The Red Sox’ 4-5 start is a reminder that Boston can be a tough town when things aren’t going right. It’s not a place for the weak-hearted, weak-minded or weak-stomached.
Tommy Wiseau is none of the above. The writer, director and star of The Room visits the Hub for the first time this weekend. His movie will be playing at the Coolidge Theatre in Brookline and has been called "the Citizen Kane of bad movies."
It also has become bona fide cult classic with fans around the world. They attend midnight showings, yell dialogue, toss plastic spoons (whenever a framed spoon appears in the movie) and throw footballs in the aisles. Think Rocky Horror Picture Show without the Halloween costumes.
Over the years, Wiseau has endured his fair share of abuse about The Room. He’s been called every name in the book, and probably some that aren’t in the book. The New Orleans native isn’t a Red Sox fan, but the Red Sox could learn something from his philosophy on criticism.
"I don’t see any good from people being negative," Wiseau said. "Some people go overboard."
Look at Red Sox Nation. More than half of the comments on the Internet and sports talk radio are bashing the team these days. But two mediocre weeks in April doesn’t define a season.
If Wiseau had listened to the naysayers when he tried to get The Room off the ground, he won’t be enjoying global success.
"I never submitted The Room to any studio except for distribution," said Wiseau, who cites Orson Welles, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Marlon Brando and Tennessee Williams as his influences. "They saw my project, and they said, 'No, thank you very much.' One of the big studios, they said no. I said no problem, next. It’s water under the bridge. I’m very comfortable where we are now. I’m much more comfortable than expected. You see what’s going on. I’m happy with The Room. I’ll be attached to The Room for the rest of my life. All this negative stuff I don’t care, to be honest with you, as long as people enjoy themselves."
There’s still time for the Red Sox to bounce back and start having fun again. When The Room was released in 2003, it was panned by critics. Now, Wiseau is having the last laugh.
"You say it’s so bad, but people don’t realize that bad in America, by slang, is good," the filmmaker explains. "Some people don’t grasp this — bad is good."
The Red Sox might not look so good after going 3-3 on their recent road trip, but a 10-game homestand could be just the cure for the early-season blues. It's way too early to write their eulogy, and thinking bad thoughts can only hurt the team.
"We are, in America, influenced by negativity," Wiseau said. "Sometimes, then that switches, and we say, 'Wait a minute, we really don’t like that.' Not always, 99 percent of the time, truth will prevail. Let me say it this way: If you have 100 people who are talking negative, and you only have one person who is saying positive things, I would say 99.9 percent, the person who says it positive can win, because he eventually will say it to these negative people. Negatives always create negatives.
"When somebody is negative, it is truly difficult. You don’t want to be in a situation that’s negative. However, we don’t have choices on this. We are what we are by human nature. It is very complex. You cannot say this is formula — two and two is four. You cannot say that about human nature. I will rebut any person in the world. There’s no way in the world you can say that, because there’s not logic behind, because we are different. It doesn’t matter where you live, because we have a different view about the world, words."
When all else fails, persevere. Wiseau has gone from unknown to film expert and Hollywood legend. He made his comedy cable debut on Adult Swim’s Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job! and made a sketch with adult film star Sydnee Steele. He travels the world. Now he’s working on a sitcom pilot called The Neighbors, a vampire movie and possible projects for Comedy Central and MTV.
"Criticism has never bothered me," Wiseau said. "To upset me takes a few years. … I have a certain religion — we welcome everyone. You can criticize, and it doesn’t affect me what people think. I don’t see that way. … Let’s not rub it in. … We developed this cult phenomenon. I think I did something right."
At this rate, it won’t be long before Tommy Wiseau becomes a household name. It wouldn’t have been possible if he didn’t follow some prescient advice: "The best advice somebody gave to me: Try to go first, not second. … [And] keep going. You don’t stop. You just keep going."
The Red Sox will keep going. So hold the criticism. There are still 153 regular-season games to play.