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An idiot’’s delight in Greensboro, Mayberry daze in Mt. Airy

An idiot’s delight in Greensboro, Mayberry daze in Mt. Airy

Hollywood is loaded with legends, but not perhaps so unlikely as Tommy Wiseau, the writer/director/executive producer of the indie “sensation” The Room , a film of such legendarily bad proportions that it had to be seen to be believed… or disbelieved, as the case may be.

For nearly five years, a billboard above Highland Avenue in Los Angeles trumpeted the film, but an even more effective advertisement was the film itself — a self-indulgent paean to Wiseau’s non-talents as both actor and filmmaker. In the film, he plays Johnny, a successful banker who’s about to walk down the aisle with his fiancee (Juliette Danielle). The film is about their relationship, the people around them and how everything comes to a cataclysmic climax — just like the film itself.

Now, in a special tribute to Wiseau’s cinematic vision, Greensboro’s improvisational comedy troupe the Idiot Box will be presenting special screenings of the film at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas (1305 Battleground Ave., Greensboro). They intend to pay homage to The Room as only they can — in inimitably irreverent fashion — and they’re inviting you the audience to join in the fun.

The Idiot Box’s presentations of The Room will take place at 7:30 p.m. this Thursday, Oct. 15, and Nov. 19. Tickets are $10 each and include a free beer or soda, as well as a handful of plastic spoons which are to be thrown at the screen at appropriate (or inappropriate) moments. The first 100 attendees will also be sent a special gift from filmmaker Tommy Wiseau himself.

In his 2003 review of the film, Variety film critic Scott Foundas described The Room as “a movie that prompts most of its viewers to ask for their money back — before even 30 minutes have past. Maybe that has something to do with the extreme unpleasantness of watching Wiseau and actress Juliette Danielle (as his fiancé) engage in a series of softcore sex scenes; or the overall ludicrousness of a film whose primary goal, apparently, is to convince us that the freakish Wiseau is actually a normal, everyday sort of guy.”

The Film Fiend opined: “There are no words in my version of the English language which can accurately describe writer/director star Wiseau’s impossibly surreal 2003 romantic drama The Room to anyone who had not yet experienced the film for themselves. Perceived unintentional laughter abounds, highlighted by a deliriously entertaining albeit undeniably awful performance for its creepy, long-haired creator and a plotholeriddled script that appears to have been haphazardly conceived by a classroom full of melodramatic second-graders. As genuinely awful as this whole mess may seem, you’ll soon discover it’s actually quite difficult to despise The Room and its quirky inhabitants. One can’t help but wonder if this hilariously foul affair is some sort of bizarre experiment perpetrated by a savvy group of demented sketch comics with a decidedly warped sense of humor and the uncanny ability to hide their self-awareness. Either way, The Room is a blast from beginning to end.”

With such “praise,” it is any wonder that The Room has become a cult favorite among bad-movie aficionados the world over? It has even attracted its share of high-profile fans, including Alec Baldwin, Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd.

Now that the film has become a cult hit, Wiseau takes “credit” for the film, applauding audiences who now see it for the satire he claims he always intended it to be.

For tickets or more information, call 336.230.1732 or see www.CarouselBattleground.com… and don’t say you weren’t warned!

•••

It’s far easier to believe that “The Andy Griffith Show” has a cult following than The Room, but next week will mark a milestone for the annual Mayberry Days celebration in Mount Airy: It’s the 20th anniversary of the event.

The first Mayberry Days was, in fact, a Mayberry Day — as it only ran a single day.

With each successive year, however, the event has gotten bigger and, if there is such a term, “Mayberrier.” This year’s event runs Sept. 24-27 at various venues throughout Mount Airy.

One of the first successful television spin-offs, inspired by a character Griffith created on an episode of “The Danny Thomas Show,” for eight seasons, “The Andy Griffith Show” remained at the top of the ratings. When Griffith decided to leave to try his hand at movies, it was succeeded by “Mayberry RFD,” which was itself a ratings hit until 1971.

In syndication, “The Andy Griffith Show” proved more popular and durable than ever.

To this day it remains one of the most popular shows in the history of television… and much of it was “set” right in our own backyard.

During Mayberry Days, the entire town of Mount Airy goes plum wild. There’s just no other way to describe it. There are events and attractions galore, including live concert appearances by the Dillards (fondly remembered for their appearances on the series), the VW Boys, Jim Quick and Coastline, Vessels of Clay and others, and such guest stars as Betty Lynn, James Best, George Spence and Karen Knotts (daughter of Don Knotts).

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as the 20th Mayberry Days promises to be the biggest and best yet. If the appeal of “The Andy Griffith Show” is timeless and universal, that’s what the organizers of Mayberry Days have always aspired the event to be — with something for all ages.

For more information, including a full schedule of events and ticket prices, call 336.786.7998 or see www.mayberrydays.org.

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