Going to see The Room for the first time? There are a few things you’ll need (and need to know) before stepping foot into the theater.
Thanks to The Disaster Artist and Tommy Wiseau’s antics at this year’s Golden Globe awards, The Room is on more people’s radars than ever and word about this “little movie that could” is just going to keep spreading.
(In fact, word and demand has already spread so much that, for the first time ever, Tommy Wiseau’s dream of a nationwide release of The Room is coming true this Wednesday, January 10, 2018. This has been almost 15 years in the making, people!)
Like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, audience participation and interaction is a huge part of seeing The Room. Unlike Rocky Horror, however, this participation happens at every. single. screening. Which is great because honestly, you just don’t get the real experience without it.
(Really. Speaking as a super fan who hasn’t been to a screening in ages, showing it to my friends in my tiny living room without proper supplies just feels wrong.)
But audience participation movies like The Room can be a little intimidating for first-timers, especially if you don’t have a seasoned friend or family member to go with. You don’t want to say or do something wrong. I get it.
That’s why I’m here to help.
I’m here to teach The Room virgins what to expect your first time as well as what you should bring with you. Follow my advice and you’re sure to have a GREAT time.
What you need to bring with you to ‘The Room’
1. Plastic spoons
When watching The Room, it won’t take you long to notice that a lot of the picture frames around Johnny and Lisa’s living room contain photos of silverware. Whenever they show up on screen, audience members yell “SPOON!” and throw plastic spoons everywhere. You’ll want to bring your own so that you can join in the fun! (If you don’t bring some, it’s always acceptable to go scavenging for some.)
2. A football
There are quite a few scenes in The Room of the characters tossing a football around in close quarters. When they do that, other people in the audience will get up and throw a few underhand tosses of their own. Bring your own football if you’d like to join them!
To be blunt, the first 30 minutes or so of The Room are really uncomfortable for first-timers because it’s basically back-to-back awkward sex scenes. No, really. Just know that if you can make it through the first half hour, you’re golden.
4. A sense of humor
The ridiculousness of the seriousness of this movie doesn’t work unless you let it. Not everyone finds every aspect of the movie funny, so just relax and laugh/react to whatever strikes you. And don’t try to hate-watch this because you think it’s overrated. Just don’t. This isn’t that kind of movie.
5. A friend
Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy going to the movies by myself. There’s something about it that’s so freeing and relaxing. But this is definitely a movie that’s an experience that should be shared with good friends. You’ll have more fun if you’re surrounded by people you have great times with. Trust me.
(Also, going alone to this movie would be suuuuuuuper awkward thanks to the multiple sex scenes…)
Things to expect/react to when watching ‘The Room’
1. You won’t be able to catch most of what’s said in the movie
Don’t get me wrong. You’ll understand everything that’s going on in the movie (well, as much as that’s possible), but you won’t be able to hear every single ridiculous thing that’s said. I’m not exaggerating when I say that people LOVE this movie and they can’t help but yell and cheer and quote and even sing along while the movie is going. The best way to see The Room is to go to a screening at the theater first and then go back home to watch it again in a quieter setting.
2. Constant quoting and shouting of lines
The Room has some of the most iconic and memorable lines of all time… You just don’t know them yet! From “I got the results of the test back. I definitely have breast cancer.” to the classic “You are tearing me apart Lisa!” to my personal favorite “Keep your stupid comments in your pocket,” you’ll be hearing so many lines shouted aloud in unison. And you’ll love it.
3. People cheering on the camera as it pans across the Golden Gate Bridge
Tommy Wiseau included a lot of establishing shots and reminders of the fact that the movie takes place in San Francisco, including multiple long pans of the Golden Gate Bridge. When you see this happening, first shout “Meanwhile, in San Francisco!”, then raise your right fist in the air and chant “GO! GO! GO!” with the rest of the crowd and cheer once the camera reaches the other end of the bride. You’ll fit right in.
4. Characters are constantly coming and going quickly
It seems like nobody ever wants to stay at Johnny and Lisa’s for long. Characters will walk in, say hi, and then leave. When characters walk through the door, feel free to yell “Oh hai insert characters” and, when they announce they’re leaving, you’ll want to yell out something to the effect of “But you just got here!”
At one point of the movie, Lisa makes non-drinker Johnny what appears to be a scotchka (scotch + vodka). Given the ridiculousness of that drink combination, everyone just starts chanting “Scotchka!” And you should too.
There are a few running audience gags/jokes
During the screening, you may hear audience members yelling certain things whenever they see a character. Feel free to join in. You also might hear people yelling “Because you’re a woman!” (or something to that effect) after everything that a female character says (or something that is said about them). While some audiences make it misogynistic, others will use it in a sort of “That’s what she said” manner and just start saying it after ludicrous things. Again, feel free to join in if you’d like.
‘Who the fuck are you?’
About 40 (and even 80) minutes into the movie, there will be random characters who are never introduced just chilling on screen (in a big way). It’s appropriate at these moments to yell “Who the fuck are you?”
There will come a time in the movie where Johnny will try to be sneaky and set up a tape recorder to record all phone calls. As he’s sneaking around and trying to be stealthy, it is necessary to sing the Mission: Impossible theme song to accentuate the scene.
As you can probably imagine, there are loads more rituals and chants and audience participation actions that go on during screenings of The Room than I could ever mention here. Some vary by screening and others are slightly difficult to explain unless you’ve already seen the movie. (Sorry.)
But hopefully this guide will help you feel more at home and relaxed at your very first screening of The Room. You’ll be a pro and picking up on other audience members’ cues in no time, I just know it.