Posts Tagged ‘the room’

Cabin in the Woods (2012) – Drew Goddard (Dir.), Chris Hemsworth, Richard Jenkins, Kristen Connelly, Anna Hutchinson, Fran Kranz, Bradley Whitford

Ticket sales were bloated when fans believed this was the sequel to the finale of the David Bowie Opus: Labyrinth

Ah, a return to my roots. Yes, this was the ultimate choice for my Spooktacular Hallow-Mooney Watch-a-thon 2012. Like the prodigal son returning to his homestead, bearing the bounties which he has reaped after hours upon hours of watching both brilliant and turd-ilicious films, I came back to Cabin in the Woods. To those of you who read this blog with some regularity, you might know that this is the film that encouraged me to begin writing on the Interwebs in the first place. Unfortunately, it’s faint praise. When this movie, the brain child of Joss “King of Hollywood, Apparently” Whedon and Drew “That Other Guy” Goddard, appeared on my radar a couple of years ago, sporting several rather uninspired, blood-red posters, I looked at it. I mehed. I moved on. And then, my hetero-life-mate managed to steal himself a seat (perhaps at the demise of other unbeknownst theater-goers, I haven’t asked and he hasn’t told) at a preview of this glorious batshit experiment in meta-film. He returned declaring one thing, “YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE IMMEDIATELY” and whet my palette with only a single, nonsensical spoiler: “There is a scene where Richard Jenkins is staring at a TV showing a bunch of Japanese girls and yells, ‘Fuck you, fuck you and fuck YOU.'” Well. How could my critical testes not wet themselves with anticipation? And why do my balls get wet? Is that something I should see a doctor about? Is it just sweat or some kind of unhealthy discharge? Anybody who has an medical advice, please don’t share it because it is embarrassing. Moving along…

If this is a face for radio, I vote to burn all radios.

When it came out, I saw this movie twice in three days. That’s right, TWICE IN THREE DAYS. It was at that moment, on my return from the second viewing, that I realized I had seen nothing of substance in months and, thus, in my pitiful delightfully whimsical singlehood, I turned on Melancholia and have never looked back. How appropriate then, should this movie be for viewing on Halloween night, surrounded by my movie-junkies and other assorted nutcases friends? Like the old dude in the Seven Samurai, or Yul Brynner, or some other bald gentleman of gravitas, I marched from village to village, recruiting the greatest warriors this land had to offer! (Translation: I made a Facebook event). We had the original, Alex “Steve “The Hurricane” McQueen” Huntsberger; his companion, the Queen of Snark, the Surfer of Internets, the Uncomfortably Knowledgable about Game of Thrones Meg; Vanessa: The Bearded Lady;  Theora: Frida “Holy Unibrow Batman!” Kahlo; Alex “Stranded Because of a Hurricane” Lubischer; Zack: The English; Erin “Ladies Who Lunch” Coleman; and of course, my lady of Vanderbilt. It was a crew worthy of a motion picture! But, instead, we settled for snacks and copious amounts of wine. As the libations flowed, the popcorn was nommed, and the candy, OH THE CANDY, was stuffed into mouths, we pressed play on this modern classic, sat back, and watched.

The baseball game was going fine until Eli Roth showed up. Then it took a very sharp, very ‘Heart of Darkness’ turn for the worse.

Alright, there will be spoilers. But if you don’t know what this movie is about already, shut up. Cabin in the Woods follows a quintet of college pretties on a clandestine weekend in, that’s right! A CABIN IN THE WOODS. Of course nobody has been there before, nor does it show up on any maps, and it is blatantly guarded by a man who makes every creepy-Deliverance-obsessed uncle seem like a Corgi that farts candy and dreams. But they don’t care. They want to get high, hang out and have SEX. Shock! Horror! Well, he’s the twist. Apparently, the whole thing is being engineered from an underground super-sci-fi and white-collar-as-my-pale-butt facility. We are treated to the sweetest of candied cuckoos, Mr. Bradford “Yes I know He Was in the West Wing, Now Shut Up” Whitford and Richard Jennings: BAMF Extraordinaire. These two gentlemen herd the unsuspecting coeds into situations stickier than a jam explosion at a glue factory. After inadvertently raising a family of pain-worshipping zombies from the dead, the kids have to survive cliche after cliche, all the while being picked off in a terrifyingly specific order to appease the bosses down below. It’s a clever, hilarious and completely surface examination of the horror genre in general. Goddard and Whedon attempt to unravel horror storytelling from country to country by giving it a supernatural overtone, but, like my latest alibi for ‘Who Ate the Cookie in the Cookie Jar?’, it all falls apart under close scrutiny. It’s fun, it’s dumb in its witticisms. But, and this is a big ‘but’, it is ALWAYS entertaining. From making out with wolf heads, attack bongs, Chris Hemsworth’s speech before biting it, mermen, unicorns and dismemberment goblins, this is a movie that offers up more gems of pure enjoyment than a mine staffed by Christopher Walken impersonators. I believe, upon every viewing, I never cease giggling for the final twenty minutes. For some, it’s too much. For others it’s 20,000 Leagues up Whedon’s Asshole. For me, it is a wonderful simultaneous send-up and homage to a genre that I both adore and detest depending on the time of day.

