If the walls of the historical Music Box Theatre could talk, what would they say?
Under normal circumstances, if the walls could talk during a screening of the indie film The Room, they would likely be asking the projectionist to stop rolling and to burn the reels immediately (if the trailer is any indication).
But screenings of The Room are very rarely tied to normal circumstances and that's exactly why the folks at the Music Box are attracted to the film. Southport's celebrated movie house will be hosting its second round of midnight screenings of writer/director/producer/star Tommy Wiseau's film on July 24 and 25.
The film, which has been classified as an unpleasantly bad melodrama, features Wiseau as the romantic lead trapped in a painful love triangle. It was originally panned when it came out in 2003, with Variety reporting that the movie "prompts most of its viewers to ask for their money back -- before even 30 minutes have passed." The film found new life when audiences started treating it as a total joke and it has been packing midnight screenings in LA for years now.
The flick first wowed Chicago audiences at the Music Box in late June, and since then Music Box Program Director Brian Andreotti has been eagerly awaiting its return.
Andreotti insists the Music Box is the perfect spot for the film since it fits with the theatre's goal of providing a variety of distinctive programming that is not the simple standard. "You always look for something new to excite people and this could not fit the bill better. It's a real sensation," he said of Wiseau's film.
What's notable about The Room is how it embodies part of the Music Box's credo where it’s not just about seeing a movie, it's also about offering viewers an experience. The Music Box wants to show all things unique, including "crazy midnight films as well as award winning foreign films," according to Andreotti. Just because a movie has become famous for being preposterously unpleasant doesn't mean it should be excluded, right?
Andreotti added The Room might even offer something The Rocky Horror Picture Show (the granddaddy of midnight films) cannot. "Rocky is an old standby and people know what they're getting into...so here there's a sense of something new. To be part of a [film] cult that maybe people haven't discovered yet, to get in early on the joke is kind of exciting."
Like with Rocky Horror, audience members from the LA screenings have brewed up some entertaining traditions like throwing plastic spoons at the screen. This tradition might not fly at the Music Box, though.
Organizers are excited for the screenings, but they may ask viewers to hold off with the spoons, as they feel potential damage to the screen might not be worth the risk. After all, the theater has been around for a while, and if the screen could talk, it would be terrible if it had to shout, "You’re tearing me apart!" (Don't get it? Check out the trailer here.)
The Room will be showing at the Music Box Theatre at midnight on Friday July 24 and Saturday July 25. For info on tickets and the Music Box, click here.