Apr 232011
 

I never thought there would be a day that I’d give the infamous and now-cult-classic The Room any form of a written review let alone a second viewing. But life if unpredictable like that and GADAMN would not be GADAMN if we didn’t pay any attention to this God damn disaster.  Don’t get me wrong. There is a part of me that loves The Room. I gave it to my best friend for Christmas for a reason. But sometimes our emotions are like a circle. Once you’ve made a full cycle of hate, you might as well start loving.

Apart from being so bad it’s funny (unlike Zardoz which was so bad it was sad), there’s a lot of mystery to why and how The Room has come to exist. Allow me to introduce you to Tommy Wiseau.

Writer, producer, director, and star of The Room, Tommy Wiseau looks like something you’d peel off the bottom of your stool in the dirtiest dive bar in town (you know, the one with the topless waitresses). There’s something incredibly fishy about Wiseau right up front. For one, his origin. His accent gives the impression he comes from somewhere else which would excuse his inability to speak fluidly, but the man claims to have been raised in New Orleans. Fine, whatever. But how he acquired money for The Room is still up for interpretation. According to Wiseau, funding came from a leather jacket export business to Korea, but come on. Movies are expensive, even bad ones, and The Room cost someone a really pretty penny. Sets, 35mm and HD technology adds up quick. Like, $6 million quick. That’s right. This monstrosity against cinema cost over $6 million.

What gets my goat the most is how the The Room was filmed. With $6 million to blow, Wiseau had the privilege to choose between using 35 mm film or rising HD cameras. Unable to decide (and possibly needing to find a way to spend his suspicious money), Wiseau settled for both. I repeat, both. And I don’t mean interchanging cameras between scenes. I mean building a double shooting apparatus so all scenes could be filmed with both cameras, simultaneously. Needless to say, every single damn shot is off-center. In the special feature interview with Wiseau on the DVD, he claims he will be writing a book comparing the two medias. Yeah, this guy really is out of his mind.

I find it important to cover these topics of interest before ever trying to explain to someone what The Room is actually about. It makes it more compelling than “some love triangle between a busted up chick, her physically deformed and possibly psychologically damaged fiance and his best friend who, by anyone’s standards, is actually pretty normal.” To be honest, after two viewings, I’m still not entirely sure why it’s called “The Room.” It seems to me there were actually two rooms that had any sliver of significance. Oh, and a roof deck. But that’s just because that’s where the majority of them film took place. I digress.

So this chick that everyone just can’t seem to get enough of, Lisa, well… What is there to say about Lisa? Not much. I mean, I’m all for women breaking the Hollywood standard of beauty but Lisa could have easily been played by a plank of ply wood with a smiley face painted on it. There’s something creepy about Lisa, and not in the manipulative way intended. It’s like we’re watching her being taken advantage of and somehow, she doesn’t even care. I guess she really believed this was her ticket. According to a random cast member, she was 18 and right off the bus from Texas when Wiseau insisted on kicking off filming with the ultra uncomfortable softcore porn-esque love scene with his barely legal blond bomb shelter. Again, there’s just something not right about that guy.

Anyway, Lisa is engaged to Johnny, played by Mr. Wiseau. He is by all means an upstanding citizen and the idealistic husband. He works, he’s charitable, he loves Lisa endlessly, buys her flowers, adopted some creep kid named Denny and paid for his school and he doesn’t even drink. Bored with life, Lisa gets the man drunk, tells everyone he hit her and sleeps with his best friend, Mark (not to be confused with out very own Maahk).

…Yeah, that says it all.

Oh, except this part happens too.

Yeah. I think that’s enough summary.

So what’s entertaining about The Room? All the stuff that isn’t. The terrible acting, the terrible dubbing, the terrible filming, the terrible sets and again, the terrible acting. Wiseau struggles to defend The Room, so he’s learned to go with the hype and bank. He’s reverted to claiming the humor is completely intentional, but when you see this guy, you just know he has no idea what he’s talking about and is willing to hold onto any fleeting thread of a recognition, not matter what it means.

