First things first: If you haven’t seen The Room, you need to. Preferably in a full theater or with a bunch of people who know the routines that go along with the scenes, à la Rocky Horror Picture Show. I’m not sure how much I would have enjoyed it seeing it alone in my living room, honestly. But my first time seeing this at Alamo Drafthouse? Riotous laughter was yanked from me by the surrounding 200 people. Also there were collective shrieks of horror and slow clapping along with the sex scenes. And plastic spoons being thrown.
I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting much from this book. A friend had loaned it to me (the same friend that took me to see The Room for the first time, actually) and it languished on my Kindle for months. I didn’t even realize what it was about when I opened it, due to my Kindle’s habit of shortening titles in the display. That actually made it even more of a surprise when I cracked it open last night and wondered about the list of characters at the front. When I saw Tommy Wiseau’s entry I just thought “Oh shit.” And kept on going.
This book is surprisingly good and really well-written. This is evidenced by the fact that I stayed up until 4:30 am reading it. I just kept wondering what in the hell would happen next. Greg Sestero, the actor who plays Mark in the movie, writes all about how he met the creator, Tommy Wiseau, and his experiences during the making of the movie. And it is just a crazypants shit show, no lie. But interesting. And even a little…endearing? Even with all of the crazy, Tommy Wiseau comes off as a sympathetic character. That, along with some interesting and random factoids explaining some of the weirder aspects of the movie, really kept me engaged and wanting to read on. The use of quotes at the start of each chapter gets a little tiresome, especially since they only seem to be taken from Sunset Boulevard and The Talented Mr. Ripley, but the reason for the latter source becomes evident later on.
The organization of the book is interesting and alternates between when Greg and Tommy meet and develop a friendship to stories about the production. Somehow, this structure works. I’m totally giving credit for this to the co-author, Tom Bissell. Greg may have supplied the stories but it seems that Tom really set the pace and brought all of this together.
This is highly recommended for fans of The Room. If you haven’t seen the movie, this book probably won’t entertain you much as iconic scenes are frequently referenced.