Bucket List Item #44 and #46: Meet Tommy Wiseau, See The Room in Theatres
First of all, if you haven’t seen The Room yet or don’t know who Tommy Wiseau is, stop what you’re doing, go have a glass or two of wine, and WATCH IT. It’s weird, it’s horrible. It’s perfect. It’s the Citizen Kane of bad movies. Ever since Michael and I watched it for the first time last year, we’ve become obsessed. We’re not the only ones.
The Room has developed a kind of cult following, where people go to showings and throw spoons at the screen, dress up as the characters, quote lines loudly and in unison. When Michael and I figured this out, we were dead set on going to see one of these showings and we were even more determined to meet Tommy Wiseau, the zany, weird actor, producer, writer, and director of the film. We fell so in love with this bad movie and the people in it that meeting Tommy and seeing The Room in theatres added themselves to my bucket list quite quickly.
In February, Michael and I headed to London to cross both these things off my list in one go.
Tommy and his younger sidekick, Greg Sestero, have been doing tours once a year around the world, where they show The Room and Greg’s feature film, Best Friends. At the showings, Tommy answers questions and then they stand outside and sign merch, take photos, and drink beer. It’s amazing. It’s everything you could ever imagine meeting Tommy would be like.
The Disaster Artist
We headed over to the Prince Charles Cinema, an incredible independent movie theatre right on the outskirts of Chinatown, and began our all-day Tommy Wissaeu extravaganza.
We began with The Disaster Artist — and listen, I know James Franco is a smoking pile of trash fire but it was a genuinely funny movie, based on the memoir, written by Greg, of the same name. It felt accurate and Franco did an amazing impression of Tommy.
It’s a good way to introduce the people who are wary of The Room to the room. It’s my civic duty to make sure everyone is a Room enthusiast.
Coming Face to Face with Tommy
After the showing, we walked out of the cinema to come face-to-face with Tommy and Greg. Greg was getting the merch together and Tommy was being Tommy. Our hearts were racing.
Greg heard my accent (American, like him), looked at me, and said, “Hi.” Tommy walked up the stairs and looked Michael right in the eye. Or at least we think he did. He always wears sunglasses so who is to say. We were a pile of giddy-nerves and it took everything for me to muster a meek “hello” to Greg while Michael stared back in awe at Tommy.
We had two hours until the premiere of Best Friends and we had to leave the theatre to make room for the people seeing the showing before. Michael and I left in search of beer because we knew we could not go through the rest of this night completely sober. We felt high and giddy, replaying the moment over and over again, screaming as we practically skipped down the street.
“Tommy stared right at me,” Michael said.
“GREG SAID HELLO TO ME. TO ME.”
It’s safe to say we were a mess.
The rest of the night feels like a blur. As we waited in line, we met a dude who was very strange but very nice and who came to see Tommy alone. He was as excited as we were so despite his proclivity to saying weird things, we hung out with him the whole night.
Best Friends was produced by Greg and stars both him and Tommy. It was weird and beautiful and I have no idea what the fuck was happening — so, yeah, it was awesome. It wasn’t the kind of weird that The Room is, nothing can be that kind of weird. Instead, it was intentional weird, a strange, almost transgressive stream of consciousness about two best friends trying to make millions of dollars off of old dental scraps. There was a clown at some point? Honestly, I can’t really explain the plot to you but you can tell Greg was extremely proud of it and that was enough.
Meeting Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero (Officially)
That was the first time I met Greg and Tommy. We took a photo and Tommy said, “You’re from America? Me too. Me too.” Greg asked me where I was from and told me to let him know how I liked his film. I don’t even remember what I said to them. I feel like I just blacked out because I couldn’t believe I was in the presence of Tommy. I just remember being excited. I hope I was at least slightly charming.
We then took our final walk outside of the cinema to stand in line to watch The Room. It was 11 PM by that point and our giddiness had drained us. We were tired but this was it. We were going to finally see The Room in theatres.
An Almost Fight
As we waited in line, a drunken British lad tried to skip us and then tried to fight me for some reason until Michael stepped forward and the lad saw how broad Michael was. Once he saw that, he backed off and I was thankful. It was a bit scary and just added to our nerves and excitement. By the time we finally got into the theatre, our hearts were racing.
Was it from the adrenaline of an almost fight? Was it the excitement of finally being able to throw a bunch of plastic spoons at a cinema screen? Maybe it was a bit of both.
And let me tell you, it was everything I could have ever wanted. Watching that ridiculous movie for like the 17th time in a room full of people who have seen it just as many times, if not more, was amazing.
We threw spoons at the screen and screamed and laughed with the crowd. Tommy was Tommy and we were happier because of it.
The Best Night
Though, I have to say the sex scenes felt even longer on the big screen. Maybe because of the fact that we were watching the most uncomfortable sex scene in film history in a room of other people.
I wish I could put into words how amazing, strange, and funny that night was. I still can’t believe I got to meet THE Tommy Wiseau. Life is crazy.
All I can really say, I guess, is that it almost tore me apart, Lisa.
And you best believe we’d do it again.