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September 7, 2010

The Room

by Jessica Condit

Tommy Wiseau, writer, director, producer and star actor in The Room, didn't know he had created a cult classic film when the movie premiered in 2003, but seven years later his cinematic status has been solidly affirmed. Today, only one question remains for thousands of fans and movie critics across the country:

Does he know his movie sucks?

Known nationwide as "the Citizen Kane of bad movies," The Room is the longest-running independent film in history and still sells out midnight showings from Los Angeles to New York-but not because it is good in any classical sense. The script is banal and often completely nonsensical, the editing is dubious and the acting ranges from the high school theater production to sophomore year of Community College levels. Because of this, it is one of the most successful independent movies of all time, and Wiseau doesn't need any more affirmation of his cinematic genius than that.

"This is one of a history I think I'm part of indirectly, you know. A prodigal history I would say," Wiseau said at Tempe's MADCAP Theaters on Sept. 3, during a stop on The Room's national "The LOVE is BLIND TOUR!" hosted by local filmmaker David Hayes.

Hayes, as a movie man himself, respects what The Room has done for popular film culture.

"As a filmmaker, nothing appeals to me about the movie," Hayes said. "But as a fan of the new genre of the darkly comic relationship drama, I think it is at the pinnacle of that particular category of film…. It is the best and the worst at the same time."

Wiseau has an abundance of advice for anyone hoping to create the best worst anything, as long as the idea is as original as his was.

"It's a process… I think original material there is a flavor, you own your own soul into it," Wiseau said. "That's what I think is beneficial for any person who creates-writing, directing, whatever people do."

As a testament to the film's expansive cult appeal, one couple flew out from Canada to see Wiseau and The Room at MADCAP Theaters.

"We made sure we were here," Alex Chisholm said. "[The Room] is a tale America never dared to tell."

Sestero, who is The Room's supporting (and arguably best) actor, said the movie changed his career "in every way," and he believes its impact on the American film industry has been just as potent.

"I think anybody who's seen The Room knows what it did to cinema," Sestero said to MADCAP's almost sold out crowd.

Wiseau isn't stopping with his "The LOVE is BLIND TOUR!"-he has a BluRay tour scheduled for The Room next year, a "vampire movie" in production, a television show Cartoon Network is interested in airing and he is acting in a Comedy Central movie due out this October, The House that Drips Blood on Alex.

The filmmaker is also working on a mysterious movie about the economy, which he hopes will premiere before the end of the year and promises will "shock a lot of people."

The Room isn't a film to shock or gain Hollywood notoriety for Wiseau; to him, it's personal.

"Nobody influenced me," Wiseau said. "I influenced myself."

Directors, writers and actors worldwide are happy to hear that.

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