The Movie: The Room at Central Cinema (1411 21st Avenue Seattle).
The Dinner: Quatro Formaggio personal pizza (heavy on the Formaggio) and three pitchers of Roger's Pilsner, also at Central Cinema.
The Screenplate: Tommy Wiseau's The Room is a cult phenomenon that has been attacking America's coasts for a little less than a decade now, packing second-run American cinemas with rowdy youths alongside a new generation of prestigious comedians, including David Cross, Patton Oswalt and Zach Galifianakis. These comics have more or less stewarded the independent film from a low-budget obscurity to a centerpiece for audience participation, ensuring that pretty much no two showings of the film produce the same experience.
Now it seems like Seattle has officially accepted The Room into its very center, with a monthly exhibition at Central Cinema that only seems to garner a larger and more excited crowd with every blissfully over-the-top evening.
The film has been called "the new Rocky Horror" by every armchair movie critic to ever open a Blogger account, although this analogy is becoming dreadfully limited for such a new, dynamic phenomenon. It's true that the two films share a target audience of drunk twenty-somethings who like to yell things at a movie screen, but a lot of things have changed since Rocky Horror's 1975 release. Wiseau's movie goes much further to violate cinematic conventions that most filmgoers have taken for granted.
Characters aren't introduced so much as they are thrown in front of a camera, daring any audience member to care who they are or what they're doing there. One character even changes actors in the middle of the film, without a single warning sign or indication as to why. Scenes are frequently padded with needlessly long establishing shots of San Francisco, despite the fact that the actual plot of the film takes place almost exclusively indoors and has little to nothing to do with living in San Francisco, California, America, or possibly even Earth itself.
However, the amount of B-roll footage pales in comparison to the film's merciless flood of awkward, softcore sex scenes, mostly featuring the director/main character's scarred, naked backside. If you see The Room, you will not believe how much of this film is fake lovemaking. There's simply no way to prepare yourself for it. To give you some idea, it's reported that the original female lead of the film walked out on the set due to how many times Wiseau asked to redo their more "intimate" scenes, where it appears the mysterious European is thrusting himself into her belly button.
The audience takes The Room's flaws and uses them as a jumping off point for running gags collected throughout the film's post-post-production lifespan. Unexplained new characters are ceremoniously greeted with "WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU?!" Fans enthusiastically cheer on mercilessly long panning shots of the Golden Gate Bridge with the zeal of watching a freshman take their first keg stand until the entire structure is spanned. Singalongs are held to the godawful R&B songs that provide the soundtrack for The Room's numerous sex scenes.
These are just a few examples of the various jibes you can expect from a Room showing. A true testament to The Room's viral popularity, there is no officially sanctioned "rulebook" for being a Room audience member, only a series of internet cheat sheets, the most notorious featured on The Onion's AV Club. With that in mind, the more exciting jokes are the ones unique to each theater--and the most exciting jokes are the ones brand new to each screening. I beamed with joy after successfully starting a "THROW HIM OFF" chant midway into an incomprehensibly aggressive dialogue on the rooftop of the titular Room.
Central Cinema provides a near-perfect venue for this masterpiece of trash cinema, beginning each showing with a series of hilariously awful found clips from Everything is Terrible! and a brief introduction to the more popular of the aforementioned gags by an emcee who both enthusiastic and understanding of his supporting role to the audience itself.
Although a previous Dinner and a Movie has already gone over the theater/eatery's accommodations, the hostesses of Central Cinema really do deserve special consideration. These artful combinations of caring attendant and elusive food ninja weave seamlessly through the soused mass of catcallers. Although my party didn't get their first pitcher for awhile, the delay was more than forgivable relative to the fact a small hostess team was serving an entire theater.
Of course, I couldn't resist the cheap wordplay of ordering Central Cinema's Quatro Formaggio pizza for such a cheesy film, but I was also inspired by the awesome $5 price tag during their Happy Hour, which extends to any movie that starts after 9 p.m. This isn't going to be the best four-cheese pizza you've ever had in your life, but a firm crust and tangy marinara gives you a great mid-movie snack for the price of a half a cup of popcorn at a rival cinema. You're going to need that snack for all of the screaming you're going to be doing.
Also, Central Cinema was more than happy to provide the amount of alcohol required to properly enjoy this experience, while the smell alone of such a quantity would probably get you put on Regal Cinemas' blacklist.