As you may have read in my ‘review’ of Tommy Wiseau’s work of genius, The Room, there is an incredible sense of ritual, of snark-tastic community, of joined souls fighting against and for a greater good, in viewing a film with a group. This movie, on it’s own, is great. But, in a crowd, half of which have seen it and the other half haven’t, it is a fucking blast. Soon, catch-phrases are born, the squeamish ones hide during beheadings while those in the know chuckle with abandon. This is what I truly love about movies. With a thing such as this, everyone knows when to be quiet, when to joke, when to laugh and when to hide. It’s a roller coaster that doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel, but it sure has some amazing stops along the way. And, watching people who have never seen it trying to figure out what the fuck is going on during the opening scenes is a sport that reaps greater rewards than anything involving balls or bats or grown men piling on top of each other in a massive group hug in order to… Okay, side bar, I don’t get American football. I really don’t. What the fuck are they doing? Why are they doing it? And what about this sport involves feet?

‘Read ’em and weep’ has never had such a jovial connotation.

Knowing that Cabin in the Woods received a less than lackluster opening at the box office and that it’s fandom, though small, is fervent, I hope it lives on in the greater pantheon of cult films. It shall earn its place beside Nightmare Before Christmas, Troll 2, Rocky Horror Picture Show and all the rest of the motley crew. And, though it is neither as brilliant nor as revolutionary as it might think it is, it’s one fuck of a ride. Get friends. Get drinks. Get dumb. Let the bodies hit the floor and laugh when they do. Because, I don’t know about you, but I find grievous bodily harm fucking hilarious. Maybe I should talk to someone about that.

Oh! Also, I dressed up as Doctor Who with my lady as River Song. He is a picture of us being pretty and dorky in equal measures. Thank god High School is over and those two things are no longer mutually exclusive.

“I’ll sonic your screwdriver!”

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The Room (2003) – Tommy Wiseau (Dir.), Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, Tommy Wiseau, Juliette Danielle, TOMMY WISEAU

That’s Tommy’s sex face. Also, coincidentally, his mug shot. Killed two birds with one stone that night.

Throughout the tempered history of cinema, we have seen some bumps in the road of objective quality. We’ve been blessed with the hills and mountains containing the caliber of such works as Citizen Kane, Chariots of Fire and Breathless. We’ve even had some valleys, some deeper than others, crevasses containing such reviled greats as Heaven’s GateWaterworld, Transformers, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon and (one can only assume) Battleship. And then, beyond those Mariana’s Trenches of films we are sometimes bequeathed, nay, blessed with movies so catastrophically, categorically, scatologically agonizing that we can only stare into the abyss of awful and applaud.

The Room is such a film.

The word ‘film’ is difficult to apply in a situation such as this. Perhaps the word ‘experience’ would suffice, modified by the words ‘life’ and ‘changing’. Perhaps the word ‘torture’ would be more appropriate. It entirely depends on your point of view. I know that the moment I witnessed the trailer for this movie, touted for having the ‘passion of Tennesse Williams’ (note to self: sequel to Passion of the Christ idea…gayer, obviously. A lot, lot gayer), I couldn’t look away from the screen. It was a compilation of the worst things I have ever seen, each piece flittering across the screen in a performance of such scrotum-shrinking tastelessness, like a motor accident that begins with one car filled with nuns running into a motorbike carrying Gandhi, who’s head smashes into a bus filled with orphans, forcing it to jackknife into a gas station filled with the last remaining survivors of WWII. You know that watching this is about a morally acceptable as kicking Mother Theresa in the nuts…but you can’t look away. It’s mesmerizing.

So…who is this man, Tommy Wiseau? Why did he make this movie? How? For what purpose? Where is he from? Why does he talk as though he were Albert Einstein after suffering a stroke? The answer is simple: nobody knows. Not even Tommy. Funded by, “selling leather jackets from Korea”, Mr. Wiseau (a veteran of the Stella Adler acting school…WTF?) wrote, produced, directed and starred in this…I want to say ‘drama’ but it’s almost impossible to tell.