In conclusion, everyone should watch The Room. Why? Because pointing out the abundant and  obviously terrible factors of this film can bring a whole room together. Maybe that’s why it’s called The Room after all. It’s a means to bring world peace by bringing us all closer together over something that everyone can agree on: this film fucking sucks in the best way possible. Bless your heart, Mr. Wiseau, wherever you came from.

Apr 012011
 

*translate-pirate.com mode*

Ahoy, me dear mateys. Please gather yer ‘salt-blasted hides round while I tell ye an incredible tale. If ye heard bout our last adventures, ye know that we spent time comb’n th’ depths o’ th’ briny deep in search o’ buried treasure at Red Lobster. What a blunderingly glorious feast! A meal fit fer a king! I would give aloft me parrot if I were able t’ eat this unseaworthily ere moon.

*1950’s radio announcer mode*

We here at GADAMN make sure we bring you the very best in complaining. Sure, we could go to Zagat™.com, find a real nice place – a place fit for “normals” or “pinks” – and tell you about how pinkly and good it is…but where’s the fun in that? YOU, sir or ma’am, want the very best in complaints! You thrive on negativity and need more and more of it to live a normal life! Thank God you’re here!

* CurdoTone®*

So there I was: my turn to pick the next restaurant and I was going up against Niquisha’s previous selection. Red Lobster. The one place everyone absolutely loved (followed by Zardoz, the one movie everyone absolutely hated, but that’s besides the point). I had to choose right. I had to make the right choice. I had to… I had to choose CiCi’s All-You-Can-Fucking-Stuff-In-Your-God-Forsaken-Noise-Hole Pizza Buffet!

Go ahead. Click the link. Their website fucking talks to you!

Immediately I realized that I could not let Dreams know where we were going before he got out of the car and saw what horrible fateful iconic sign was sure to be staring down at him like a tremendous, demented cartoon sun, smiling and passing by overhead in slow motion as he falls to his knees, mouth open wide, teeth showing, yelling and beating his chest like a sliverback gorilla (also in slow motion), extending his arms to heaven, spitting and cursing whatever God above him for having ever meet me in the first place as I stand in the distance, squinting and maniacally rubbing my hands together. At least that’s how I envisioned it all happening.

The reason being that he and I had already been to a CiCi’s before and he knew of the horrors that awaited him.

What really happened is I fucked up 2 days before we left while inviting Sean and Mark from Fat History Month who were down at the Sex Dungeon mixing their new album for the week. I just blurted out “Hey, are you guys going with us for our god-awful dinner and movie night? We’re going to CiCi’s All-You-Can-Eat Piz….. zzzaaaa… bu….. ffet…” They didn’t even ask “Where are you guys going?” I just fucking said it.

And Dreams was upset. Oh boy, was he ever, but it had no where near as many explosions as I had wanted.

Pizzarama-rama

I had been working all day (gasp! I know!) so when 6:30PM rolled around, I had no idea where the time had gone, but i had every idea of what was about to happen to my insides. A wonderful thing. I need to explain that Pizza (and you’ll notice the capitalization) is extremely important to me. Without Pizza I would die, as it makes up a large percentage of where I get whatever nutrients my body consumes that aren’t provided by the beer I drink. The only way we could be closer would be if Pizza had somehow saved my life at one point or another. Maybe it did?

It would be the Fantastic Four tonight. Not the movie – I’m referring, of course, to the four horsemen of GADAMN. We were supposed to be joined by Don, Sean + Mark and Jare, but I suppose that they managed to rethink the offer. I mean, all-you-can-eat-pizza sounds great on paper… but common.

I knew it was gonna be a pooper (pun definitely intended), but I was trying to keep the spirit of the night alive! Gotta make sure we don’t get too cushy on our beds of beautiful steak drizzled in parts of sea-living creatures. Glorious. Anyway, while we were driving there the heat of the day hadn’t yet warn off and we all had our windows down. Right inside of Camden we were hit with, what I had described as, “the smell of a fat man’s insides.” It was a monster.

