On Thursday 22 January, Bristol Bad Film Club screened Gymkata to a sold out crowd at the Southbank Club in Southville.
It’s back! The “Citizen Kane of bad movies” is returning to Bristol!
2014 was a busy year – not only did we somehow manage to fit 13 screenings into 12 months, but we also did our first outdoor screening, which over 500 of you turned up to!
After six months of requests, the Bristol Bad Club finally screened The Room.
My life is separated into two time periods. My life before I saw The Room and my life after I saw The Room.
The first time I watched Tommy Wiseau’s magnus opus, I was changed forever.
I no longer looked at cinema the same way again and sought out every book, article and review about how it was made, in order to make some sense of what I had witnessed.
Behold our awesome poster for our The Room screening, packed full of references from the film. Can you spot them all? Cheep cheep cheep…
Get your tickets here.
How Tim and I met the stars of ‘the Citizen Kane of bad movies’ – The Room.
It all started with an email in early November.
For months, we had known that at some point we would have to show The Room, so I was deep into researching how we would go about getting permission. Full screening rights for The Room lie with Tommy Wiseau and if he doesn’t want you to show it, you can’t show it. He’s also notoriously hard to get hold of.
I contacted the Prince Charles Cinema in London, who famously do regular screenings of the cult classic, in order to pick their brains and it was then I read the most awesome sentence ever.
“Well, Tommy and Greg are coming to London in February to present some screenings here, so if you want to ask him face-to-face, there’s your opportunity.”
TOMMY WISEAU AND GREG SESTERO ARE COMING TO LONDON?!
That was all I needed to hear. Quickly, an email was sent out to the Bristol Bad Film Brain Trust (the group of people who are regularly forced to endure the latest monstrosity that I have uncovered) informing them of this amazing news.
Their response was equally ecstatic, with one even putting forward an elaborate plan to kidnap both Tommy and Greg in order to have them at our future screening.
Tickets were promptly purchased and over the intervening months, I finally managed to get a screening licence for The Room (although that was an epic feat in its own right).
Finally the day came and eight of us made the trip to London (complete with Tube strikes) in order to see if meeting Tommy and Greg would be as awesome as we had always imagined.
They did not let us down.
In front of a crowd, Tommy is everything you’d expect him to be. Confident, funny and with one eye on the pretty girls. Greg is, understandably, fully aware that this is Tommy’s World and he’s just living in it, but seems to enjoy meeting the fans of his most infamous role.
There was also a Q&A. Sure that they must have been asked the same questions ad nauseum regarding spoons, footballs and ‘Why is it called The Room?’, I decided to try something a little different…
Keen to get Tommy and Greg to film an intro for our screening, Tim and I slipped out as the film got underway. We’d been told that Tommy and Greg hang around the bar for the film’s duration.
Not only did they sign our merchandise and pose for photos, but they both seemed genuinely interested in our screening. Tommy even mentioned that he had never been “to the country of Bristol” and would love to go, therefore we should show the film every month. Once he heard it was a charity screening, he furnished us with a bunch of free bags, and was keen to point out he also designed them himself.
As for the intro? Well, he essentially directed us on how it should be done, but then he was the only ‘qualified’ director out of us.
He also blessed Tim, who had decided that the one thing missing in his life was Tommy Wiseau underwear.
As we left the screening, happy that we’d met them both and that they were both as nice as we’d hoped, we noticed Tommy was out front playing football with the crowd who were waiting for the next screening.
Well aware of the devotion of his fans, Tommy was not going to let them down and whether you like The Room or not, you have to admire his boundless enthusiasm.
This month, we’re showing ‘the Citizen Kane of bad movies’ – The Room. But why has a film that is so bad become so popular? And how, after ten years since it first came out, does it continue to sell out around the world?
Last year, co-star (and producer) Greg Sestero wrote a book called The Disaster Artist detailing how The Room came to be. In his hilarious book (which we highly recommend you get), Greg details how he met Tommy Wiseau at an acting school and was draw to the man’s bizarre accent (is he Austrian? Eastern European? No one actually knows…), his ‘unique’ style of acting and his passion for films. The two soon became friends, resulting in Wiseau’s last-second offer to Sestero of costarring with him in The Room, a movie Wiseau wrote and planned to finance, produce, and direct—in the parking lot of a Hollywood equipment-rental shop.
The shoot was a circus. Apparently, Wiseau spent $6 million of his own money on his film, opting to buy equipment outright, rather than hire it, which is the industry norm. However over eight months, which saw crew and assorted actors frequently fired, The Room came to life… like some sort of resurrected corpse.
Like a resurrected corpse, it made no sense, as Tommy insisted everyone stick to the words that he had originally written.
Despite the concerns of all the cast and crew, Wiseau rented a Hollywood billboard featuring his alarming headshot and staged a red carpet premiere. The Room made $1800 at the box office and closed after two weeks. One reviewer said that watching The Room was like “getting stabbed in the head”.
But that was not the end…
Of the few people that saw the film, a handful realised the magnitude of the film’s unintentional hilarity. This prompted a series of midnight screenings in and around Los Angeles that allowed The Room to solidify its reputation as a cinematic experience, although not in the way Wiseau intended.
Before long, The Room had worldwide cult appeal and was being shown in cinemas all around the world, with audience participation on a par with The Rocky Horror Show.
And now, finally, we are showing it in Bristol!
Get your tickets here… you won’t regret it.
Last Thursday, at The Cuban in Bristol, we showed our first film of 2014, Miami Connection, to a crowd over 180 people.
Our fifth film overall, this was by far our largest: our previous largest screening had been to ‘just’ 110 people. With over 150 advance tickets sold for Miami Connection, this is hopefully a sign of things to come for 2014. Bristol has developed a taste for bad cinema, and we’re the guys with the menu.
I (Tim) kicked off with a brief welcome, before handing over to a couple of reps from the Travelling Light Theatre Company, the charity we were sponsoring for this screening. After a short video briefly outlining what they do, co-founder Ti introduced the film itself.
With a video explaining who Miami Connection writer, star, and all round awesome guy, YK Kim actually is, the audience was well prepared for the awful, awful majesty of what was to follow.
From my vantage point at the back, the audience reaction was unparalleled. Quite how many knew what they had let themselves in for, I don’t know. But I do know that many, many people went home with their lives changed after this event. Battling back tears of joy, I heard one audience member say with disbelief, “I am SO GLAD I came”.
This is what Bristol Bad Film Club is about. We didn’t start the club to make money, we started the club so we could travel through time. No, wait, that was the DeLorean. We started the club to watch bad films and have a good time. Watching a bad film on your own is OK. Watching a bad film in a group is immense. Watching a film in a group, with a drink and some food, and a great setting is the best.
One of the highlights of the evening was the visceral reaction to the trailer for what we have coming next. A custom-made teaser trailer made by Gaby Staniszewska delivered exactly what we needed. A resounding YES at the first glimpse of, followed by more recognition at the second glimpse.
Because, in February, we are, finally, showing…
The “Citizen Kane of bad movies” is finally here…