football, establishing shots (roughly about 30 minutes worth) of San Francisco, people saying “hi” to one another, and tedious, long, and awkward sex scenes that feature really bad early 90’s R&B music.
The Room is also one of the most quotable films ever made, for example when Johnny goes up to the roof where his best friend Mark is already sitting and Johnny is lamenting about Lisa calming he hit her when drunk in his horribly thick European accent:
Johnny: I did not hit her, it’s not true! It’s bullshit! I did not hit her! (Throws a water bottle to the ground) I DID NOT! (Notices Mark sitting there and in a gentle voice) Oh hi, Mark.
Or Mark at a surprise birthday party for Johnny when a friend finds out about Lisa and Marks affair:
Mark: You don’t understand anything, man. Leave your stupid comments in your pocket!
Or when Johnny is asked how he met Lisa:
Johnny: Oh, that’s a very interesting story, when I moved to San Francisco with two suitcases and I didn’t know anyone, and I have, I hit YMCA with a $2000 check that I couldn’t cash.
Mark: Why not?
Johnny: Well, because it was an out of state bank. Anyway, I was working as a busboy in hotel, and uh, um, she was sitting, drinking her coffee, and she was so beautiful, and I say hi to her, and that’s how we met.
Mark: So, I mean, what’s the interesting part?
Johnny: Well, the interesting part is that on our first date, she paid for dinner.
I still don’t now what was interesting about how Johnny met Lisa, but check out the links below for more information on upcoming live shows from Rifftrax for more stink burgers like The Room as well as information on its encore presentation on May 12th. You can also see some of their shows if you have Hulu Plus, which is how I discovered Rifftrax.