“Want a spoon?” asked the young college-aged guy sitting beside me in the front row of the Trocadero’s balcony. “Sure, what are these for?” I asked, accepting a handful of plastic cutlery. “In one of the houses there are all these framed pictures of spoons so people yell out ‘Spoon!’ and throw them at the screen,” he explained as I stared further down the row towards a foursome dressed as their favorite characters from The Room. Behind me sat a young woman sporting what appeared to be a homemade t-shirt featuring the film’s poster, she chimed in “This is my third time seeing it, do you have any spoons?”. I better start writing this stuff down, I thought.
You’re probably familiar with Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 dramedy-of-errors by now, but if not then spend a few minutes reading this surprisingly entertaining 2008 Entertainment Weekly article that served as an introduction to the film for much of the greater populace. I’m a strict believer of silence in a movie theater and thus I’ve never attended a Rocky Horror screening or any of the post-MST3K-related live events, the concept of audience participation has just never sat right with me. But I’m a huge fan of The Room, just as any connoisseur of oddball filmmaking should be, so I was excited to join a packed house of drunk Room fanatics for an Awesome Fest-sponsored midnight screening of what is perhaps the best bad movie of them all. And it turned out to be a ton of fun.
There are plenty of online viewing guides to the film that teach newbies what and when to scream, hiss, and, yes, throw spoons. Here are some highlights: The crowd went wild for every name in the opening credits aside from Director of Photography Todd Barron who received vehement boo’s that were later justified by the more than occasional yelling of the word “Focus!” (interestingly enough, Barron is easily the most accomplished participant in the film). “If I was a film professor I’d make my kids watch this,” said a guy behind me with no further explanation as the rest of the crowd chanted “You are my rose, you are my rose…” during one of the film’s memorably unsexy love scenes. The Roomies cheered at the pouring of the “scotchka” (the strange scotch/vodka drink), screamed “Bitch!” at Lisa’s lies, and strangely yelled “I put my evil inside you!” whenever the cancer-stricken Claudette kissed her daughter on the nose. Denny’s entrances and exits were greeted by “Hi Denny”‘s and “Bye Denny”‘s and the numerous, lumbering pans of the Golden Gate Bridge were encouraged by college drinking contest-like “Go! Go! Go!”‘s. By intermission time, the downstairs floor was littered in spoons, including mine, and thus I became a proper fan of the modern masterpiece that is The Room.
BTW, The Room will be screening again locally on Friday, May 18 at 9:45 PM at Phoenixville’s Colonial Theatre.