viewer’s guide

Spoons crop

Viewers guide below taken from the A.V. Club, originally created by The House of Qwesi – a list of rituals US audiences have developed.

If you know of any others or have created your own please do add them below in the comments section.  We will update this page with new ones as they come!

[Editor’s note: For those of you lucky enough to see The Room in a theater—or perhaps willing to recreate the experience at home—a group of Room devotees has been kind enough to put together this thorough (but by no means definitive) guide to its communal rituals. Print and save.]

Yells

  • “Spoon!”

Nearly all of the artwork in the film features spoons. Whenever one of the works appears on screen, you yell “Spoon!” and hurl plastic picnic spoons at the screen. Fourth row from the screen essentially makes the whole project self-replenishing, because most spoons land there. You literally throw a handful and another handful falls in your lap. It’s like being part of a plastic-cutlery salmon migration. As the film trudges on, people start throwing spoons out of boredom, even if the scene doesn’t require it.

  • “Sestosterone!”

You can pretty much yell it any time lost Brawny Quilted Picker-Upper spokesman Greg Sestero is on screen. It is particularly fitting when he’s about to be manly about something.

  • “Cancer!”

Lisa’s mother alludes to having it once and then never mentions it again. Also, when she touches Lisa on the nose, some people shout “I put my evil inside you!”

  • “Denny!”

Used to herald the arrival of the tragic kidult. Also, every time Denny leaves the scene, it is proper to shout “Goodbye, Denny!”

  • “One!” “Two!”… (counting bff allusions)

Sestero’s character alludes to being Tommy’s best friend between five and seven times in the movie. The number is uncertain because whenever he alludes to it, everyone yells out which number they think it is. Usually, people are hammered enough that by “Three!” or “Four!”, two-thirds of the theater has no idea, or thinks they have fallen ahead or behind.

  • “FOCUS! UNFOCUS!!”

The film is constantly going in and out of focus. (“Damn you Todd Barron!” He’s the director of photography, and that’s what you shout when his credit pops up) Whenever the film goes out of focus, people shout “Focus!” Of course, when it does come back into focus during a sex scene, it is necessary to shout “Oh God. Unfocus!”

  • “Shoot her!”

Yelled during Lisa’s protracted neck-twitch scene. (It’s a reference to the opening of Jurassic Park.) Also appropriate: “Quaid, get to the reactor!”

  • Yelling “‘Cause you’re a woman!” after pretty much anything that regards a female character.

Started off as a dig at the film’s casual misogyny (there are half a dozen places where it works and is hilarious), but quickly spiraled into a non sequitur that can be dumped after anything. It is the Room equivalent of adding “in bed” to a fortune-cookie fortune. Every time I watch it, I am forced to ask myself: “Who is the woman that broke Tommy’s heart? Who is the evil bitch responsible for this movie?”

Various things to yell over B-roll:

“Alcatraz!”
For Alcatraz, or anything framed with bars

“Go! Go! Go! Go!”

Used to cheer on tracking shots of the bridge. Celebrate when it makes it all the way across the bridge. Express your disappointment when it doesn’t.

“Everywhere you look, everywhere you look!”

Sung over houses that look like the ones from the opening of Full House.

“Meanwhile, back in San Francisco!”

Whenever a shot uses the iconography of the city to verify that, yes, we have not left San Francisco.

Activity / cues

  • Saying “Hi” to Tommy when he appears to look down at the corner of the screen during the party scene. This entails running down to the screen and hanging out toward the bottom-right-hand corner and then shouting as his eyes acknowledge you.
  • As Denny eats the apple which might be the most heavy-handed and irrelevant action in the film, I enjoy shouting “Oh, shit! Metaphor!” (Seriously, just what the hell is eating the apple supposed to signify? That Denny has given in to temptation? What temptation? What the hell does Denny giving in to temptation have to do with anything?)
  • When the characters throw the football back and forth, you do the same thing with your friend(s). Since you are drunk and in a darkened movie theater, this usually goes awry. One of my friends accidentally beaned Tommy this way. Another time, someone hit the screen and the theater ownership got pissed.
  • At one point, two characters will show up in Tommy’s apartment. They will be fucking. No one will know who they are, thus it is appropriate to shout “Who the fuck are you?” whenever they appear onscreen.
  • It is also appropriate to shout this when the actor playing Peter (the psychologist) disappears (maybe he was looking at the camera too much?), only to be replaced by another actor who looks nothing like him. Yes, just “Who the fuck are you?”
  • Tommy’s deranged giggle, which he delivers at inappropriate moments (“He beat her up so bad, she wound up in a hospital on Guerro St.” “HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”) should be mocked mercilessly.
  • “The Seventh-Inning Stretch” is what we call the longest of the film’s gratuitous sex scenes. This is where you piss/smoke/stage a mock walk out. Pros know it’s coming and beat the traffic.
  • Singing along to “You Are My Rose” and lifting one’s phone/lighter. Let’s not forget that we are all part of the same wave of undeniable good. A friend noted that they should’ve used “You Are My Rose” instead of “Hallelujah” in Watchmen.
  • On that note, breaking into the “Yes We Can!” chant sometimes works, especially after Tommy’s speech about “If everybody loved each other, the world would be a better place.” This chant started during the election and has continued since. I like to think that’s it one of those rare moments where irony and sincerity collide, neither quite dominating the other.
  • Being open about one’s revulsion during any of the sex scenes. Includes graphically describing the act and hurling the cruelest jokes about the actors’ bodies/movements that one can conceive. Breaking into the Free Willy theme is sometimes done. Notice how it looks like Tommy is fucking her belly button? Yeah, you’re doing it wrong!

