Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 film, “The Room,” has gained notoriety for being one of the worst movies ever made. But it is now a cult classic – and the outlandish Wiseau a cultural phenom – inspiring the Hollywood film, “The Disaster Artist.” The film, starring and directed by James Franco, is an adaptation of Wiseau costar Greg Sestero’s nonfiction book of the same name, which chronicles the peculiar creation of “The Room.”
This October and November, colleges across America will hold screenings of “The Room” for the film’s campus tour, with students dressing as the characters and reveling in its absurdity. All colleges participating in the campus tour will be entered into a contest to win an advance screening of “The Disaster Artist.”
The University of Miami kicks off the tour at the Bill Cosford Cinema on campus Oct. 23. The screening will be put on by the Cinematics Arts Commission (CAC), which brings classic and award-winning movies and unreleased previews to college campuses.
“The Room” first became infamous for its poor delivery and awkward dialogue. Much of the audio was badly re-dubbed, usually as a result of Wiseau missing cues and forgetting his lines.
“‘The Room’ has been regarded as the ‘Best Worst’ movie ever made,” said Tamsen Lake, head of CAC. “It’s one of those, it’s so terrible, you have to see it films. Tommy Wiseau creates a cult classic, with iconic lines delivered so poorly it’s comical.”
It’s littered with awkward love scenes between characters with no chemistry and totally unrealistic situations, like a group of men playing football in the streets of San Francisco while wearing tuxedos. Even more absurd: The film is supposedly semi-autobiographical.
“It was made with great passion by a filmmaker whose skills did not match his desire to make a film,” said Robert “Trae” DeLellis, director of Cosford. “Some cult classics come to our attention through this mismatch, and the audience unites and takes pleasure in a film’s mistakes and shortcomings.”
Film buffs aren’t the only ones excited about “The Room.” The obscure film suits college students’ taste for bizarre humor and desire to find hidden-gem films to add to their repertoires.
“A lot of people seeing ‘The Disaster Artist’ may not know the history of ‘The Room,’” UM journalism major Edward Punales, 25, said. “Seeing it before ‘The Disaster Artist’ would be a much more enriching experience. You also get that hipster pride of saying, ‘I saw ‘The Room’ before it was cool.’”
The film has recently garnered attention for Wiseau’s bizarre antics and mysterious background. Wiseau was meticulous in the delivery of each line, making actors redo scenes countless times until he was pleased. He is credited as a producer, actor, director and executive producer to maximize creative control. He was never satisfied with others on set, firing and replacing the entire behind-the-scenes crew twice.
“He may be a bad director, but he’s entertaining lots of people and is living pretty comfortably off of that film,” UM psychology major Israel Aragon Bravo said. “In terms of creating a cultural phenomenon, maybe he’s more of a genius.”
Wiseau tells contradictory stories about his upbringing and family. He claims to be from New Orleans, but his thick Eastern European accent is far from a Cajun drawl. But these inconsistencies only increase the film’s intrigue.
“It’s not about watching the film and all of its weirdness, but you feel like you’re getting a window into this strange person’s mind,” Punales said. “It’s a movie made with passion, even though he didn’t know what he was doing.”
True to his flair for the dramatic, Wiseau likes to surprise fans by showing up unannounced at screenings of his cult classic.
“He’s an enigma,” Aragon Bravo, 20, said. “That’s part of the interest in this God-awful movie.”
“The Room” will screen at 9 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Bill Cosford Cinema on the University of Miami Coral Gables campus. Admission is free for students. For more information, call 305-284-4861 or email email@example.com.