A Reflection on The Room from a First-Time Viewer

Joe Meola ‘25 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Coolidge Corner Theater hosted its annual midnight screening of the 2003 film The Room on September 16. A critical and financial failure, this film by Tommy Wiseau has since gained a ridiculously strong cult following. Whileconsidered one of the worst films of all time, The Room is beloved due to its wacky and unrealistic dialogue, ridiculous set designs, and insane behind-the-scenes drama.

The film follows Johnny (Wiseau) and his descent into madness as his fiancé Lisa (Juliette Danielle) cheats on him with his best friend Mark (Sestero). 

Due to the film’s legendary status as a meme that has endured for two decades, I had heard of the film and some of its iconic lines and history but never given it a watch. Nothing could prepare me for the experience I was about to have when I arrived at the Coolidge. My roommate and I entered a line that wrapped all the way around the theater, packed with excited audience members eagerly clutching boxes of plastic spoons in their hands. 

I was taken aback by the level of excitement and the sheer amount of people who came to see The Room. Wasn’t this supposed to be an awful movie?

The crowd eagerly filed into the building, greeted by the theater’s honored guest of the evening, Greg Sestero, one of the film’s stars, selling a variety of merchandise from DVDs to copies of his book The Disaster Artist to autographed plastic spoons. We entered our seats and roared in excitement as Sestero went to the front of the theater to speak, and that vigorous enthusiasm did not die down once the lights dimmed.

This was my only experience in a movie theater in which audience participation was not only accepted but also encouraged. We chanted “Water!” during the near-endless establishing shots of bodies of water, made gobbling sounds whenever two characters would share an incredibly-awkward kissing scene, and cried out in outrage when Lisa cheated on Johnny with Mark. To make it even better, Sestero himself provided commentary throughout the entire screening, telling jokes and occasional anecdotes via a microphone.

The best part, though, was the spoons! I was so confused why everyone had spoons (myself included, as I was advised to do so), until the first collective “SPOONS!” shout, followed by a barrage of plastic spoons being flung forwards. In the set of Tommy and Lisa’s apartment, there are various picture frames set up as props. However, there were never any pictures placed in them, so audiences were treated to framed stock photos of spoons, hence why many present-day screenings of the film are filled with audience members armed to the teeth with plastic spoons, ready to throw them when one appears on screen.

In addition to the popular bits that occur at most screenings of the film—like the spoons—there were plenty of hilarious chants and one-liners shouted out on the spot. One chant that occurred several times throughout the screening was “Fuck you, Lisa.” Toward the end of the film, after a repetition of that chant, the person sitting in front of me added, “Yeah! Fuck you, Lisa!” before saying, “My mom’s name is Lisa…”

I responded, “Hey, mine too!”

It was a hilarious moment that those in our vicinity seemed to really enjoy.

Overall, is The Room a good movie? Not in the slightest. It is a genuinely terrible film. However, it is a terrible film that you absolutely need to watch, specifically with a crowd. The experience of watching this movie with a large crowd was truly unforgettable. Because of the actively collaborative nature of viewing the film, you’ll get a different experience every time, with new recurring bits cooked up by fellow viewers.

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