July 15, 2008
There is definitely a non-zero chance that I have rented some number of rooms at the Stratosphere, for an unspecified duration at some point in the future.
July 13, 2008
Gina and her friend Ana are off in the other room, laughing and trying on clothes. I am in the living room (where it is cooler), reading really critical message board threads on my laptop.
Ian, what do you think?
Gina enters the room. She stands for a moment on display. I look up.
To Ana:See, he doesn’t even notice the difference.
No, Wait! It looks great! Fantastic! I can’t believe I even liked you the old way!
But it’s too late. I failed.
July 11, 2008
At least, according to the people of New York.
July 1, 2008
Saturday night, Gina and I went to see The Room, a comically terrible film that’s gained a cult following, and shows monthly at midnight at the Laemmle theater on Sunset. Last Saturday was the fifth anniversary of its opening, an occasion special enough to warrant two screenings.
The film is laughably bad. Horrendously bad. Holiday Special bad.
But I know I will have a good time. I know this because people don’t come for the movie, they come for the audience, and because the group we are with includes one of the film’s actresses. Robyn is a friend of Gina’s, and occasionally makes the pilgrimage, incognito, bolstered by her friends and the fact that the movie’s faults are not due to any of hers. She wears dark glasses and a wig in hopes of going unrecognized (which doesn’t quite happen). Gina wears a wig and goth makeup. I am sporting a handlebar mustache drawn on in eyebrow pencil, and one heavily shadowed and mascara-ed eye, a la Alex. A few other members of our party have other facial hair or designs drawn on their face, and a few other people are dressed as characters from the movie, but most people are unadorned.
We line up outside the theater thirty minutes before it opens, and everyone cheers when Tommy Wiseau, the writer/director/actor/producer of the film arrives. He comes to every showing, and does a Q & A session beforehand.
We eventually file in and receive our souvenir beach balls, with the event details precisely hand-written on each in red sharpie. I cannot imagine how much time that must have taken.
Disappointingly, we do not get to ask Wiseau any questions before the show. But he does come in to the theater and wish us a good show before it starts. Several people have brought large boxes of plastic spoons, and are passing them out.
The film opens to a shot of Alcatraz.
Then there is a montage of cable cars and hilly terrain and the Golden Gate. We are in San Francisco. The opening credits appear on the screen, and the audience comments on them. At one name, the audience shouts:
Then we see The Room. Johnny (Wiseau) arrives home to give his fiancee, Lisa, a gift, wrapped in leopard-print paper.
“Don’t open it. There’s a leopard in the box!”
Wiseau speaks with an accent I can’t quite place, and delivers every line in an offhandedly hurried manner, as though he is compelled to speak, but doesn’t quite believe himself. Lisa opens the box to reveal a red dress. As she is admiring it, Denny, the next-door neighbor kid, played by an actor in his thirties, enters.
“Hi, Denny!” greets the audience.
The three talk for a bit, and then Lisa and Johnny excuse themselves to the bedroom, leaving Denny downstairs.
“Follow them!” suggests the audience.
Denny sneaks upstairs and leers at the lovers until he is discovered, at which time the three have a pillowfight and Johnny tells Denny he has to go.
Denny will later be threatened by a drug dealer and confess his love of Lisa to Johnny, who will shrug it off, as he does all basic sensory input, since it will not yet be time for Johnny to become concerned about Lisa’s fidelity. But, before that happens, we get to watch a really uncomfortable and unnecessarily long sex scene. The audience groans louder and louder as the actors, neither of whom is particularly pleasing to the eye, thrust in an unnatural manner.
“Oh, yeah. Just like that. I love it in my bellybutton!”
The scene finally ends, and I foolishly relax, since I don’t know that there will be a reprise of it later. And not just another sex scene, but the same scene, literally, shot from slightly different angles, will be used later.
And there’s much, much more. A few highlights.
The morning after, the alarm clock begins to beep. It’s partly covered by a sheet, so we can only ever see the minutes.
“Wake up, wake up. It’s twenty-eight!”
There are certain discrepancies between the script and the shot. At the pivotal scene of betrayal, the easily beguiled seductee Mark remarks on the romantic setup, not in evidence:
Mark: “The candles…”
Mark: “…the music…”
Mark: “…the sexy dress.”
“What sexy dress?!”
In fact, the script doesn’t even manage to be internally consistent. Early in the movie, the lovers are said to have been together for five years (“seven!” corrects the audience), but at the end the characters repeatedly say they have been together for “seven years”, each time, again, helpfully corrected by the audience (“five!”). Last night’s showing was the fifth anniversary, so when the curtain dropped, chants of “Five more years!” abruptly changed, midstream, to “Seven more years!”
Spoons. The apartment is mysteriously decorated with pictures of spoons. Any time a spoon is in the shot, the audience shouts “Spoon!” and people throw spoons in the air.
There are several scenes in which the characters toss a football back and forth. Not, like, go outside and play catch, but gently toss, underhanded, a football back and forth over a few feet. Whenever this happens, people who have brought footballs to the theater stand up and play catch with people who are a few seats away
“Careful, don’t go too far. Yeah, ok, toss it back now.”
But the best part of the night was, when Robyn is onscreen, and the guy sitting next to me, not knowing that she’s sitting three seats away, shouts
“Why does the only hot chick not get naked?!”