For those not in the know, Tommy Wiseau is an incoherent, long-haired, droopy-eyed screenwriter and actor. He wrote and appeared in the notoriously bad film, The Room and has gone on to participate in other projects, many of which can be found on YouTube.
Despite his reputation, Wiseau still has a certain appeal about him. Perhaps it's the weirdly funny things he says, or how hard he attempts to "act" but fails so fantastically. He is the quintessential self-caricature. From the interviews he gives to his acting "advice"; it's nothing short of a callback to how utterly clueless but self-admiring he is.
Here are four reasons why it's hard to ignore this man:
1. Like a Train Wreck, it's Hard to Look Away
Credit: Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA http://www.flickr.com/photos/omcoc/6859217749/Wiseau is quite likely delusional. He seems to believe that his infamous self-directed, self-produced, self-written, self-starring (usually a very bad sign) film, The Room, is just as much of a classic as Citizen Kane.
From the poorly conceived plot to the choice of music to the green-screen rooftop sequences to the bad acting, there is nothing particularly redeeming about the cinematography of The Room. However, it is a lot of fun to make fun of.
Some movies (like After Last Season) are just plain bad. They provide no entertainment value, and the viewer can't even turn it into a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 style riff session. Others, like The Room, provide the audience with ample opportunity to take jabs at it.
Also noteworthy is the Tommy Wi-Show, a show in which TW is forced to play video games by an alien. It has been the recipient of much flak, but all told it is quite ingenious. Wiseau does about as well as you think he would at video games (he fails... most of the time), and hilarity ensues. The bite-size episodes might be a little more palatable than an entire 99 minute film as well.
2. What's Coming Next?
This point goes hand in hand with my last. Even though you're not going to like it, there's still a small part of you that wants to know what Wiseau is up to and what he's going to produce next.
Earlier this year, Wiseau introduced The Room in 3D at PCC London. He'd threatened to do this nearly three years ago, and much to everyone's amazement and incredulity, it is has become a reality.
One simple question: "why?"
The Room is not an action film. It doesn't contain marveling CG effects or sweeping terrain shots. There are no explosions or high-speed chases. The need to make this "drama" film into a 3D feature is close to nil.
But that's why it's hard to look away. You don't know what this guy is going to think of next.
3. He's Fun to Imitate
Wiseau is just plain fun to imitate. It has provided a ton of laughs for the last two years (!) among my peers, since I first saw the movie.
At times quoting lines from the movie is great ("So anyway, how is your sex life?"), but either making up your own incoherent babble or quoting various commentaries and interviews is just as effective.
At a local screening of The Room that I went to, they even had a quick contest in which the person who did the best Wiseau impression won a prize. If that doesn't tell you how much fun it is, I don't know what would.
4. He's a bit of a Mystery
Wiseau occasionally talks about living in France, supposedly grew up in New Orleans, and had ambitions of becoming a rock star, but even Wikipedia doesn't provide you with much of a hint as to his back story beyond that.
Why he has such a thick, vaguely European accent, why he doesn't seem able to put cohesive thoughts together in speech, why he decided to call his movie The Room, why he shot The Room in two different formats (35 mm film and high-definition video)... There aren't enough answers. There are simply more questions than reality has room for.
Mystery keeps us intrigued.