Saturday night was the second night of a two-night gig for Tommy Wiseau (and faithful sidekick Greg Sestero, who plays Mark in the film), writer, producer, director and star of The Room, at the midnight screening of the film at the Uptown Theatre in Minneapolis. I bought my tix for Saturday in advance, not knowing that Horrendous Ice Storm was bearing down on the city. How do you like that drama?
Yes, so, Horrendous Ice Storm hits city at about 10 p.m or so. Every surface coated with ice, the likes of which I haven’t seen since my adolescence in Wisconsin, when we really knew what it was like to battle black ice. Not like this trifling weather we have today.Â No, sirree!
But Keith convinced me that we still needed to go because if you are superfan of The Room and you don’t go see Tommy Wiseau when he’s in town then… well… you’re lame. However, I was soon to discover that I am by no means the superfan of all superfans of The Room. The Room seems to ignite passions in people in quite unexpected ways.
We stepped out the door and Keith fell on the front steps. I actually went out the door first and while my brain was still going through this process:
Slick surface… Almost lost footing… What is surface? Surface is… ICE!!
I failed to warn him that it was slick as hell. I was literally trying to form the words when he fell behind me. What could have been a very terrible fall was only a moderately annoying fall though, resulting in a pulled thigh muscle. We soldiered on. At five miles per hour. That’s about as fast as we could go. Going up just a slight hill about a block from our house caused our car tires to spin mercilessly as we edged forward.
“This is stupid,” I said. “We should go back.”
“I think we can make it,” Keith said.
And make it, we did. Due to the storm, Tommy and Greg were doing the signing/photo op and then their Q&A before the show. I’m not sure how this helped them out, exactly, since it was already so slick it would have taken them 40 minutes to get to their hotel or wherever the hell they were staying. But, as they are from California, I can see how MN weather could be so shocking and depressing that you would want to retreat to your hotel with a bag of coke. So I dutifully lined up with my DVD. I was catching glimpses ofÂ TommyÂ across the lobby and my first thought was, “Is that Michael Jackson?” So stunning was the effect that I momentarily forgot that Michael is dead.
There were a lot of people. I mean, a lot of people, most of them young hipsters who revere Tommy and have no obligations standing in their way of coming out at midnight in an ice storm to see Tommy, which is even further enhanced when you are drunk. [one guy had to be led out by his friends was the screening actually started; another blond chick was reeling around in the aisles bumping into people and getting buffeted back and forth when we were trying to exit] I guess this group also includes me, except I don’t consider myself young or a hipster. Still, it was especially heartening to see guys who had gotten into tuxedos in honor of Tommy. The woman behind me bought a bobblehead doll of Tommy that says lines from the movie when you press its head or something. They were selling this merch at a table in the lobby.
[I do think they should hire a kickass designer to make some descent Room t-shirts.]
We forgot our camera. Yes, we are super lame. So, here, I trolled the Internet and found a photo of what he and Greg look like these days (love the skin contrast that says, “Tommy likes to stay indoors thinking dark thoughts. Greg likes to hit the beach and play sand volleyball):
Tommy signed my DVD with “Love! Tommy Wiseau 11/20/10.” I didn’t really get that much love from him. First of all, he was harried. He kept yelling for the next people who wanted a photo to step up. Second, he looked sweaty.
Then it was time for the Q&A, with Tommy and Greg taking the stage to a standing ovation. Greg was kind enough to toss the old pigskin around a bit with the audience, then people lined up at the mic for questions. When Tommy didn’t like a question, he would say, “That is stupid question. Next.” The result was that we learned nothing from the Q&A except that he is working on a new sitcom called The Neighbors. Supposedly. It’s hard to find out exactly what’s going on with it – a trailer was posted to YouTube in 2009.
And there is a Facebook page (of course!) dedicated to getting The Neighbors on Adult Swim. Anyway, we didn’t learn much of import about Tommy or the movie. Among questions asked were, “Why did you feel full nudity was the way to go for you in this film?” “What hair products do you use?” “What is your accent?” “Do you enjoy Minnesota?” (Duh, dude probably couldn’t wait to get the hell out of here.) “Will you take your shirt off?” “What are you working on now?” “Did you ever think The Room would have this kind of following?” “Why is the movie called The Room when it’s not just in a room?”
I’m pretty sure we never got a straight answer about anything. It means that Wiseau is either a genius or mentally impaired. Or a mentally impaired genius. He did give some sort of answer to the question, “Why is the the movie called The Room?” Something about how The Room is everywhere and its everything and don’t be so stupid as to ask that very stupid question. And it’s “the” room not “a” room, don’t you know how to speak English?”
After the screening, it was about quarter to three in the morning and the roads had not gotten any better. All the drunks were coming out of the bars, trying to get home. One guy on the corner of Lake and Hennepin said, “I can’t believe I haven’t fallen yet,” then fell in the street. Another two guys were on opposite sides of Lake Street, yelling back and forth about the best plan to get home. It seemed as if they couldn’t navigate the ice to get on the same side of the street, much less agree on where to go, who should be in charge, etc.
All in all, another fun night in Minneapolis.