What makes this movie bad? Well, ‘bad’ is just a word, while the concept is something that can only be witnessed. Everything makes this movie bad. Literally everything. But this is no Manos Hands of Fate, this is no monkey with a camcorder production, a lackluster affair sprinkled with spare moments of inept hilarity. Every single scene in this movie is almost perfectly constructed to be the worst piece of shit anyone could have ever hoped to have produced. Of course, Wiseau will tell his fans, through a bluster of constant-drunkeness, an undoubtedly essential haze of inebriation required to stop himself from reminding his brain that he is, in fact, still Tommy Wiseau, that this is a ‘comedy’. This has as much comedic intent as Sarah Palin’s Vice Presidential campaign. Filmmakers like Michael Bay have the tendency to simply shit on celluloid and pass it to the projectionist, hoping he won’t smell the feces. Somehow, Wiseau took a shit and missed the reel, instead sinking his turd into some kind of artistic ley-line, spreading the excrement through the living veins of the earth, allowing fountains of ordure to erupt through television screens across the nation. Everything is so unfathomably incorrect, and yet at the same time, just competent enough in order to generate a perfect storm, to create the World Series of Shit, the Superbowl of Bollocks, the Holy Grail of “Holy God That Was Terrible”.

Moment #293 of inappropriate laughter. Most likely at the expense of women.

Here is a list of things wrong with this movie, in no particular order: 1) The phrase ‘Johnny is my Best Friend” is repeated over and over again, 2) People play ‘football’ without ever straying 4 feet from each other, 3) Sideplots involving breast cancer and a drugs deal pop up, make themselves known and are never referenced again, 4) characters enter and exit the scene for no reason, 5) in the numerous sex scenes, shots are blatantly recycled (a few of them of Wiseau’s leathery muppet-ass thrusting his manhood into…gross) 6) characters blatantly disregard the reality of the scene (“Lisa, the music…” there is no music “…the candles…” there are no candles “…the sexy dress…” there is no sexy dress) 7) characters are recast with absolutely no explanation, allowing random people to simply appear in the final scenes with no logical preamble… The list goes on and on and on. It does. Again, it’s not something that can be explained…only witnessed.

Worst. Prom. Ever.

Why did I watch this movie? Again? I’ve seen it perhaps a dozen times now. In fact, hundreds of people across the nation pack themselves into midnight showings, plastic cutlery in hand, to witness the divine train wreck that is The Room. That is the level of popularity it has gained. People cheer as the titles begin, we laugh, we cry with laughter, we yell at the screen, we throw spoons, we pass footballs…we celebrate the awful. Why? What part of the human experience has cultivated a need to reward the infallibly inept? This movie is a monument to a man so psychotic that he believes he is from America where it is obvious he’s from…well…France? Maybe Austria? It’s a mystery. Rules have emerged for watching the film. There is a scene where the audience yells out “because you’re a woman!” as Lisa’s mother lists the reasons she can’t live without Johnny. We throw spoons at the screen every time a painting of a spoon appears… an inexplicable piece of set dressing left around the main character’s room. You throw a football around the theater whenever people ‘play football’.

Those rules are great, but the excitement emerges as viewers generate their own callbacks, blurting them out during momentary silences and sending the rest of the audience into a guffawing ruckus. There are movies in the world that require absolute silence. This is not such a film. It’s a communal activity, a place we can join together and revel in the ineptitude of the new century, a party in the honor of schadenfreude. Wiseau himself sometime attends, allowing his ironic fans to bow down to his mess of life he so publicly displays. It’s cruel. It’s sick. It’s one of the most fun things anyone could ever do. Never have I felt as connected to other human beings in a movie theater than I have at the screening of these movies. It’s a rush, a blast of exhilaration. It’s an infinitely giving canvas for the sarcastic, a medium for the sardonic and a refuge for the boorish. It is everything I have ever wanted in a theater-going experience.

“I definitely have breast cancer.” Best. Diagnosis. Ever.

This is a gladiatorial match of the new century, a battle between Taste and Tastelessness and we are the thronging crowds begging for blood. We gnash our teeth. We stamp our feet. As Tastelessness traps Taste in its net, readying the trident to strike down into the jugular, we applaud, screaming to see the blade sever the lifeline, to see the highbrow shaved and whittled down to awfulness. As Wiseau screams “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!”, as Sestero shaves his beard and begins wearing denim, as Lisa pouts and lies about being pregnant, as a Harry Potter-look-alike gets fired from the set, as Johnny buys flowers from a woman in the most bizarrely unsynched scene of dialogue ever created, we, the public, lower our thumbs. Tastelessness raises the trident, drinking in Taste’s fear, its pleas for salvation. Tastelessness laughs and announces, “You hope to be spared? This is for Uwe Boll!”

The three-pronged weapon falls. The crowd is silent. Taste bleeds out, a stuck pig. We see its last grasp on life trickle away. We see ‘subtlety’ soak into the sand. We see ‘pathos’ evaporate. We see the final breath drift from its lips, the last ounce of thoughtfulness left.

Tastelessness raises its hand. We cheer once more. Taste is dead. Long live the terrible.