“Oh hi Mark.” – Tommy Wiseau as Tommy, The Room (2003).
‘The Room’, iconic for being the best worst film of all time was created by a man of many mysteries, forming an unintentional cult following fumed by its unintentional comedy and ambition to be bigger than what it was.
My name is Isaac Percy, I’m 19 years old, a first year at university and this is my first blog post. I had to open it with one of the best greetings in film history in my opinion, because it really says so much about me. Let me explain why.
For those who don’t know this film, watch the clip down below (I don’t expect you to watch the film, I’ve done that part for you) and you’ll see poorly acted sequences that make no sense that look like they have been filmed with a potato. The film makes its audience think “what is this?” “who the hell wrote this and hired those actors?” “this is awful, why would anyone watch this?” – it’s on a deeper stare into the eyes of Tommy Wiseau’s creation that this film becomes something else.
Tommy Wiseau, a mysterious figure to everyone he met – always hid his age, how he made his income, where he was from and as much of his own personal life as he could. He was cast away from Hollywood for an abundance of reasons, no matter how hard he tried to make it as a star – to his appearance being something out of a Bram Stoker or Mary Shelly novel to his strong Eastern European accent that contradicted his attempts to be the true American hero.
He wanted to act and be a star, so he created his own film.
In short, ‘The Room’ is about a guy named Johnny, who is engaged to a woman named Lisa, who is having an affair with Johnny’s best friend Mark. When Johnny finds out, he turns into a spiral of self-destruction and kills himself. What a story.
Tommy believed it was his best work, like a Tennessee Williams script. One that would capture the purest human emotions – love, betrayal, lust, happiness, sadness and anger.
However, the reactions from the public when it released; laughs, strong criticism and lack of respect only claimed it was the opposite. To be fair to everyone who first saw it, ‘The Room’ is incredibly hard to watch, and even harder to explain to someone with no idea about why it is so unique.
Even after hearing all this, Tommy still believed in what he had created, as it created one of those pure human emotions like the Tennessee Williams scripts, that would always be backed with passion. “You can laugh, you can cry, you can express yourself.” he has said in multiple interviews. He still believes it is his best work.
Surprisingly, this film inspires me in so many ways.
The ambition of Tommy to create against the odds of making it in Hollywood, all on his own, is one of emotional strength and self-belief. This is the drive I want to reach for. I’m studying at University of Wollongong as a Communications & Media/Journalism student, hoping to pursue a career where I can use my words to inform people willing to listen and give them something of value. I don’t expect to make a film, or something as (quite painful but) different as ‘The Room’, but I expect to strive for great things, with my full heart and soul in it.
I think we all have a bit of Tommy in us. A dream, a goal, a vision for something great. What is stopping us? Failure shouldn’t be a fear. Some people see the film as a flop. It made $2000 in the box office, and didn’t (I wonder why) get the Academy Award nomination Tommy was hoping for. However, I see this film as a success. Not just because it’s achieved such a wonderful and strong cult following in just over a decade; it’s also the fact that he made something against any struggles he faced, and stayed proud of the film. It was a step towards greater things in his life journey. I want to achieve that step, and never stop walking. Today is day one. Make it yours too.
“Everybody want to be star. You have to be the best and never give up!” James Franco as Tommy Wiseau, ‘The Disaster Artist’ (2017).