We took a few wrong turns but eventually ended up right where we needed to be…

…this face said it all…

I was excited at least. And fuck me, you can’t beat all-you-can-eat anything for $5.99. I would go to a dog shit buffet for that price! But then again, after having actually been to Fec… er… CiCi’s, maybe I wouldn’t patronize another dog shit buffet.

Let me tell you now: dog shit doesn’t taste good.

Some pre-mixed, bacon bit encrusted, Ranch dressing soaked green crunch, two wet butter-sticks, four pieces of what seemed like pizza and a little tasty spinach square. Nothing tasted too bad to eat, for me at least, but nothing tasted good… except for the slice of only BBQ sauce and the desserty apple pie pizza. It certainly lacked a train ticket to Flavorton, but that didn’t stop me from eating 15 fucking slices of it, not counting the that little fucker right there or the bite of lemon custardsemen pizza I had.

That was the damage right there. Would you look at that shit? I certainly got our money’s worth but at the cost of a friendship. I don’t think Dreams will ever forgive me.

… it certainly rhymes with feces for a reason.

I guess all I can say was the pizza was bad, sure, but there were so many people there eating it that upon recalling the experience I realize that maybe I’m just a pizza snob. I mean, it is the main source of nourishment in my diet, so I’d like to think that i’m a bit of a connoisseur.

The Room (of sheer insanity)

When I was a younger boy, being taught the ways of terrible movies by the best – my uncle, coupled with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 cast – I would ask my uncle, “Al? Why don’t Joel/Mike, Tom and Crow make fun of movies like Plan 9 from outer space? It seems right up their alley.” The answer? “Well, my dear nephew, that’ would just be toooo easy.”

So, after much deliberation I’ve decided NOT to pick apart and openly mock this film, leaving the job to the professional of our group – our very own Niquish. She’s a film student and will tell the tale of this terrible televised travesty much better than I… But I will say this… I didn’t trust Denny.

He looked like the kind of kid that ate other kids.

Mar 282011
 

Of all the Gadamns, I looked forward to Cici’s Pizza Buffet the least. In fact, I actually looked backward, to Chicago Uno Grill, where a finer meal was never had…except at the Olive Garden, Ruby Buffet, Hooters and Red Lobster. For me, our sixth adventure into the depths of culinary hell ranks at the bottom of our experiences, although you’ll probably find some disagreement from the other Gadamners who joined me on the night of March 18 as we made our way to New Jersey – yes, BACK to New Jersey – for a night of flourescent, fatty self-abuse at Cici’s Pizza Buffet in Cherry Hill.

I love pizza. I really do. I think it’s one of the finer creations of the mind of man. You eat it with your hands, someone else makes it for you. They’ll even bring it to your doorstep if you ask. Less bombs and more pizza, that’s what I say! I used to think I’d eat pizza anytime, anyplace. Hell, the website for CiCi’s even boasts, “Almost too good to be true!” Well, thank goodness for little qualifiers.

The “pizza” at CiCi’s was such that it had me dreaming of Domino’s, a butter product I swore off long ago after a night of lonesome, tearful pizza bingeing. That night, I thought of being not with friends, but alone in a dark, hot living room in the middle of July, waiting for the doorbell to ring…somewhere round midnight. After our meal at CiCi’s, however, I found myself pining back to relatively fonder memories of the Domino’s after effects – dry mouth, heart burn, sleeplessness, dehydration, bloatedness. Such was the sight of this restaurant and the diners inside that these sensations seemed a welcome alternative.

Standing outside the establishment at about 8pm, waiting for cigarettes to be smoked, I found myself embracing – more like bear hugging – my own sense of cosmopolitan snobbery. I felt no shame about it, either. Curdo, Dreams, Niqueesh and I were probably the only patrons wearing pants with flies and buttons rather than elastic. It was a good feeling to feel better than everybody in that place because a place like CiCi’s invites you to be less by eating more and more and more. Pay less to be less. Go you. I felt no shame about it.

The shame, of course, would come later.

The cost of admittance was $5.99, a sum so affordable that I splurged and got a cup for an additional $2, which turned out to be quite a bargain because, for just a full third of the cost of the meal, I was able to have as many refills of Cherry Hill tap water as my kidneys could handle. Throw in the bridge toll to get us back to civilization and the evening cost me $12.43, the cheapest Gadamn of all, but still too much by far considering the quality of the food.

