The best part of any cult film screening is the sense of community that accompanies the viewing experience. The simple act of sitting down and watching a movie is enhanced by a shared passion with the people surrounding you. Complete strangers become best friends for a night thanks to this one common interest. It’s a rare experience, but when it happens, it creates incredible memories.
Last night I was fortunate enough to make more of those memories.
Despite threats from Tommy Wiseau’s lawyers, the filmmaking team/best friend trio of Rick Harper, Fernando Forero and Martin Racicot went ahead with a Toronto screening of their first feature film, Room Full of Spoons. It’s a documentary that goes behind-the-scenes of The Room‘s production, delving deeper into Tommy Wiseau’s personality and past than any fan ever has. I started that morning frustrated to discover the screening had been cancelled (again by a legal dispute with Tommy Wiseau), only to receive a message from Director Rick Harper hours later – the show would go on. Elation replaced frustration pretty quickly, setting the stage for an incredible screening experience.
Before the movie got going, the filmmakers were hanging out near the entrance to the small theatre to greet attendees as we came in. The intimate venue allowed for casual conversation among all the fans in the room. In attendance was Director Rick Harper, DOP Martin Racicot, and Editor Fernando Forero – though they all admitted soon after that no one person had any set role in the production – that the film was very much a collaborative and equal effort on all their parts.
Once everyone took their seats and after a brief intro from the three of them, they dimmed the lights and the movie began. The documentary itself was spectacular, crafted perfectly so that even the most casual fan of The Room can access and appreciate it. The first act of the film informs viewers of just what The Room is and examines its cult status. I’ll admit for me these early moments didn’t offer much I didn’t already know, but the structure and pace was effective and the exposition is absolutely necessary – because most people have real lives and don’t have every line in The Room memorized like I do.
Things really got going for me when the cast all began to share hilarious – and horrifying – memories of their time on and off set, recounting Tommy’s eccentricities. Parallel to all of this, Harper shares his own personal story of how he fell in love with The Room, and his early talks with Tommy Wiseau to produce the documentary that eventually became Room Full of Spoons.
I was especially impressed by the scope of the film and its interview subjects. The thorough research and attention to detail was fantastic. Harper and his team visited every location featured in The Room, in addition to tracking down obscure cast members such as Brianna Hazard; originally cast as Lisa, she quit the film when Tommy threw a bottle of water at her head.
I did not hit her, it’s not true, it’s bullshit, I did not hit her, I did nawwt!
The interviews are generally light-hearted and funny, and most of the actors seem to reflect on The Room as a hilarious embarrassment they’ve all moved on from. Dan Janjigian, AKA Chris-R, ironically remarks that he is recognized for two minutes of screen time in The Room more than he is for being an Olympic bobsledder. Even the composer of The Room, Mladen Milicevic, makes an appearance – and he also scored the documentary.
There are other interviews that go well beneath the surface, revealing Sandy Schklair’s understandable frustration with Tommy, and poor Juliette Danielle addresses her less-than-favorable treatment by fans over the years. If by some chance you’re reading this Juliette – sincerely, my heart goes out to you. You’ve put up with a lot over the years and you certainly don’t deserve any of it. I’m glad this film will help your voice be heard. In fact, Room Full of Spoons gives the actors and crew members a great platform to defend their art. They all come across as genuine, charismatic, and talented people.
And despite what his lawyers would say, even Tommy Wiseau is treated with a great deal of respect in the movie. Without giving too much away, the movie answers a lot of questions about Tommy as a person, while still leaving some details vague and uncertain. During the Q&A after the screening, Harper and his crew had nothing but positive things to say about the man. They emphasized that everything they reveal in the film is public record – and that they intentionally left anything speculative or unconfirmed on the cutting room floor. As I stated a few months ago, this film is certainly no threat to Tommy – if anything, he should be using it as a marketing tool to help new fans discover The Room.
Overall, Room Full of Spoons is a movie that any fan of Tommy Wiseau won’t want to miss. It’s a masterpiece with even more passion than Tennessee Williams, and I highly recommend checking it out…. if it ever sees a release date, that is.