Tommy Wiseau:
Authentic Weirdo or Just an Ordinary Sellout?

Tommy Wiseau intended his debut film (which he produced, directed, and starred in) to be a tragic story of infidelity—guaranteed to render audiences legitimately heartbroken and disillusioned, but instead it’s ironically comedic. Notoriously flawed with a muddled storyline and a melodramatic dialogue comprised of banalities, this film, “The Room,” epitomizes the “So Bad, It’s Good” trope. Now as the cult classic film achieves peak trendiness—I question what exactly makes it so funny: Was Tommy Wiseau really accidentally hilarious, or is an unassuming immigrant’s attempt to be thoughtful just automatically dismissed by shameless American audiences who struggle to take a foreigner’s art seriously?

 

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I don’t know the answer to this question—and my guess is that it’s a little bit of both. Still, I want to solidify my opinion on this, and for this reason I am currently reading “The Disaster Artist” by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. Penned by Wiseau’s close friend and co-star—this book supposedly spills all the tea.

I’m not far enough to conclude on anything yet—perhaps I’ll update this post when I am. Still, I can say that this book is oddly endearing and like really well-written. In some instances Wiseau’s inherent eccentricities seem really obvious, but other times I view his laughable “otherness” as the equivalent of any other individual new to this country. At this point I don’t know what to think. Am I allowed to be simultaneously entertained and offended? Amused but also critical? I don’t know where I stand. Eeep.

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It’s times like these where that essay, “Self-Reliance,” by Emerson comes to mind. He famously remarked, “In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty.” Nowhere on the internet can I find one journalist or blogger who shares my opinion on Tommy Wiseau’s movie. That’s not a good sign. That said, I’m gonna try some self-reliance and stick to my guns on this matter. Maybe someone will read this post and remark on how they feel the exact same way—fingers crossed.

–Maryam C

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