Last week I received a phone call from a friend telling me there was a cinematic event on the horizon I could not afford to miss. It was a screening of the cult classic The Room at Sydney’s iconic Hayden Orpheum. I was informed The Room was widely regarded as the worst movie ever made in the history of cinema, commonly referred to as ‘the Citizen Kane of bad movies’. So I, along with about 500 film buffs, went along to see what all the fuss was about.
It was the most extraordinary cinematic experience of my life.
In case you haven’t heard of it, The Room was made in 2003 by first time actor, writer and director Tommy Wiseau. Somehow Wiseau scraped together a $6 million budget for the film. What resulted is something so bad it may be one of the funniest films ever made.
Some of the gaffs include the camera constantly going in and out of focus, dialogue that reads like it was written by a five year old, acting that would make robots blush, terrible continuity (one character is bearded then clean shaven in the same scene). You can scroll down to see a taste of some of The Room’s finest moments.
So why am I writing about The Room? Because, to much fanfare, a book has now been released about this astonishing ‘achievement’, called The Disaster Artist. It received a glowing review in The New York Times recently.
If you haven’t seen The Room, please do. But if it is out of reach, grab a copy of The Disaster Artist and be enthralled by the complexity of the world’s worst film being adored by millions.
by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell
The hilarious and inspiring story of how a mysterious misfit got past every roadblock in the Hollywood system to achieve success on his own terms: a $6 million cinematic catastrophe called The Room.
Nineteen-year-old Greg Sestero met Tommy Wiseau at an acting school in San Francisco. Wiseau’s scenes were rivetingly wrong, yet Sestero, hypnotized by such uninhibited acting, thought, “I have to do a scene with this guy.” That impulse changed both of their lives. Wiseau seemed never to have read the rule book on interpersonal relationships (or the instructions on a bottle of black hair dye), yet he generously offered to put the aspiring actor up in his LA apartment. Sestero’s nascent acting career first sizzled, then fizzled, resulting in Wiseau’s last-second offer to Sestero of costarring with him in The Room, a movie Wiseau wrote and planned to finance, produce, and direct-in the parking lot of a Hollywood equipment-rental shop.
Wiseau spent $6 million of his own money on his film, but despite the efforts of the disbelieving (and frequently fired) crew and embarrassed (and frequently fired) actors, the movie made no sense. Nevertheless Wiseau rented a Hollywood billboard featuring his alarming headshot and staged a red carpet premiere. The Room made $1800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. One reviewer said that watching The Room was like “getting stabbed in the head.”
The Disaster Artist is Greg Sestero’s laugh-out-loud funny account of how Tommy Wiseau defied every law of artistry, business, and friendship to make “the Citizen Kane of bad movies” (Entertainment Weekly), which is now an international phenomenon, with Wiseau himself beloved as an oddball celebrity. Written with award-winning journalist Tom Bissell, The Disaster Artist is an inspiring tour de force that reads like a page-turning novel, an open-hearted portrait of an enigmatic man who will improbably capture your heart.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
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