The Tab Guide to The Room

As the Citizen Kane of bad movies arrives at Christ’s Films this week, CHLOE MASHITER gives you her guide to the spoon-infested world of The Room.

Chloe Mashiter christs Film lisa mark spoons the room top 5 worst film

Thank Christ (‘s films) – what has been dubbed ‘The Citizen Kane of bad films’ comes to Cambridge this week. Rarely screened in the UK, let alone on Cindies’ doorstep, The Room has spawned a fiercely loyal cult of fans who adore it in spite of – or rather, because of – it’s numerous and glaring flaws. However, if you’re one of the uninitiated, help yourself to The Tab’s crash course in the biggest offense against celluloid since Paris Hilton decided to invest in a night-vision camera:

The Basics

The Room is all down to one man: the frankly bizarre Tommy Wiseau. He funded, wrote, directed and starred in the film, despite boasting a delivery that makes Stephen Hawking sound lucid. Looking like a mid-Fly Jeff Goldblum on a bad hair day, he is probably the strangest leading man in the history of cinema.

The film itself follows Johnny (Wiseau), his ‘future wife’ Lisa, their mutual friend (oh, hi) Mark and clingy teen Denny, as Lisa and Mark’s affair wreaks havoc on all their lives. Think Tennessee Williams as written by a barely literate hermit. Subplots are introduced and abandoned with the minimum of care – Lisa’s mother casually mentions her impending demise due to breast cancer, but this revelation is forgotten as easily your best friend from Freshers’ week.

Lastly, to put the film in even sharper perspective (handy, since it frequently blurs in and out of focus) – don’t be fooled into thinking this is some decades-old relic, simply outdone by Avatar-esque standards. The Room was released a mere seven years ago in 2003, the same year as flicks such as Finding Nemo and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Why is it so bad?

When the only success that a film can boast is that it simply exists, you know it’s done very little right. The acting makes Keanu Reeves look nuanced, whilst the script is filled with implausible and baffling lines such as the classic ‘keep your stupid comments in your pocket!’ Add to this a ridiculous plot and production values lower than the standards at a Mahal swap and you have the most glorious, hilarious mess ever committed to film. The Room transcends the concept of ‘so bad it’s good’, being so unremittingly awful that it makes for one of the best moviegoing experiences you could wish for.


Much like The Rocky Horror Picture Show (just with less cross-dressing and more implausible characters), screenings of The Room come laden with countless traditions – whilst there are far too many to list here, we’ve come up with some of our favourites:

–    Spoons. Attend a screening of the The Room without a fistful of plastic cutlery and you’ll stick out like a teetotaller in Cindies. Whenever you spot a framed photo of cutlery in Johnny and Lisa’s apartment (it’s not as rare as you’d think), hurl some spoons screen-ward.
–    Sestosterone. Whenever Greg Sestero (aka Mark) is onscreen, greet him with the catchy phrase that’s practically a Room/Powerthirst mashup.
–    Football. As a fitting tribute to the many impromptu, inappropriate games of catch played throughout the film, indulge in playing (American) football in possibly the most awkward venue ever: a darkened room full of strangers eating, drinking, and trying to concentrate.
–    Misogyny. For the Wyvern in all of us, appropriate Room etiquette is to shout ‘because you’re a WOMAN!’ at any time that the film’s casual sexism comes to the fore.
–    Drinking. Naturally, there are plenty of drinking games attached to the film, but possibly the best is simply downing the movie’s signature tipple: Skotchka. You heard me – one part scotch to one part vodka, the drink ‘enjoyed’ by Johnny and Lisa should only be attempted by the strongest of livers.

So there you have it: a brief insight into the shambolic yet superb world of The Room. Catch it at Christ’s, if you can since, despite my efforts, there really are no words to describe this monument to cinematic ineptitude.

The Room is on in the New Court Theatre, Christ’s College, at 9pm on Thursday 18th November. Tickets are £3. Bring your own spoons.