behind the seams the room

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‘Behind the Seams’: Why ‘The Room’ has such horrible costume design

What can we learn from the costumes of the worst movie ever made?

Nov 12, 2020, 5:37 pm*

Internet Culture


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

What can we learn from watching one of the worst films ever made? The Room has mesmerized audiences since 2003, becoming a cult classic on par with The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Ostensibly a romantic drama, this movie gets everything wrong: acting, writing, cinematography, you name it. Shaped by the eccentric vision of its writer/director/star Tommy Wiseau, it’s fascinatingly bad. And that includes the costume design.

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In this week's episode of the Behind the Seams video series, we explore what makes The Room's costume design so awful—and what it tells us about other movies. In a normal contemporary drama, clothes can offer a lot of information about the characters and setting. But when a movie gets it this wrong, the costumes become an unintentional punchline.

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To explain the bizarre fashion choices of The Room, we dug into Tommy Wiseau's unique worldview, the film's hilariously on-the-nose brand of sexism, and how the film got made in the first place.

If you enjoy video essays like Every Frame a Painting, you’ll love Behind the Seams! New episodes will arrive weekly, decoding the world of costume design on film. Subscribe here, and check out our previous episodes on Mad Max: Fury Road and Keira Knightley's historical filmography.

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*First Published: Nov 5, 2020, 8:00 am