- Street Date:
- December 28th, 2012
- Reviewed by:
- Eric Bennett
- Review Date: 1
- February 3rd, 2015
- Movie Release Year:
- Wiseau Films
- 99 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
Please welcome Eric Bennett to High-Def Digest!
Eric saw Star Wars in 1977 as a kid, and still can't shake the image of the Star Destroyer in the first minutes of the film, or meeting Darth Vader in K-mart later that year. An avid comic book collector, he happily brags about owning Hulk #181, the first real appearance of Wolverine. He currently works in Blu-ray quality control and edits for fun in his spare time, except on Sundays, when he watches his beloved Seahawks. Eric claims My Left Foot as his favorite movie, Apocalypse Now as the most incredible movie ever made, and insists Better Off Dead is the most underrated Christmas movie of all time. You can find him every year at his favorite event, the San Diego Comic-Con, or gallivanting around the world to quench his lust for travel.
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Let me get this out of the way first. This is an extremely difficult movie to review because I can easily take the route of snark and state the obvious, that it's the Holy Grail of "bad" movies, and amateur on almost any measurable level. Or I can just lay this on the line: this is massively entertaining. Not a single soul I've come across who's witnessed it has anything but a smile when talking about it.
"Can you really trust anyone?" That's the question Tommy Wiseau, the producer, director, lead, the everything man asks. I would say no after watching this movie. The story centers around Johnny, played by Wiseau, as a excessively sympathetic banker with a heart of gold and an endless bouquet of roses for his immoral, sociopathic fiancee Lisa (played by Juliette Danielle). What's especially wacky about their apartment building is that they share it with a mentally unstable teenager, Denny, who is in love with Lisa, nurses a drug habit (and a drug debt), and doesn't know when to scram when Johnny and Lisa are in the mood for lovemaking. Add one more neighbor to the love rectangle, Mark (Johnny's best friend, played by Greg Sestero), and you've got hot water, folks.
The movie is set in San Francisco. In fact, it seems a quarter of the movie is stock film of San Francisco. Everything seems to be going well for our protagonist in the beginning. Johnny is up for a promotion, Lisa is at home, all smiles with nothing to do, and they dig each other. After a seemingly never-ending sex scene between the two, trouble begins to brew. Johnny doesn't get the promotion, and Lisa, bored with her home-life and lusting after Johnny's best friend, lures Mark into another seemingly never-ending sex scene, and the betrayal begins. Various scenes go nowhere: the kid in the building, Denny, has a drug habit, Lisa's mom has cancer, a couple shows up out of nowhere to make love in Johnny and Lisa's apartment, etc. It doesn't make much sense when it happens, and Wiseau never follows up on any of it as the writer and director. Eventually, the specter of a wedding between the two leads detonates during Johnny's birthday party, and Lisa's dalliance is revealed. Johnny, fed up with this world, decides a gun to the mouth is the only solution, and <POW>, the movie ends with tragedy, and fades to black. None of this seems as unrealistic as the main character pulling up and easily finding a parking spot in front of a flower shop in San Francisco.
The only real issue for me is watching it alone vs. how it's intended - to be viewed with a crowd, preferably a rowdy one. The movie exploded as a cult hit based on the crowd shouting and interjecting MST3K-style at the screen during the film. It's one of the craziest viewings I've ever been part of, and the audience energy absolutely feeds into all the laughs I had during it. This alone spurred me to have my own "Room" screening at my home as part of a Razzie night, and it was unequivocally a hit, and won over new fans that night. Nobody I know who has seen it dislikes it. Wiseau has stated repeatedly he wants the viewer to "express themselves" with laughter, tears, whatever emotion they're feeling. He may not have had any idea what he was doing when he made this film, but he knows what he's doing now as he promotes it around the world.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
The Room comes as a BD25 and is region-free. One odd thing I noticed is anytime the menu loops, the buttons drop out on the main menu and has to be redrawn again. Also, there are no pop-up menus.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
The video on this release is a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 encode at 1.85:1. Tommy Wiseau claims this is the first film shot simultaneously on HD and 35mm cameras. One thing is for sure, the consistency of the source material is not always there. The HD camera footage exhibits noise and a softer image, especially in the darker scenes, whereas the 35mm footage holds up pretty well throughout. Daytime scenes look good for both, and when subjects in close-up are in focus, there's nice detail. Contrast is low throughout. There's some odd source moments, like a shot at 16:48 that's horribly out of focus, and at 22:22, where I spotted a missing frame. At 42:37, there's a flash of a black frame between two shots. These are small anomalies though, and nothing too jarring. I've seen this film at a theater and on DVD, and I can safely say this is a cleaner, and much more detailed improvement. Not surprisingly, the best shots are the stock footage of San Francisco that Tommy purchased.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The only audio option is a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. It's more than up for the task, dialogue is clear and always center. Even when it's love moans with no one on camera moving their lips. When music plays, it is mixed well in the front and rear surrounds. There's nothing exciting about the audio on the disc, but there's nothing wrong with it either, aside from a good number of Wiseau's lines being dubbed.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
These materials were also present on the DVD:
Short Trailer (SD, :39). Very short trailer advertising this as "The best movie of the year."
Long Trailer (SD, 2:18). Longer version of the trailer.
Deleted Scenes (SD, 3:52). All the scenes shown feature Denny and the thug on the rooftop.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
Behind the Scenes (SD, 20:05). Mostly showing setup of cameras and scenes, but some funny moments (mostly from Tommy) bossing the actors and others around. I noticed the original DVD release also has a shorter "Behind the Scenes", but it shows different segments than this release.
Picture Gallery (HD, 5:32). Video edit of various photos set to music from the film. Consists mainly of in-movie shots and some amusing candid moments.
Tommy Wiseau Interview (HD, 9:06). Funny, mostly strange stream of consciousness from Tommy Wiseau answering questions about the making of the film. It appears to be Greg Sestero ("Mark") asking the questions off-camera.
Eric Chase, Greg Sestero, and Tommy Wiseau interview (HD, 5:58). More funny back-stories from the making of the movie.
With improved picture quality and new extras, I can recommend this disc as an upgrade, and to anyone into Razzie movies wanting to screen a movie for a group of people and have a blast. Obviously, any serious cinema lovers or single viewers may be totally disinterested. This movie has been called a lot of things, but I'll never call it a "bad" movie, as it stands as one of the most fun, memorable, and hilarious films I've ever watched. A definite upgrade from the DVD, and recommended, with a smile.
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