Review: Rifftrax Live! The Room


Ohai! Just got back from seeing the first film of the Crappening. MST3K alums Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, aka Rifftrax, are going to be riffing on four titans of terrible cinema this year starting with… “The Room.”

I’ve been a fan of MST3K for longer than I care to admit. I was a member of the fan club and got the Satellite News. I have every episode on either VHS or DVD, including all the known KTMA episodes. And I’ve seen all of the live Rifftrax events. I mention this so you’ll know where I’m coming from when I say “The Room” is the worst movie I’ve ever seen.

I’d warn you about spoilers but… there is no way to spoil “The Room.” Well, other than watching it.

If anyone has never been to a Rifftrax show they always run a slide show starting roughly a half-hour before showtime with funny “trivia” and such things accompanied by music by the likes of Weird Al, Jonathan Coulton, Paul & Storm and, of course, the Rifftones. Always worth getting there early to get decent seats and enjoy this pre-show.

This event had one short in addition to the headliner. If you’re a fan of Rifftrax, you’ll know the series called “World At Your Fingertips.” For the uninitiated, this is a series of educational shorts from the early 70’s which mostly focuses on children making really terrible crafts out of garbage. This one is, sadly, the finale of the series so we’ll have to savor this last one while waiting for the gritty reboot.

Our subject is “Floats” and it’s about taking garbage and making toy boats out of it. Very much in keeping with the series, the craft projects are terrible and the kids all seem deeply ashamed to be participating. The WAYF narrator, as always, sounds like he’s just downed a handful of Valium and a quart of bourbon. “Floats” isn’t nearly as funny as the king of this series, “Grass”, but it still has plenty of the WAYF weirdness to feed some good riffing. And since this was the finale, Bill finally answered the greatest mystery of our time… corn IS grass.

OK, moving along to the main event. Believe it or not, I’d never seen “The Room” before. I’d heard plenty about it, enough to conclude that it really needed to be seen alongside skilled professionals, either comedic or psychiatric. And, brother, was that right.

“The Room” is bad. Really bad. It’s like a movie that a freshly defrosted caveman with no understanding of human culture would create.

For some reason

Yes, the creature shown here, Tommy Wiseau, who hails from some unspecified other country and/or planet, not only stars in this film, he wrote it, produced it, and directed it.

“The Room” is the worst thing I’ve ever seen. It is worse than “Plan 9” or “Manos.” As terrible as those two movies are, they have some interesting ideas that make you understand why someone thought they had a movie there. They were just terribly executed. And at no point did we have to look at the butts of either Tor Johnson or Torgo. More than once. Yes, be fair warned, he wrote himself multiple Cinemax quality sex scenes that will leave deep, permanent scars. Otherwise, there is roughly ten minutes of plot interspersed with a lot of random scenes of things like men weakly throwing around a football, sometimes in giant, ill-fitting tuxedos like an outtake from a Talking Heads video. Random new characters show up with no explanation, including one who gets replaced with a different actor later on. He doesn’t even have the decency to skulk around with a cape over his face pretending to be the other actor ala “Plan 9.”

I could fill pages with the sins of “The Room” but, fortunately, our squad of riffers were there to save us from having to from having to face Tommy’s ass alone. The absolute highlight of the evening was the moment where Mike and Bill took on the characters of Tommy’s fiance and best friend as they were boning on a spiral staircase. It is just an epic riff that goes on for almost the entire scene.

The one nice thing I can say about “The Room” is at least it’s not boring. It’s so confusing and weird that it provides ample fodder for our Kevin, Mike and Bill. I don’t know if I’d consider this the best Rifftrax, but it was definitely a pretty good one and worth your time to take in the second showing May 12th, if you can.