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Tommy Wiseau’s The Room: An unintentional MRA classic?

A rare non-misogynistic moment in The Room

You may have heard of, if you haven’t already seen, the stupefyingly terrible film The Room. The film is so bafflingly inept and nonsensical that you’re hardly surprised to learn that writer, director, and star Tommy Wiseau had never made a film before; indeed, you might find yourself wondering if he’d ever even seen a film before.

The Room (released, barely, in 2003 and available on DVD) is a mawkishly melodramatic, and deadly serious, drama about a man betrayed by his fiancee, which Wiseau has been trying to market as a quirky comedy  because no one can watch the film without laughing at his hero’s travails. Rent The Room if you want to stare dumbfounded at your TV for an hour and a half some night. Seriously, rent it.

Seeing it for myself the first time not long ago, I was struck by the manosphere-style misogyny that pervades almost every frame of the movie. It’s not an MRA film, and Wiseau is no MRA, but somehow he manages to encapsulate every terrible stereotype about men and women that most MRAs seem to believe.

The film tells the sad story of Johnny (played by Wiseau), a good-hearted, long-haired banker with an unclassifiable accent who is betrayed at work (he doesn’t get his expected promotion) and, more importantly, by his “future wife” Lisa, who blithely cheats on him with his best friend.

Lisa is portrayed like the evil bitch villain in nearly every MRA urban legend: she’s a self-absorbed twit who, in addition to cheating on Johnny, falsely accuses him of domestic violence and fakes a pregnancy just to fuck with him.

Johnny, meanwhile, is supposed to be seen as a loyal, helpful, compassionate man who cares deeply about his friends and treats his adored “future wife” Lisa like the princess he tells her she is.

I say “supposed to” because Johnny is hardly the great guy Wiseau thinks he is. For one thing, everything he does and says is bit … off, as if his body has been taken over by a space alien who’s learned everything he knows about women (and human interaction in general) by reading comments on Reddit and watching Christopher Walken as “The Continental” on Saturday Night Live without getting the joke.

For another, he’s a rage-filled narcissist with a bad case of “nice guy” entitlement and absolutely no self-awareness. When his friend Mark tells him about a woman beaten so badly she ends up in the hospital, he responds with a hearty laugh. (“What a story, Mark!”) And when he confronts Lisa about her false accusations of domestic violence (“You are lying! I never hit you!”), he angrily shoves her down onto a couch. It doesn’t seem to occur to Johnny (or to Wiseau) that this too is a form of domestic violence.

When, after learning of Lisa’s betrayal, he trashes their apartment and [SPOILER ALERT] kills himself with a conveniently located pistol, Wiseau presents it as the ultimate comeuppance to the cruel Lisa.

While you have to see the whole film to truly appreciate its epic badness, the following clips will give you some idea of what I’ve been talking about.

First, the trailer, which tries its best to cover up the film’s true weirdness:

The infamous “roof scene” in which Johnny tells Mark (the guy Lisa is sleeping with) about Lisa’s accusations of domestic violence:

A compilation of some of Johnny’s best (i.e. worst) moments:

This one (ignore the misleading title) gives you some idea of Lisa’s oblivious evilness:

Here’s Hitler reacting to the film. (Note: Not the real Hitler.)

And here, if you dare, is the whole damn movie in its entirely. (If you’re pressed for time, you may want to fast forward through the film’s five completely unerotic sex scenes, set to the worst slow jams ever recorded.)

EDITED TO ADD: Oh, and here’s the scene the gif above is from. Johnny is the most efficient flower buyer and pug-petter in the world.

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CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

@ Kirby – Thank you for the link to the Nostalgia Critic review! And now I’m going to go dive down the rabbit hole and see what else is on there.

feministgamer
feministgamer
8 years ago

Rifftrax did “MST3K” it, and it’s one of their best.

(first time poster, long time lurker …)

Watched this movie today, then again with the Rifftrax. Probably should have done the Rifftrax first since they sorta warn you about the sex scenes.

But yeah. Misogynistic in general. Whole (nonsensical) scenes about how women are just evil enigmas – but if they’re beautiful, they’re sorta tolerable? Even Lisa’s mother pressures her into thinking buying-me-stuff = you owe him your bod. Bleck.

red_locker
8 years ago

“True fact: I have high gives Wiseau. I saw the movie in theater and he high fived everyone in line. He did Q&A before the movie and was just as articulate as you’d expect.”

Pardon me while I bow before you.

I would give ANYTHING to see Wiseau in person.