Back to that shame. Against every instinct, I stuffed myself with pizza, going to the buffet four or five times (I didn’t count) to collect little slices of runny – that’s RUNNY – greasy evil. I’ve stuffed my face shamelessly plenty of times, at least twice a week, for most of my adult life. But this was different and it was because of the other patrons and the restaurant itself. I was ashamed of sitting under lighting so white it appeared to be reflected off the surface of the moon, of paying to dine in a place with Cheez Whiz yellow walls and Mylie Cyrus music piped in for all the kids running around, dodging table and adults like obstacles in a fun house. (Although, I suppose that might be a good thing because they’ll need all the exercise they can get if they hope to live to see the inside of a high school). I wanted the smokey dankness of my favorite bar. I wanted the trendy air of a Philly gastropub. (Yes, a gastropub; I said it!) I wanted the hominess of my mother’s dining room, to be looking down into a plate of her addictive fried egg plant, chicken parm and a bowl of homemade rice pudding.

Go to CiCi’s and you’ll find there’s more ambiance in a purple plastic tunnel at Chuch E. Cheese’s.

So…CiCi’s wasn’t my favorite. Maybe it’s because all of the people who joined us on our last adventure couldn’t join us this time around. It was just the four of us: good company, to be sure, but a stark difference from the Red Lobster Extravaganza. Maybe it was the obvious cultural inferiority that kept those other dudes away. I guess they couldn’t handle all that pizza. After all, it takes a backbone to carry all that food around… So maybe some of our past adjunct Gadamners will join us next time at Golden Corral in Bensalem, the closest thing to a South Jersey township as you’ll find in Pennsylvania.

Mar 272011
 

The weather in Philadelphia on March 18, 2011, was really quite spectacular. I had taken a long walk through Worst Philly earlier in the day, the kind of walk I’ve been pining for all winter. It was fitting that it should happen on the eve of Spring. It got my allergies going, but it was a nice diversion. Besides, I wanted to get that hunger burn a little hotter for the evening’s anticipated feast.

The ivy-covered houses built during the Roaring Twenties – some crumbling, others tenderly tended – provided an agreeable landscape. The stroll also allowed me to satisfy a penchant of mine – observing parked cars, particularly Japanese models. (In case you’re interested, it was a great day for ’05 Sentras.) It was a perfect afternoon. The only thing that could have made it more perfect, despite the obvious contradiction in terms, was a cinematic experience equaled by none…except maybe Zardoz.

Speaking of diversions, I like a bad movie now and then: A silly romcom, a delightful romp, and inspirational flick with the obligatory crescendo of applause for the protagonist at the end. You know the kind, the ones where one person starts clapping slowly, then everyone else starts in, slowly, gravely rising to their feet as the soundtrack sweeps in. Cue the misty eyes! A dose of low-brow entertainment with car chases and gunshots and gratuitous violence can be a healthy thing once in a while. And that’s just what THE ROOM was – a healthy, heaping dose of poor quality, low-grade schlock.

The great thing about watching bad movies with friends (at least, the Gadamn crowd, that is) is that you can always make fun of them. Mercilessly. Now, I have to admit that I’m not as good at providing my own Rifftrax as others, particularly Curdough and Milton, for whom it is high art. They’re craftsmen. And THE ROOM is such an exercise in narcissism that it’s essentially a ninety minute bullseye for all sorts of wonderful scorn and mockery. Consider the plot holes, or the characters who appear and disappear without explanation. Or the tuxedoed football game. Or the singular mention of that lady’s breast cancer that is never revisited…or the gun-wielding drug dealer who is taken to jail from the roof under citizen’s arrest, said jail being located – presumably – two floors down…

The DVD cover claims that the movie is a “black comedy,” not the failed drama originally intended by the film’s director, writer and star, Tommy Wiseau. According to an anonymous detractor who worked on the film, it was never intended to be a comedy. You’ll do plenty of laughing, though, particularly during the Continue reading »