Tommy Wiseau’s The Room
I have a bad habit of putting this column off until the last possible second. This week, of course, I had a pretty good excuse - I've been online with everyone else, watching Rob Ford's mayoralty melt down in the most spectacular fashion.
It's like we're living in an alternate universe where Toronto is ruled by the Mad King whispered about on Game Of Thrones, and nobody's willing to admit it. Black is white; up is down; drunk (or worse) is sober as a judge, and so on. Every time I go into a screening, I half-expect to emerge into Thunderdome.
Fortunately, there's an easy way to figure out if it's the world that's gone mad, or us. Tommy Wiseau's The Room is back in town, celebrating its 10th anniversary with screenings tonight, Saturday and Sunday at the Royal.
The Room is the work of a madman - an inexplicable, unpackable drama about a few days in the life of Johnny a San Francisco ladies' man whose glad-handing ways mask a terror of abandonment. I think Johnny's supposed to be a hopeless romantic, but Wiseau plays him as a dangerously unbalanced individual who intimidates everyone around him with the threat of humiliation or worse.
It's like a nightmare version of that Twilight Zone episode about the omnipotent little boy who terrorizes his small town into saying every awful thing he does is wonderful. And that mindset extends beyond the world of The Room; Wiseau somehow forced his collaborators to shoot The Room simultaneously in both HD and 35mm, with two cameras locked together on a platform so neither shot is ever properly centred, creating a genuinely disorienting aesthetic that makes the whole thing feel like it's just seconds from slipping into total chaos.
If you can watch The Room and think it makes sense - or if Wiseau seems like a genius auteur rather than a raving loon at the Q&As scheduled to follow every screening - then maybe the world really has gone crazy. Or maybe it's just us, and Rob Ford's been the sanest man in Toronto all along.
But I kinda doubt it. We're talking about The Room, after all.