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"Room Full of Spoons is not just a documentary, it is a journey. It is a brilliant recounting of the emotional roller coaster ride one man went on with a mysterious stranger named Tommy Wiseau."
For more than a decade, cult film enthusiasts have had a complicated love affair with what many consider to be the worst movie ever made, Tommy Wiseau's The Room. So much fun has been had at public screenings that traditions have been established during viewings that surpass those of even the legendary Rocky Horror Picture Show. RiffTrax has even dedicated two separate MP3 commentaries for the film, as well as featured it during one of their 2015 live events. And while it is an experience unlike anything else you'll have in a movie theater, the mystique of it's creator, the one and only Tommy Wiseau, rivals and almost surpasses the reputation of the film itself.
So what makes Wiseau such a compelling figure? There have been so many mysteries surrounding the man, and when pressed for answers, Wiseau always deflects. One would think that simply asking “where are you from” ought to be responded to with a simple answer. The film purportedly cost six million dollars to produce, where did that money come from? Again, no answers were forthcoming from Wiseau, in fact he becomes defensive and hostile when the question is put to him. Tommy's mystique is largely a product of his own actions.
In 2013, Tommy's best friend and co-star, Greg Sestero, wrote and published his account of the making of The Room, entitled The Disaster Artist. This book went a long way to answer many questions about what it was like to be on the set during the creation of the film, but it left the questions regarding Wiseau ambiguous and unanswered. This is where the documentary Room Full of Spoons takes over. Directed by a long-time fan and one-time friend of Wiseau, RFoS goes on an extensive journalistic investigations to finally answer the two biggest mysteries.
As the documentary's narrative follows the quest for answers, it also gives us a much deeper insight to the experiences of most of the cast during production. One of the things you recognize instantly, and is one of the documentary's biggest strengths, is how absolutely wonderful these men and women are. Despite the absurdity of everything going on around them, the cast remain dedicated to putting on the best performance they can. They were every bit as dedicated to making the film a success as Wiseau was. All these years later, the movie is still a huge part of their lives. One would expect them to be bitter, and understandably so, but they aren't. They have embraced their status of being a part of something that has brought many people so much happiness, which has only made the fans love them even more.
It also addresses questions regarding specific quirks and themes of the film. What is up with those highly uncomfortable and lengthy love scenes with Juliette Daniel? Does Claudette really have breast cancer? Why does Mark literally attempt to murder Peter, and then seconds later everything is okay? What's the deal with Denny's perving on Johnny and Lisa? What was the extent of his relationship with the drug dealing thug, Chris R? Why are they playing football in tuxedos? Many of these questions are answered as well as can be expected, but ultimately we will probably never know all the answers, if for no other reason than such answers simply do not exist.
The film also chronicles the journey the director went through from first being introduced to The Room, to the setting up of a special screening where he actually meets the man he has idolized for more than a year, their growing friendship and promises of future collaborations, including the very documentary in which this is taking place. But things don't go as planned, and it's discovered that Tommy's behavior is erratic and his friendships one-sided. In his quest to achieve higher levels of creative success, Wiseau leaves behind him a trail of betrayed, one-time friends once he feels their usefulness to him has run out. He becomes elusive and somewhat psychotic, many times even going as far as launching smear campaigns against them, a fate which befell the director of Room Full of Spoons.
Now for the big questions. How was the film financed? Who would possibly six million dollars into a project that nobody would even think would become as successful as it was? Through following a breadcrumb trail through legal documents and social media, the definitive answer to this question has never ever been so close to being uncovered, but you will have to watch the documentary to find out just how far this trail led them.
And THE biggest question of all, who is Tommy Wiseau and where does he come from? Any time he is pressed on this topic, Tommy always answered that he is an American. It is obvious that he has a deep love for this country and believes it is the place where people can come to make their dreams come true and you can't really blame him for that because it is true. I accept his self-identification as an American because I, too, am a proud and patriotic American. However, it is clear Tommy is not from around here. So many absurd theories have been bandied about in an attempt to fill in the missing pieces. But this is where Room Full of Spoons sets itself apart from everything else. It doesn't theorize, it provides the answers. Not just any answer, but the answers. This film definitively answers the question of who is Tommy Wiseau. The answer is, surprisingly, a very simple one, but again, to know this answer you must watch the film.
Room Full of Spoons is not just a documentary, it is a journey. It is a brilliant recounting of the emotional roller coaster ride one man went on with a mysterious stranger named Tommy Wiseau. It is, by far, the best told story through the art of documentary film in the past decade. If you are a Room fan, this is absolutely essential to fully comprehend and appreciate what really happened in California in 2002 and 2003 when this truly historic film was created. You will not be disappointed, rather you will walk away feeling inspired to go make your own dreams come true.
SRD's Rating: 5 Stars out of 5