This weekend I saw The Disaster Artist and while I think it was a well made movie with good dramatic and comedic moments, it didn’t speak to me like it has for many others. It just felt like it wasn’t made for me which is weird because of my love of “So bad its good” cinema but not that weird since I’ve never seen The Room.
Yes, you read that correctly, I’ve never seen The Room. The man who hosts a podcast specifically about watching garbage films has never seen the so-called grand-daddy of them all. Many people find this shocking and to a certain extent I suppose I do too. Allow me to explain why I’ve avoided this film for over a decade.
The first big reason is because I’ve met & hung out with Tommy Wiseau on two different occasions. Neither time did I find him fun or charming. He struck me as an egotistical and cruel diva. This personality trait I believe they captured quite accurately in The Disaster Artist. The sheer fact that he is praised as an important cult figure has always rubbed me the wrong way because of these two interactions and for that reason I’ve always avoided the film.
I will say that it’s possible that I caught him on bad days. I have one friend who HATES Mick Foley because of a bad experience the only time he’d met him. Everyone else I’ve ever encountered who has met Foley has had nothing but kind words about him. So I’m open to the possibility it could be wrong place, wrong time. However if you can track down the episode of Geekscape from approximately 6 years ago you’ll see a lot of my issues.
The second reason is how I first really “saw” the movie. It was between my first and my second encounter with him. My friends showed me a very long (approximately 40 minute) episode of Nostalgia Critic about the movie. I’m not a fan of nostalgia critic, he seems like a good guy but his comedic style doesn’t really work for me. It’s basically the same reason I prefer the slightly less screamy We Hate Movies and Flop House podcast over How Did This Get Made. Angrily yelling everything doesn’t equal comedy for me.
Shortly after this, I would encounter someone (friend or stranger) quoting this movie at me damn near every week. It almost reminds me of how for a few years I just couldn’t watch Napoleon Dynamite because I had been overwhelmed with “your mom goes to college” and “numchuck skills” quotes.
Which leads into my final issue and really the main focus of this. There’s no way to say it without coming off like a hipster douchebag so I’ll just say it; It’s the most Mainstream version of “So Bad It’s Good”. It’s the Rocky Horror Picture Show of “It’s So Bad It’s Good”. It’s the Smells Like Teen Spirit of 90’s countdowns. It’s The Beatles. It’s all of those things.
That doesn’t make it a bad thing. I love all of those things. I adore the Beatles, Smells Like Teen Spirit is still a great song and Rocky Horror Picture Show is a blast. My problem is that So-Bad-It’s-Good films are a passion of mine. They’re something I adore, I love showing them to people, I love tracking them down and owning them.
Imagine if you encountered someone who exclusively listened to The Beatles, and only the Beatles, but claimed to be a music expert. Imagine someone who claimed to be a fan of Nirvana but only knew that single song. It’d be frustrating as hell.
The second we declare something “the best” anything; the search tends to end. The Room may be fantastic but is it the best? In a world full of Troll 2, Hard Ticket to Hawaii and Sleepaway Camp is it truly the best of the worst? That’s even just sticking with the more mainstream stuff. There’s some incredible and rarely talked about piece of cinema garbage.
Killer Workout has been one of my more recent loves. It’s a bafflingly film that’s more complex and confusing that necessary. There’s Nukie, the borderline unwatchable E.T. rip off. What about Invisible Maniac in which our titular character chucks someone to death with a hoagie (Something that has been a constant joke on the previously mentioned Flop House podcast) or The Guyver in which Jimmy Walker is grossly miscast as a rapping alien. The Uninvited … a film about a killer mutant cat puppet loose on a cruise ship is also a strong contender. Even this week on Shock Waves podcast the film The Evil Within was mentioned and sounds like a very promisingly terrible film. Don’t even get me started on Belly of the Beast starring Steven Seagal.
Don’t just be content with a poorly made drama from a mysterious and self-absorbed person. Explore what’s out there. Maybe instead of watching The Room for the 50th time, examine a film like S.I.C.K. (Serial Insane Clown Killer). And I? Well … I’ll stop bitching about a movie I’ve never seen and will finally watch it. This is just Part One. Tune in Next Week. I’ll be watching The Room for the first time and writing my thoughts.