Promotional poster for The Room (courtesy of Wiseau Films)Promotional poster for The Room (courtesy of Wiseau Films)

"Worst film ever made" returns to WIFF

If you haven't seen it yet or want to experience it in all of its awfulness again, The Room is returning to the Windsor International Film Festival.

The film, which Tommy Wiseau wrote, directed, and starred in, is about a successful banker named Tommy who lives with the love of his life, Lisa. Common-law bliss is not for Tommy when Lisa seduces his best friend, Mark.

A staple at WIFF, The Room will be screened on Saturday, November 4, as part of its Midnight Madness series.

"Twenty years into that film, and it gets worse every time I see it," reflected WIFF executive director Vincent Georgie. "It's mindboggling. You'll be thinking, 'Who thought this would be good?'"

Despite its reputation as the worst film ever made, audiences return year after year.

"It's so misguided. You can't even wrap your head around what was going through their minds while making this film," exclaimed Georgie. "The acting is bad. The production values are bad. The writing is bad. The dialogue is bad. On top of that, the director, writer, and star, Tommy Wiseau, is sort of delusional in the film. He wanted to make this grand masterpiece -- it clearly did not work. I think people find that rather endearing."

Asked what on Earth possessed him to bring the film back to the festival, Georgie attempted to explain by pointing to the movie's cult status.

"I think there's real joy in a film that is so bad that it can be good," he said. "It's a film that plays really well with an audience. We have interactive screenings where people yell at the screen and throw spoons -- sort of like a modern-day Rocky Horror Picture Show."

For WIFF, it's a guaranteed success. The film sells out every year.

"It always amazes me the blend of people who have seen it 17 times and the people who show up who have never seen it," Georgie said.

The Room celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and director Tommy Wiseau has attended past screenings, so the question is, will he return for this year's showing?

"We certainly have an invite out to him," said Georgie. "We'll see. He's definitely a man of mystery and hard to pin down."

WIFF announces its full lineup on October 5 but has already revealed some of the films featured in this year's bill, including "Dicks: The Musical" and "The People's Joker," a riff on superhero films, banned at the Toronto International Film Festival.

TIFF pulled that film from that lineup when Marvel and Warner Brothers threatened legal action. After much legal wrangling, Georgie brought the queer coming-of-age parody to Windsor.

The Windsor International Film Festival runs from October 26 to November 5.

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