The Room “LIVE”: equal parts horrifying and hilarious

Caught the local premiere of the notorious cult classic (?), The Room, at The Projector on Saturday (25th July 2015) with Louise and Wei Li (Wheels). When Wheels told us about it our first reaction was yes, let’s do it — we’d been making references to and spurting lines from the film for years. I had heard of theatre screenings of the film being done in cinemas in North America and the antics that go on during. I went into the film hoping that the atmosphere wouldn’t be dampened — this is Singapore, not exactly known for the enthusiastic appreciation of things “so bad, it’s good“.

The Projector wasn’t hard to find, minus the fact that we mixed up Golden Mile Complex and Golden Mile Tower. Finding ourselves in a lift full of skimpily dressed sequined ladies and a cloud of cigarette smoke wasn’t the most comfortable experience. When we entered they handed each audience member a few plastic spoons and I was ecstatic because I’d considered bringing my own but ended up being too lazy to. A few guys even dressed up in tuxedos for the event. The crowd of maybe a hundred was made up of… for lack of a better word, hipsters and foreigners (not  mutually exclusive). They were a fun group to watch the film with, unafraid to yell things at inappropriate intervals.

The film was slated to run at 9:30 PM but there were a few delays and the reel began only around 10. Before the actual screening a staff member came on stage and gave some pointers on what phrases to yell out during certain scenes — I found that kind of puzzling at first, because I’d assumed the process was wholly organic: just jeer, cheer and throw spoons whenever you liked but I guess this pre-show guide did help foster a kind of orderly chaos, which wasn’t unpleasant.

I’d watched the film before, grainy and with poor audio quality on YouTube, but nothing could have prepared me for the gratuitous shot of Tommy Wiseau’s (“Johnny”) pasty, wrinkled ass on the big screen. The audience screamed accordingly and with derision at almost every scene — “OH MY GOD, UNFOCUS!” “WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?” “SPOON!” Iconic moments (“I did naaaaht. O hai Mark!”) were repeated word for word by seasoned viewers of this godawful film. There was hardly a quiet moment during the screening; the air was filled with either loud yelling, cackling laughter or feigned gasps as the poor attempt at a romantic, psychological drama morphed into a surreal comedy. It was glorious.

The film concluded (spoilers ahead) aptly with Johnny’s suicide, as the brain cells of those viewing it took several gunshots to the mouth as well. All in all it was an enjoyable experience I didn’t mind paying $11 for. The crowd dispersed and the lights slowly undimmed revealing the floor of the venue — littered with white plastic spoons. As we quickly shuffled off to catch the last bus, I figured that I’d probably never felt more comfortable shouting profanity and sexual innuendo at fictional characters in a public setting. Maybe it was because the venue was dark, giving me some form of anonymity, or that everyone else was jeering along with me — a sense of solidarity.

Or maybe The Room was just so fucking bad I couldn’t help myself.

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