Room for the Nostalgia Critic, The Disaster Artist, and Rifftrax
When I think of The Room, three names come to mind: Doug Walker, Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero. One of the first friends I made in Canada recommended that I visit thatguywiththeglasses.com, a site that, among other things, reviews movies. In particular, a Nostalgia Critic review of The Room was endorsed. One quiet Saturday afternoon in 2011, I found the review on youtube. It was hilarious! I instantly became a Nostalgia Critic Fan.
The next Nostalgia Critic video I watched was called The Tommy Wiseau Show, where Doug parodies an interaction he had with Wiseau Films. Doug had received an email from John (of theroommovie.com) threatening to sue him for using copyrighted images. Fearing legal ramifications, Doug’s review, along with Obscurus Lupa’s review, was removed from the site. Thankfully, both reviews were later reposted.
Some years later, Doug met with Greg Sestero, the actor who played Mark in The Room. (Mark was Johnny’s best friend. Johnny was played by Tommy Wiseau.) Greg even appeared in a Nostalgia Critic Video, where he reprised the role of Mark.
Doug also interviewed Greg in a Shut up and Talk video where he provided some idea of what it was like to work with Tommy Wiseau. But to get a more complete picture, read The Disaster Artist. In the book, Greg presents a funny, touching, and eye-opening Tommy Wiseau. Tommy apparently values his privacy enormously, but The Disaster Artist gives the reader a chance to peek through the keyhole of The Room and the unique individual behind it all.
The Disaster Artist suggests that Tommy has had a traumatic past. The Room may have been a vehicle he used to release the pain he had been carrying, a chance for him to open his mind and heart to a country he had come to love. I believe Tommy Wiseau was earnestly trying to get a very serious, heartfelt message across to its audience. Unfortunately, due to the dialogue and stylistic choices made, the movie was not received well by audiences as a drama, but exceeded all expectations as a black comedy.
“If a lot of people loved each other, the world would be a better place to live.” ~ Johnny, The Room
Released in 2003, The Room made $1,800 during its first two weeks of screening. (Production of The Room cost an estimated $6 Million). But unlike so many box office flops, The Room would not go away. Since it had been opened, The Room was never to be locked up again.It grew a cult-like following with midnight screenings, and this year, Rifftrax released their take on The Room in theatres across the USA and Canada.
It was surprising that Rifftrax was granted permission to use the footage, where Doug Walker was threatened with a law suit. Evidently, Tommy had a change of heart. As is revealed in The Disaster Artist, Tommy used the alias “John”, so it is possible that the email Doug received was from Mr Wiseau himself.
“Leave your stupid comments in your pocket!” – Mark, The Room
In a turn of events, Tommy agreed to an interview with Doug. Both Tommy and Doug are to be commended for putting aside any hard feelings they may have had (or still have) for one another. In my opinion, despite Doug’s tongue-in-cheek questions, there was a level of mutual respect.
It is ironic that while many people, myself included, would never have heard of The Room were it not for Doug Walker, Wiseau Films had demanded that the review (recommending that people see the movie) be taken down. I would never have heard of Greg Sestero were it not for Tommy Wiseau. In a post-screening Questions and Answers session, Greg was asked what his off-camera relationship with Tommy was like. Greg answered that they were best friends. This may have been a reference from The Room (Mark repeatedly states that Johnny is his best friend, but later betrays him). The Disaster Artist describes their relationship and its complexities. My sincere hope is that life does not imitate art, and that Greg does not appear to betray Tommy by allowing a hurtful portrayal of Tommy in the upcoming film adaptation of The Disaster Artist.
“You can laugh, you can cry, you can express yourself but please don’t hurt each other.” ~ Tommy Wiseau