7. Tommy Wiseau claims that The Room was intended as a parody all along – Also bowing to the Pee Wee Herman “I meant to do that” brand of mea culpa. The Room is, according to Entertainment Weekly, “the Citizen Kane of bad movies.” Others have not even been that kind toward it. The auteur behind The Room, Tommy Wiseau, is considered quite the Wack-a-doo. But was The Room an earnest art film that was horrifically inept, or one of the greatest pranks ever pulled on the navel-gazing arthouse set? Wiseau would like you to believe the latter.
The movie started as a play, then was adapted into a book (that purportedly was 500 pages long, thereby missing the entire point of “adaptation” and consequently making the ghost of Leo Tolstoy shout, “Damn, boyee”). At no time during this period did Wiseau say this was a parody. Likewise, during the production he failed to let the cast and crew in on the joke. To this day, members of said cast will claim the movie was shot as was intended, as “an independent romantic drama” and not as a spoof that eviscerated the cliches of independent romantic dramas. At that, interpretation of text would have nothing to do with what is said to be extremely inept editing, shooting, and just about any other aspect you could care to name about The Room.
But Wiseau is sticking to his guns, saying it was a joke. But as we’ve already mentioned, if you didn’t figure out it was a joke by the end, it was a really, really bad joke…which tends to be the final assessment for The Room.
6. “This is our farewell tour.” – Musicians of a certain age — a vintage, let’s call it — have a lot of money. They have residuals coming in that can help spend that lot of money, creating a lifestyle to which certain musicians of a certain vintage grow accustomed. They want to play golf. They want to sleep during the day and night, not just during the day. They like the groupies but, lately, even the groupies are getting boring. And they’re getting as old as the rock stars themselves, and where’s the fun in that?
So we find artists embarking on goodbye tours. The Who did it. Scorpions did it. Judas Priest did it. Even Kiss did it. They retired. They went away and were never seen or heard from again, until a year later. Retirement for musicians with long careers is like that concert ending song when everyone leaves the stage. The audience claps for the encore. Heck, maybe they don’t clap for the encore. There will still be an encore. And in many cases it isn’t the love of performance, or of the audience, or the celebration of a legacy of music that they go out for. Records don’t sell like they used to. Licensing of songs, once the single most lucrative part of the song production economy because it generated income from old assets, still is to a degree but is mostly to the record companies that own the masters of those classic tracks. This has caused said artists to re-record their songs independently to try to get the full benefit of the licensing game, but there’s little that sounds sadder than a 60 year old man without the vocal fortitude he once had wailing about how he wants to sex up that sweet young thing. Ick.
The solo careers do not work out, generally. Those champagne flutes full of champagn-y champagne aren’t going to magically fill and drink themselves. How do you get that money up again when all the previously established wellsprings of revenue have dried up as dustily as your once potent manhood? You get a job, that’s what you do. And if you only know how to play X-number of songs and swing your microphone around your head like a helicopter blade, that’s a difficult skill set to take with you to Home Depot. We’ve known some Walmart greeters who could swing a mean mic, but that’s another story.
There are other things to consider as well, like the ancillary economies. Imagine you are the poor schmuck who scooped up a thousand dollars worth of merchandise from The Who’s first farewell tour, thinking, “One day the memorabilia market will make me rich!” Who’s thinking about Joe Blow with a storage unit out in the sticks with boxes of shirts that are meaningless? Certainly not those aging rock stars up on stage who are still charging an arm and a leg for tickets. Curiously, the cheap nosebleed seats are now the best in the house because from that distance you can’t see the depressing ravages of time on their once-taut faces. Even their neck-wattles are diminished from that far up.
5. Paul Weller rips off “Taxman” and (sort of) re-writes it as “Start!” and claims it’s a tribute – This happens a lot, actually. It can be innocent. Say that there is a song you love a great deal and you become a musician. Chances are that DNA of that song, or artist, or overall style will carry through. Paul Weller, of The Jam and The Style Council, might have purposefully ripped off George Harrison’s “Taxman” or he might have accidentally interpolated it into his track “Start!” Harrison was accused of the same when “My Sweet Lord” sounded an awful lot like “He’s So Fine” by The Chiffons.