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Tag Archives: Seth MacFarlane
The Room has quickly become one of my favorite movies. I cannot, and could not, begin to call it a good film, but it is enjoyably and transcendently inept. The movie’s premise is a love triangle between Johnny, a well-meaning banker, Lisa, his fiancée, and Mark, his best friend. But that basic description does not begin to capture all that is The Room.
The internet has exhaustively documented the film’s numerous flaws and the insanity going on behind the scenes, but in brief, Tommy Wiseau, the film’s writer, director, star, and overall creative visionary, produced the perfect storm of terrible movies. The writing is embarrassing; the acting is weak and wooden, and the dialogue is quotable for all the wrong reasons. Plots are picked up and dropped seemingly at random; characters emerge and disappear for no reason, and the film is so poorly directed and edited that it could be considered avant-garde if people believed it were a deliberate departure from the norm.
I’ve watched this unintentional masterpiece five times. I have shared it with my fiancée, with my parents, and with multiple groups of friends, because it’s one of the movies that just has to be seen to be believed. It’s the type of film that you would never expect to actually come to fruition. Its vision is too singular. Making a movie involves too much effort from too many people for one individual to be able to create something so unique and so awful. In short, The Room is a cinematic train wreck that is as breathtaking as it is bewildering.
But recently, a comment about the movie’s questionable notoriety gave me pause. Greg Sestero, one of the film’s “stars,” is writing a new book about the film. In an article about the book’s release, one online commenter complained about Sestero capitalizing on Wiseau and the movie’s infamy, arguing that,“at some point it feels like he’s exploiting a man who’s not all there.” It made me wonder if there’s something wrong about the joy I derive from The Room.
Among the Springfield faithful, MacFarlane’s Family Guy is chastised for having borrowed, referenced, or outright stolen a great deal from the denizens of Springfield. He’s criticized among the diehard fans of the show for being tasteless, lazy, and self-indulgent. Suffice it to say, as an avowed Simpsons nerd, he’s not my favorite person in the world.
But he was a great Oscar host.
A good Oscar host can make the room a little uncomfortable. A good Oscar host can laugh at himself. A good Oscar host is versatile. A good Oscar host knows how to put on a show. A good Oscar host knows how to deliver a comic aside. A good Oscar host can bring something unexpected.
And Seth MacFarlane’s ability to do all of those things is why he was great at the Academy Awards. He threw out a fair share of barbs while surrounded by Tinseltown’s elite. He channeled the clever, if raunchy, feistiness, that gave Family Guy its initial cult following. He harnessed his love for Old Hollywood with his crooning, vaudeville-style repartee, and song and dance routines. He tempered it all with healthy doses of self-effacement to soften the blows in both directions.