Joven
Joven
8 years ago

Also, famous author Hans Von Hozel watched the Room (or not, probably) and wrote some fanfiction – http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6670715/1/The_Room

An RPG podcast I listen to is mildly obsessed with The Room as well, heres their tribute thread on the forums featuring all kinds of crap, multimedia, information, etc – http://slangdesign.com/forums/index.php?topic=465.0

http://i.imgur.com/rWRdp.png

Joven
Joven
8 years ago

Oh, and if you want to delve even more into the Wiseau filmography, he has another movie “The House that Drips Blood on Alex”

LBT
LBT
8 years ago

OMG THE ROOM. I still haven’t managed to see it.

If you need a palate-cleanser afterward, Kirbywarp, I recommend either ‘Eegah’ or ‘Wild Zero!’

Kyrie
Kyrie
8 years ago

In the interest of convincing my bf (with my evil feminine manipulation) that long hair can be sexy as hell on a man (a Machiavellian plan that is actually working not so bad), I think I need to hide to him that this movie and this man with his creepy hair ever existed.

(PS: I’d like to thanks Mozilla’s English correcter that allows me to post while being drunk without making two typos a word. And hug to all non-trolling Manboobzers)

Manjaw the Mighty
8 years ago

Honestly, Wiseau has always set of my mystical Amazonian bullshit-detecting sense.

Given the overwhelming unlikelihood, despite appearances, that he is an extraterrestrial trying and failing to pass as human, I suspect that he was a down-on-his-luck theater major who created the persona of “Tommy Wiseau” and ran with it. Basically I suspect that he is the world’s gutsiest performance artist, and the most epic troll in the history of trolldom. I would even bet my mustache on it.

Manjaw the Mighty
8 years ago

* set OFF

My monstrously thick, sweaty dyke fingers can make typing a little difficult. 🙁 Sometimes I accidentally the verb. Or the noun. Or an article here and there.

Kyrie
Kyrie
8 years ago

Dykes have big fingers? I only new about the long ring finger. You learn every day.

princessbonbon
8 years ago

Mitchell by MST3K is amazing because it is actually a watchable film on its own.

katz
8 years ago

Mitchell and Eegah! are both fantastic! However, my absolute favorite is Space Mutiny. That’s for your lack of knowledge of antique dental equipment!

Jessay (@jessay)
8 years ago

@Rutee Yeah, it’s just, with the MRAs constantly claiming these things as if they’re the most common crime out there (some claiming as high as like 50% of rape reports are false, and treating wrongful imprisonment of rapists as if it’s like an epidemic), I felt like these showing back to back was kind of weird for SVU. Then the next episode, those key phrases were yelled out by people who appeared to be “hysterical” and whatnot, so they weren’t introduced in the most positive of lights. Then at least Det. Benson commented on it in a reasonable way, but still. It’s starting to rub me the wrong way.

@kariface The amount of times he repeats people’s names just in that clip above alone, why is he doing that???

I think I may know the person that Lisa was based off of.

And now we know the story of how buttman became an MRA.

As for mst3k, it’s all about Pod People and Soultaker. They’re the best of the best.

Snowy
Snowy
8 years ago

Oh hai, is it bad that I’ve been listening to this song kind of a lot since yesterday? I think it’s stuck in my head now!

Hannah Solo
8 years ago

My friend Will and I just watched this for the first time last night. I don’t remeber the last time a movie made me laugh throughout the *entire thing*… seriously… a most terrible work of genius.

Blue Jean
Blue Jean
8 years ago

Whoa. Is English Tommy’s fifth language or something? It’s like watching Fabio’s less buff, less attractive, zero talented, zero humored brother.

jules
jules
8 years ago

I was forced to watch this movie twice by my so called ‘friends’ (admittedly they like horrible movies). I now have a new reason to hate them for it but I think I’ll stick to being tied up and having to watch the movie.

Jessay (@jessay)
8 years ago

Yes, my absolute favorite.

…meanwhile, in yet another movie.

Seriously though, Soultaker

Fembot
Fembot
8 years ago

I watched the clip of Hitler watches The Room and died laughing. It made me want to see Downfall on Netflix, which I did a day later. Downfall was pretty disturbing, and put me in a depressed funk for a few days. I don’t think I can watch The Room, unless it involves playing a prank on my husband : )

Bryony
Bryony
8 years ago

The Room is a good example of a movie made for under a tenner.

Robert Ramirez
Robert Ramirez
6 years ago

I am resurrecting this for no apparent reason whatsoever.