…and the quest to see everything

Archive for April 19, 2010

Bad Movie: The Room

(ph. secret)

Worst movie ever?

A friend of a friend who saw this with me said that the worst movie ever is “Battlefield Earth.” That apparently was a Tower of Babel-like effort, watching the fall of a multitude of bricks, just like the worst movie ever must be.

But then I’m paraphrasing what my TA said in person, while showing two scenes from the film to his class, that seeing “The Room” can make anyone appreciate all the other movies ever made because this one’s made so artlessly. Most of the other terrible films has consistent shot by shot continuity but they’re dragged down by a bad script or bad acting. The terrible editing can also make the movie earn its title.

What else? That Lisa (Juliette Danielle) cheating on Johnny (Tommy Wiseau) with Mark looks like Jesus porking post breakdown Britney Spears – also that Juliette Danielle, not the worst actress in the world, sounds like Britney Spears is gross. And yes, she should cheat because Mark’s cuter. Nice casting, Wiseau! And that the sex scenes are like white people and the Robert de Niro Frankenstein cast in a Tyler Perry movie. And that I’m starting to hate guys who buy their girlfriends flowers.

And the offensive interior decoration that looks worse than Harpo’s taste in china. It could be worse – the red/white/brown colour scheme that dominates the rooms don’t drive me crazy. But the random gray marble columns and pipes that ugly up the red walls. That the cast insists on having sex on white surfaces and that is unacceptable except for hotel rooms. That tinted windows and heavy curtains in homes are for poor film productions or Greta Garbo. That hideous faux ermine stole on the sofa with dour looking throw pillows. How a man or his girlfriend manages to have no gay friends in San Francisco is beyond me. Why are there lamps in front of windows? Why do the prints lack character? Why is there a makeshift seating at the foot of the stairs? Why does the hearth look like it was never lit? Why does Lisa’s friend lie down on the couch like that? How rude.

And Lisa’s blonde hair and jet black eyebrows. And Lisa wearing blue eyeshadow after having sex.

And Johnny’s tragic fashion sense looks worse because of his face.

And the worst reaction to a blow job on a friend’s living room.

Tommy Wiseau, after realizing that this is a black comedy and passing it off as thus, and people aren’t buying it. For a few seconds, he gets a believer in me when I hear Lisa’s mother complain about the people who come and go in the house. Then she talks about her cancer again and I’m back at realizing that she’s Wiseau’s unintentionally surrealist creation, just like every other character.

This movie also shatters every other person’s dreams of making a film out of their broken hearts and worry that they might end up repeating this.

How was this in the big screen? I’d say go and see in with a friend on DVD/whatever first. Then go to the screening. Half of the crowd’s surprisingly good-looking but they’re a rambunctious crowd. I couldn’t even hear what the characters were saying half the time, and for a while I’m thinking this is just a mediocre movie with too much hype. And I was sober.

They did, however, hold the sanctity of that flower shop scene and quieted down. And the shadows of the spoons thrown towards the screen was mesmerizing to look at.

May 21 at the Royal, for those who dare.

The Crazies

(ph. OutNow)

Half of this post will be mostly me chickening out of grandiose statements. I’m not alone in what I’m gonna say, but I still don’t feel comfortable writing it. And note that I haven’t seen the original for comparison, and that I have a short list of DVD’s I’ve yet to see so the original version of this movie’s on the bottom of the list. Anyway, here goes.

Everyone else has pretty much said that this is a zombie movie without zombies. Stark realism, yadda. Instead of seeing sub-humans walking with their hands in front of them, the film shows the sheriff David Dutton (Timothy Oliphant) shooting his neighbor and bearing the consequences of doing so. The film also shows a man killing his wife and child rendered more as familial abuse than a zombie’s act. Horror is masculine camp in a way that you’re expecting a monster that you know doesn’t exist, and in turn you’re scared like you’re shrieking in a roller coaster ride. When you witness realistic events in a movie while expecting to watch fantastical ones, you’re more uncomfortable than scared. Not necessarily a bad thing.

What adds to my discomfort is the political message of the film. It’s subtly presented (no speeches, etc.), but I can still see it, and since I’m on the one side of the spectrum I’m worried about those who might watch this movie representing the opposite. The crazies are toting guns and killing their wives because they’re drinking government Kool-Aid water by mistake. And since Ogden Marsh, Iowa is already crazy, the government doesn’t wanna be accountable and wants to kill off the town, shooting family members in front of each other, and does so except for our sheriff and his doctor wife (Radha Mitchell). Familiar.

The film also follows the Romero formula of scary stuff, a few people try to get away, they have misadventures, scary stuff follow them for a final showdown. With the Duttons is the sheriff’s gun-toting but altruistic deputy and a great teenage screamer, all four competently presented as complex gender archetypes. It’s acceptable enough of a formula, but what it’s used against kinda peeves me.