Standing ‘room’ only, Proctors packed for latest showing

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By Becca Seel

“SPOONS!” cried the audience, as a volley of plastic cutlery flew through the air, thrown at the sight of a framed picture of a plastic spoon seen on the giant, fifteen million dollar screen.

Proctor’s Thursday night screening of The Room, an “electrifying black comedy” conceived of, written by, produced, directed, and starring the mysterious Tommy Wiseau, was a night of camaraderie among fans of pop culture, a celebration of the best worst film American cinema has ever produced.

The Room is delightfully awful. It is not merely a bad film, but a perfect storm of terrible acting, horrible effects, and cringe-worthy dialogue. There is absolutely no plot to this film; indeed, there are revelations of character’s struggles with cancer and drug abuse that are explored in one scene and never mentioned again.

But for admirers of all things that are bad in popular culture, The Room is an unparalleled masterpiece. I adore this film. It is my favorite. I own a copy. I have seen it over twenty times. I stared at the screen in adoration, clutching a bouquet of spoons to my chest that I had been filching for a week. I felt that on some level the other people in the room understood me, as we all applauded a suicide and laughed over a tale of domestic violence.

The three and a half graphic sex scenes during the film (one of which I deem “a half” because it is merely leftover cuts from the first sex scene shown less than eight minutes into the movie) were very nearly watchable as the theater was filled with sounds of disgust and slow-claps along with the R&B tracks that barely masked the fact that sounds of characters’ pleasure were added in sometime during post-production.

At film showings that are interactive in nature, the audience is the primary decider of the film-going experience. I was worried that attendance would be thin and I would be one of the only ones singing the Full House theme or repeatedly shouting “because you’re a woman” or “who the fuck ARE you?!?” to various characters. But I was happy to see that attendees in the full theater were enthusiastic participants.

Prior to Thursday’s successful screening, Proctors had been offering unique programming for film buffs and movie lovers. “Q-Fest” was held during the winter, which showed a collection of LGBTQ-themed films, with a well-attended screening of the film Howl.

“We are not the people who bring you Mamma Mia!” shouted one of the organizers for the evening, to large cheers. Instead of large-budget touring musicals, Proctors had apparently found a niche in the greater Capital Region for people who like the offbeat. For a Schenectady trying to rebuild a sense of culture, The Room is just the thing.

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