by Lucy Leitner
The Room may be the worst movie ever made. It’s a story of a love triangle, but the numerous divergent plot lines turn it into a dodecagon with sides that never meet. Terrible filmmaker Tommy Wiseau’s opus of bizarre ineptitude has inspired a book (The Disaster Artist, which is being adapted for screen by talented people Seth Rogen and James Franco), a video game, and legions of devotees that make screenings of the film a Rocky Horror-like spectacle. Badness of this level is rare, such ineptitude an art form that warrants academic study as a hilarious lesson on the inverse relationship between confidence and ability.
The University of Pittsburgh Film Department will screen this “Citizen Kane of bad movies” as part of its Cult Film course on campus next Wednesday evening. The event will be an immersive experience in the world of cult cinema, from viewing a recent classic to understand what characteristics inspire cultish devotion and the behavior of said cults.
Devotees of The Room engage in several customs at set times in the film. They greet auteur/actor Tommy Wiseau when he appears on the screen, count aloud allusions to the best friendship between the two male leads, and shout when the film goes in and out of focus. In honor of the cutlery-based art that provides mise-en-scene throughout the film, attendees will receive plastic spoons to hurl at the screen. The Film Department will also provide spongy footballs for audience members to follow along when characters toss a football on screen.
Get familiar with the full scope of The Room audience participation with this definitive guide from The Onion’s AV Club.
The event is free but, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, non-perishable food donations are encouraged to be sent to local food banks.