The Room (2003) which has Tommy Wiseau as writer, director, producer, and star is such a terrible film that it has acquired cult status with special screenings so that true aficionados of bad films can watch it in the company of others and collectively revel in its sheer awfulness. I reviewed the film back in 2011 and described some of the things that made it, as one wag wrote, the Citizen Kane of bad films.
Tom Bissell wrote a book The Disaster Artist about Wiseau and the making of the film. Dean Peterson has made a short video trying to understand the film’s appeal.
According to Bissell, the film gets its “bizarro power” from the fact that it’s “a movie that was made by someone who had maybe seen some movies but didn’t really understand how they were supposed to work.”
Contrary to what you may think, researchers have found that an appreciation of this kind of “trash cinema” can actually indicate higher levels of intelligence. Trash films share more characteristics with avant-garde art films than they do with typical commercial Hollywood fare. Audiences are drawn to both “trash” and “art” films for many of the same reasons, like their transgressive nature and their rejection of mainstream aesthetic norms.
Now there is a film The Disaster Artist based on Bissell’s book starring James Franco as Wiseau. It will be released in December of this year. Here’a a teaser trailer.
I have got to see this film.