Last April, just as my freshman year at Northeastern University was coming to a close, my friends in the Film Enthusiasts' Club invited me to the Coolidge Corner Theater to see The Room, one of the worst movies ever made.
This isn't the first time I went to see a midnite movie at the The Coolidge. I had been frequenting the theater's @fter Midnite series since I first discovered it the previous September. Every Friday and Saturday night, the theater screens a great selection of macabre cult movies. They're always 35mm prints from the film's original run and some of the prints they show are extremely rare; a long-lost director's cut or a foreign film that never got an American release.
The best part of these midnite shows is the crowd. It takes a special kind of person to go out to The Coolidge so late at night and see the kind of offbeat programming that the theater offers. This is the kind of person that will talk with you about their favorite 80s slasher villain in the line before the movie and applaud when the director's credit comes on screen. As with anything, the audience will make or break an event and at The Coolidge, every Friday and Saturday night is certainly an event to remember. The laughs are richer, the screams more blood-curdling, the applause more frequent and impassioned. I am so incredibly grateful to this little theater for fostering a community of people that love this style of film.
I had never seen the movie, but I knew the crowd would be full of friendly film buffs when I saw The Room. When it came to this particular film's audience, however, I had no idea what I was in for. Tommy Wiseau's horrifically bad 2003 film has developed a sort of Rocky Horror Picture Show-style cult following complete with fans in costume, audience participation, and call backs. It's easy to see why; just watch the trailer and tell me you don't want to yell at this guy for being such a mediocre actor.
The movie itself was sublime. It was an experience that I'll never forget, seeing what the director thought could be passed off as a movie. Tommy Wiseau's incompetence when it comes to writing, acting, and directing his own film is hilarious. It got me hooked on bad movies and the way that a movie can become unintentionally hilarious.
Last month, I started a series of reviews for the NUFEC blog called Bad Movies. I review a hilariously bad movie every Tuesday, making fun of it along the way. I have a ton of fun writing these reviews and watching these horrible movies; my most recent review, The Wicker Man, was the most enjoyable experience I've ever had writing a piece. The Flop House, my favorite bad movie podcast, is a prime example of how much fun it can be to make fun of bad movies. Writing these reviews, I laugh just as much as Dan, Stuart, and Elliot do in their show.
Tomorrow morning, my fifth entry into the series will be published. I started this series off with some of the big ones: Birdemic and Sharknado have become minor phenomenons in the years since they debuted. I started with movies I'd already seen and loved. Now, as I continue into the end of the semester, I've started to really appreciate the community of people that love bad movies as much as I do. I've got enough movies to last me throughout the summer: deep cuts from the 70s, comically inept kids' movies, and much more. I can't wait to dive right in and continue bringing these off-beat, magical films to the readers of the NUFEC blog.
If I ran my own independent art cinema, I'd screen the movies I write about every Saturday at midnight. Watching movies on our laptops is nowhere near as fun as watching with a (possibly drunk) crowd and laughing together.