The Neighbors, 2015, 0 stars

The Neighbors  sets new standard for crap

The Neighbors

Image copyright Wiseau-Films

Exclusive to MeierMovies.com, April 10, 2015

I feel as if a retarded, racist, misogynistic drug addict just took a shit on my brain. Yes, I just survived binge-watching all four episodes of The Neighbors, the web series created by Tommy Wiseau and now available for free at Hulu.com. Actually, the more appropriate term is binge-and-purge watching, as this vile pile of vomit is in a league by itself, a league heretofore unimagined.

If you’re unfamiliar with Wiseau, I really don’t have the strength to bring you up to date. You’ll just have to Google the guy and learn for yourself how he birthed an odd cult sensation called The Room, one of the 10 worst theatrically released films of all time. Since he gained fame for that dung pile, he’s been attending screenings of his movie – where people come to laugh at him – and hinting at his next project. Well, that project is finally here, and it’s worse than we imagined.

Wiseau plays the manager of an apartment complex crammed with dysfunctional tenants. There’s the hot handyman, the bikini-glad Barbie doll, the stoner, the unflattering stereotype of a black woman, a pet chicken and a member of the British royal family. Seriously. And over four barely watchable episodes, we’re treated to scene upon meaningless scene of bad dialogue and pointless, seemingly ad-libbed plots, separated by the same repetitive music and the same fucking establishing shot. Again and again. Oh, and the yelling. Everyone is yelling.

To top all that off, Wiseau plays a second character who inexplicably takes over the running of the complex while Wiseau’s manager character is in Hawaii. But the only real difference between the two is the color of their ridiculous wigs. They have the same mannerisms, same Eastern European accent, same pants style and even – in what is clearly a mistake that should have been edited out – the same catchphrase: “What a day!”

This is actually worse than The Room. Yes, it’s possible to be worse than The Room. Among films, Manos: the Hands of Fate, Birdemic and a couple of Ed Wood films are inferior. But even Wood is looking down from his eternal haunted house in the sky and asking Wiseau, “What the hell have you done?”

The Neighbors fails in all areas, but what’s most astonishing is its technical glitches. While The Room was badly written, directed and acted, it at least had a professional cinematographer and sound technicians. And Wiseau surrounded himself with people who had editing and production experience. Perhaps Wiseau simply ran out of money for his latest project or wanted to do everything himself, or maybe he just didn’t care. I don’t know his motivations. But what I do know is I’ve never seen audio, costumes, editing or continuity this bad outside of student-film competitions, timed filmmaking contests, pornography or my nightmares.

At this point, you might be thinking that this is a joke. Surely he made this intentionally bad or, at the very least, as a playful romp with friends, never intending it to air, right? Well, that is indeed one remotely plausible theory. But if you’ve spent any time studying or watching Wiseau, you’ll strongly suspect this is not in jest.

But let’s get serious for a second. Wiseau doesn’t really deserve all these insults. What he deserves is help, both mentally and physically. Frankly, he looks sick, can’t seem to fully open his eyes, appears addled and has clearly lost weight since The Room. (His buttocks are no longer sublime, but at least he keeps them in his pants this time.) And, even worse, he obviously still believes, falsely, that he’s capable of creating legitimate entertainment.

If you’ve read The Disaster Artist by Greg Sistero, you don’t need me to tell you how badly Wiseau needs to get his priorities straight. He clearly craves fame and attention, but the path to that fame is not healthy for him, or us. I hope he can put aside his misguided filmmaking desire and focus instead on something he might be good at, something that will bring him a bit of class, respect and happiness. But whatever you do, Tommy, please don’t use a camera again.

Copyright 2015 © Cameron Meier