We’re no strangers to Tommy Wiseau’s trash classic The Room here at The A.V. Club. We’ve inducted it into The New Cult Canon, interviewed Wiseau (twice), and reveled in its many, many, many weird offshoots. But now, with a little distance, it’s time to ask ourselves just why we keep returning to this thing.
That’s what Vox has done with this new video, wherein it interviews Tom Bissell, who co-wrote The Disaster Artist, the movie’s behind-the-scenes book, with actor Greg “Mark” Sestero. Watch it below.
Basically, the video counts The Room in the lineage of other “trash cinema” classics like The Toxic Avenger and Plan 9 From Outer Space, two shitty films that have also stood the test of time. It’s also, by the video’s estimation, a shining example of Susan Sontag’s definition of “camp,” which essentially states liking bad things doesn’t necessarily mean you have bad taste. In fact, recent studies have shown that a love of trash cinema can indicate a higher level of intelligence.
Bissell sums it up best: “The Room shatters the distinction between good and bad.” He’s also spot-on in his closing statements, where he says the film must first be enjoyed on one’s lonesome rather than in the throes of a wild midnight audience. On your first watch, at least, every word must be heard. No scene must be spoiled. You can only watch The Room for the first time once.