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Is "The Room" the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" of the 21st century?

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YUKON, Okla. -- It was two days before Halloween and I found myself in the dark parking lot of the AMC Quail Springs Mall. At almost 9 o’clock, the parking lot had clusters of cars but not enough to say that it was packed venue.

People came to the theater that night to watch the 1975 cult-classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

The theater was almost empty aside from a few couples, a family and a man who sat alone on the left side.

No costumes, little outbursts, and a B-grade film with all the history to back it up; it was an enjoyable, quiet night.

For Rocky Horror fans, this is unusual and anyone who knew what this show had been could understand that. Granted, the live experience is always preferable but one should take what is given at times.

Leaving the theater, one could only talk about the memories associated with the show, not the antics that could have been.

By January, a special feature came across which commanded the attention of anyone who knows film. It read, “Fathom Events presents Tommy Wiseau’s The Room.”

My phone could not keep up with my rabid fingers attempting to get the tickets.

In 2017, a movie was released by actor James Franco portraying the making of this movie. It’s called The Disaster Artist. This movie would win 3 awards for best actor and be nominated for best picture as well.

To catch some readers up to the present, The Room is commonly known as the best worst movie ever made. With a $6 million budget, one man acted, directed and produced in a film he created himself: Tommy Wiseau.

It released in 2003 and it made so little money that it would wind up in the bargain bin of many stores. For regular filmgoers, this movie wouldn’t have even registered that this was a film worth wasting time on.

The basic plot of the movie involves a love triangle between Johnny (played by Wiseau himself), Mark (played by Mark Sestero), and Lisa (played by Juliette Danielle). This is all you need to know because the rest of the plot is thickened by loose stories, terrible acting and the worst linesof dialogue ever written to film.

Normally, terrible movies are one to avoid.

For this, one must make an exception.

I arrived at the theater close to 8 o’clock in the evening. The parking lot theater at the AMC Quail Springs Mall was packed in every sense of the word. Eventually, we found a parking spot near the back end of the space.

Walking into the theater, almost every seat was taken. People were dressed in black shirts with Tommy Wiseau’s face on it. All walks of life resided in this theater for one night all with the purpose to laugh.

Like the best comedy, the movie was unintentional yet hilarious.

The audience reacted with shouts towards the screen. When the R&B played and Mark and Lisa were about to make love, a man shouted, “CUE THE R&B!” This was met with uproarious laughter.

Repeated lines were met with, “WE KNOW!” Even more quotable lines such as, “The test results came in. I definitely have breast cancer,” were shouted over the movie as the audience exploded in laughter.

All the while the movie continued, each person looked towards one another and laughed together. It was a moment in which one might have felt during the midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show back in the late 70’s and throughout the 1980’s.

Some of the cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (20th Century Fox)

The difference between the two is that Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Picture Show was meant as a sci-fi, horror thriller there to shock and awe the audience. The intent of it being a cult success that it continues to be is something that O’Brien himself has claimed as, “astonishing and humbling all the same.”

Wiseau’s The Room was made as a coming-of-age story about love and loss. What it resurrected itself to be was the most awkward, quotable and more memorable movie of the 21st century.

As people left the theater, a woman in a black letterman’s jacket walked alongside her boyfriend.

The back of the jacket was a white decal of Wiseau’s character shouting, “You’re tearing me apart, Lisa!”

“It’s something I think everyone can get behind,” she said. “We all like to laugh and share moments with each other. There’s nothing else like it.”

So is The Room the new Rocky Horror Picture Show?

I would argue that they are one in the same yet never to be surpassed by one another.

Each will hold its merits; however, I believe The Room will rise in prominence and will gather more of a cult following as time continues.

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About the Author

Brandon King

Brandon King is a journalism student at OCCC, working towards becoming a professional writer....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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