8 responses to “viewer’s guide

  1. Pingback: UK premiere at the Prince Charles Cinema – a spoontastic success! « The Room UK

  2. My friends and I started quite a few

    *When Denny is talking about how he loves Elizabeth, shouting “Lisa who?”

    *Yelling “GOOD QUESTION” when one of the characters asks a question the audience is wondering.

    “What do you mean ‘hot’?”

    “What’s clear?”

    “Doesn’t your home have a kitchen?”

    “Why do you ask me?”

    “Okay, so what’s the interesting part”

    “How many people come in and out of this apartment every day?”

    “Why are you doing this?”

    “Why don’t you love him”

    “What are these characters doing here?” ~

    “Tell me, what does Denny do?”

    “If you care so much for Johnny, why cheat on him?”

    *When Mark is bending down to kiss Johnny’s forhead when he finds his body, you say “Good night, sweet prince” and as he’s coming up, you whisper loudly “This world did not deserve you!”

    *When Lisa says Johnny is in a better place, you yell “A pool of his own blood!”

    *When Mark delivers his “As far as i’m concerened, you can drop off the face of the Earth, that’s a promise” you yell, “False, Mark, that’s a statement!”

  3. I’d like to add a few that I saw the audience do during an LA screening last month:

    During the scene where Lisa tries to seduce Mark, and he says something along the lines of, “I mean, the music… the candles… the sexy dress”, the audience shouts out “What music!?… What candles!?… What sexy dress!?” directly after each of his statements. (The first two are because there are literally no candles or music in that scene, and obviously the final question is a shot at Lisa!) 🙂

    Secondly: In the same scene, we see Lisa and Mark drinking red wine out of a champagne glass. When we first see this, everyone yells “CHAMWINE!!”. Similarly, when Lisa tries to get Johnny to drink, it looks like she’s mixing scotch with vodka. So the audience shouts “SCOTCHKA!!!”

    When Johnny connects the tape recorder to his telephone, people sing the theme to Mission Impossible.

    In the scene where we first see Peter (the psychologist), it appears that his eyeglasses have lenses in some shots, and no lenses in other shots. The audience points this out by yelling “LENSES!!” or “NO LENSES!!” as appropriate.

    In the coffee shop scene, people make jokes about how it is “The Coffee Shop Where Everything is Free!!”, as none of the customers, including Johnny and Mark, pay for their drinks.

    In the scene with Lisa and her friend Michelle, when Lisa is pulling all of her groceries out of a paper grocery bag, (items like bread and potato chips), the audience shouts “CARBS!!” after each item is pulled out.

    During the party scene, random shots of San Francisco are inserted here and there. (These shots are meant to convey the passage of time throughout the movie, and to re-re-re-re-establish that the story is taking place in San Francisco.) So, as each of these shots appears during the party scene, the audience yells “DAY 2 OF THE PARTY”, the next one is “DAY 3 OF THE PARTY”, and so on…

    After the party, when Johnny has locked himself in the bathroom, there is a continuity error when he exits the bathroom and shuts the door behind him. (We see 2 sequential shots of Johnny shutting the door.) The audience draws attention to this by yelling “SHUT THE DOOR!! … SHUT THE DOOR AGAIN!!” in time with each of these shots.

    I know there are more, I just can’t think of them off the top of my head. I will post more as I remember them. 🙂

    • Thanks Carter, we are loving the inspiration from our American cousins. Someone in the audience on saturday night in London – upon seeing one of the weird paintings WITHOUT a spoon in it – shouted out ‘ABSTRACT SPOON!’. This caused many laughs and a joyous round of spoon throwing.

      As far as I know this is a new comment – we would encourage you all to give it a bash in the US at the next screenings – let us know how it goes down!

      • AWESOME!!! I’ve actually got tickets for the next LA screening on September 26th, so I will totally throw that one out there!! I’m sure it will be a hit. 🙂

        I’ll let you guys know what happens!

  4. At the last Prince Charles showing, Shouting ‘BROMANCE’ or just plainly pointing out the obvious homoerotic undertones of Tommy and Mark frolicking in the park and other MACHO activities.

    We managed to get a good rendition of the Rocky Theme as they are jogging up the steps at the end of the park scene as well.

  5. Pingback: B-Screaming Screening » Blog Archive » So what’s big deal with “The Room”?

  6. Pingback: Film Event: The Room, 20 February, Cameo Cinema, Edinburgh « itsonitsgone.com

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