Composed by: Mladen Milicevic
Ah, The Room. It’s one of the most recognized bad films, hitting that sweet spot where it’s so weird and terrible that it becomes an ironically hilarious viewing pleasure. It was directed and produced by Tommy Wisseau, a long-haired man of ambiguous European ancestry who wanted to pour out his passion and life experiences through a cinematic vanity project. He also of course gave himself the lead role, resulting in one of the worst starring performances of cinematic history. The Room is about an all-around good guy, Johnny, who’s engaged to a woman named Lisa. Lisa decides she doesn’t really love him and carries on an affair with Johnny’s best friend Mark. Aside from this plot, the movie is a collection of random scenes, characters, and plot points that will baffle first time viewers. Some of the other memorable characters include Lisa’s perpetually frowning mother Claudia, contradictory psychologist Peter, and Denny, a grown man who’s creepily presented like a teenager. The Room was a box office dud that was released without notice, but years later was discovered by a wider audience. It has since become a cult classic, with Tommy Wisseau making bank off of its infamy through special screenings and some merchandise. Among the merchandise is the soundtrack, a collection of songs as well as the musical score from Mladen Milicevic. The movie is bad, but does the music actually have merit?
Mladen Milicevic is a Yugoslavian composer (a fact which can only add fuel to the theory that Wisseau immigrated from a repressive Soviet republic). Based on my research he appears to be a highly academic artist and has won prizes in European circles. He has pursued studies into how neuroscience relates to music. Milicevic’s score for The Room is actually quite dark. One track in particular, “Life,” sounds like eerie underscore from a horror film. The fact that Milicevic’s score is earnestly dramatic ensures that its implementation alongside a hilariously bad film creates further ironic enjoyment. He obviously didn’t have a massive orchestra at his disposal, not that one needs one for an intimate drama. The music is mostly orchestrated on piano, woodwinds, and strings, with some percussion and electronics mixed in for what are supposed to be the tense moments. Despite his limited tools and the film he was scoring, Milicevic did a competent and sometimes interesting job. One of the selling points of The Room is that Wisseau actually had a competent crew around him and sometimes their efforts manage to reveal themselves in spite of the domineering insanity coming from the director/producer/lead actor. Continue reading