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Tommy Wiseau's Big Shark Can't Be The Room, But Could Be Even Better - If He Stays True To Himself

Tommy Wiseau, his mysterious accent, and his signature sunglasses emerged from nowhere in 2003, and the movie landscape has never been the same since.

His signature film, "The Room," remains a cult classic 20 years after the fact, delighting audiences across the world with its bizarre tone, randomly dropped plotlines, forced acting, and Wiseau himself as the wildly miscast romantic lead. Finally, there's now a new Wiseau movie on the horizon, and fans don't quite know what to expect — but there are a lot of things that could go very right and very wrong with this new venture. 

Wiseau is, for better or for worse, a singular filmmaker. Nobody makes movies quite like this guy, to the point where a book and a movie, "The Disaster Artist," focus entirely on the "process" behind Wiseau's ludicrously specific filmmaking visions. Now that "Big Shark," Wiseau's next big movie, is about to swim onto our screens, Wiseau's approach is hugely important here. After all, Wiseau is weird. There's no getting around that. He has approximately seven different backstories, and it's impossible to figure out which one is real (or if any of them are). His real age is totally unclear, and he doesn't appear to get any older — nor does it seem possible that he was ever young, somehow. His accent is either Eastern European, French, from Louisiana, or from none of those places. All of this is to say that "Big Shark" needs to be weird ... but in a very, very specific way.

What's the deal with The Room, anyway?

If you've somehow made it this far in your life without sitting down to watch "The Room" — no, not the movie with Brie Larson trapped in a room — then you're missing out, but let's break it down, just in case. The cast of "The Room" rotates entirely around whatever actions Wiseau makes as Johnny, a man whose life is perfect on the surface: he's got a successful banking career (which is never depicted on-screen) and a loving fiancée, Lisa (Juliette Danielle). Except ... twist! Juliette doesn't want to marry Johnny, and she's sleeping with his best friend Mark (Greg Sestero). Johnny is suspicious, thanks to a comment from Lisa's mother, and it starts, uh, tearing him apart.

Also, Lisa's mother "definitely has breast cancer," which is mentioned once and never again. There's a scene where all of the male characters toss a football around in tuxedos for no apparent reason, and one of the actors — Kyle Vogt, who played Peter — abruptly left during production, so Wiseau replaces him with a different character and never references this obvious switch-up. Mark attempts to murder Peter at some point as well, and then the two move on as if it never happened. There's an apparent subplot involving a teenager buying illegal drugs that lasts for about six seconds. All of this is just the tip of the iceberg where "The Room" is concerned. It's so, so, so weird. And that's what's kind of great about it, in the end. 

Can Big Shark live up to The Room?

"Big Shark," Wiseau's second directorial effort, was announced in late 2019 and hit a ton of delays for its release — one could safely assume they were related to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that's unconfirmed. In any case, a trailer dropped in February of 2023 that certainly seems like "Big Shark" has a pretty similar vibe to "The Room," in that it's utterly bizarre.

Though Greg Sestero is credited as appearing in the movie and appeared in the equally weird 2019 trailer, he doesn't show up in the 2023 trailer — which starts out in, uh, a boxing ring. Billed as "the next epic," the trailer mostly shows two people boxing, water dripping onto the ground, and establishing shots of a city landscape ... until it finally debuts a truly horrendous-looking CGI shark chasing two men down a city street. There's also what seems like a black-and-white ad after the trailer for Tommy Wiseau-branded boxers that does not seem to have anything to do with, you know, anything that's happened thus far.

Does it look like a real movie? Not really, no. Does "The Room" look or feel like a real movie? Not really, no. And that's a great sign for "Big Shark."

Big Shark could be amazing if Wiseau embraces his weirdest self

"Big Shark" might have the same overall vibe as "The Room," but it's also, clearly, really different. "The Room" was envisioned as a romantic thriller, while "Big Shark" seems to be Wiseau's attempt at a big disaster movie (apparently, he hasn't seen "Shark Attack 3: Megalodon," the gold standard of crappy shark disaster movies). Following three firefighters, one of whom is (obviously) played by Wiseau himself, "Big Shark" is clearly Wiseau trying to break out of his comfort zone.

That all said, "The Room" is weirdly, strangely perfect because Wiseau really believes in it, a point that's driven home in the movie version of "The Disaster Artist." Played by James Franco, Wiseau is visibly upset when the audience laughs at his big premiere and leaves the theater, and Greg (portrayed by Dave Franco) has to go console him, convincing him that everything will work out just fine, and the audience loves it ... albeit, not in the way Wiseau intended.

"The Room" is, according to Wiseau many times over, supposed to be the story of Wiseau's life (though if that's the case, his life is even weirder than we think), so of course he took it completely seriously. In the years since its release, though, "The Room" has evolved, and frankly, we hope that Wiseau hasn't.

Wiseau can't be too self-aware, or Big Shark won't work

Since 2003, "The Room" has taken on a new life, attracting the aforementioned cult following as a movie that niche theaters regularly show at midnight for rowdy, chaotic showings. Wiseau himself frequently shows up to these screenings to chat with and meet fans of his film, clearly basking in his decades-old glory. Books and essays and YouTube videos have been written about "The Room" ad nauseam, with critics trying to find whatever brilliance they can behind the madness. This could be a problem where "Big Shark" is concerned.

Sure, the trailer has big Wiseau energy, but the infamous writer-director should tread carefully here and approach this new movie just like he did for "The Room" — with that same level of earnestness and genuine yet weird love for filmmaking. Wiseau cites "Citizen Kane" as inspiration for his work, which is ... fascinating, to say the least, and it's clear that the man truly loves the movies. It's this love, weird as it is, that made Wiseau famous.

"Big Shark" can be a lot of things and still work in Wiseau's limited, weird oeuvre, but here's one thing it shouldn't be: self-aware. In a post-cult following, post-"Disaster Artist" world, "Big Shark" could make the enormous mistake of trying to be in on the joke. Wiseau is at his best when he lets — and strangely, enjoys when — people laugh at his very sincere efforts. Please let "Big Shark" be more of that.