In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 2, 2005 / 23 Nisan, 5765

From Horror to Simply Horrible

By Joel Stein

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I've always wondered how "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" became a cult hit. Did one guy just show up in latex one night, pelting people with rice to the delight of the couples in the audience? "Honey, I believe that gentleman has a splendid idea. What say next week we return in gender-bending S&M gear of our own?"

Now I know. "The Room," an indie drama advertised for the last three years on a creepy-looking billboard on Highland Avenue, plays now and then at midnight at West Hollywood's Laemmle Sunset 5 theaters. People dress as the characters, shout out the lines, throw roses and plastic spoons, clap along to the music, count the number of times dialogue is repeated and constantly yell back at the screen.

The cultization of the film started two years ago when some undergrad USC film majors went to a free screening, which star/writer/director Tommy Wiseau had promoted with a personal fortune-worth of billboards, local TV commercials, free T-shirts, postcards and a genius L.A. Weekly full-page ad that claimed you could not call yourself a real actor if you didn't come see the movie. This, I believe, is basically the same ploy Robert Evans used to meet women.

Before last weekend's showing, I went to a pre-"Room" party hosted by Richard Lukas, who wore a long black wig, sunglasses and an askew tie like the film's Wiseau. Reuben Sears, who was seeing the film for a fifth time, made me a drink named after his favorite character, Silk Shirt Guy. "I keep a postcard of 'The Room' in my car," said Sears, an actor. "Every time I feel bad about my career, I flip down my visor and say, 'If these people are in a movie, maybe I can have a career too.' It's a good motivator for me."

More than 140 people showed up, some of them instructed to see it by their New York Film Academy teachers — as an example of how not to make a film. The guys in back of me had endless packages of plastic spoons, along with bubble soap they never used. The embarrassing bubble-blowing scene, they later realized, was in "Fever Pitch."

"The Room" is a lot like what a movie would look like if it were made by a North Korean dictator. The actors weren't the age they claimed to be, their wigs didn't fit, a woman suddenly said she had breast cancer and never mentioned it again, the San Francisco skyline is shown on a blue screen on an L.A. rooftop, and a soft-core sex scene had Wiseau positioned in a way that looked like he was enjoying his girlfriend's stomach — which, having looked at her, would have been impossible.

By the time I left, the thing I was most shocked by — other than the fact that the characters mixed a drink that was one part whiskey with one part vodka — was that Wiseau, who spent six years on the film and submitted it for an Academy Award, was handing out a documentary he made about the audience reaction. He had become a willing party to his mockery. It was like he stole George W. Bush's playbook.

I met Wiseau at Jerry's Deli, where he wore his Oakley sunglasses the entire time and spoke in a thick pan-European accent he refuses to identify. He said he always intended to provoke the audience with his extreme choices. "In America, we don't play football in tuxedos. Or from 3 feet away," he said. "It says you can break the rules. Freedom of expression is the idea."

When I pressed him on what it feels like to have to reedit your website so "a film with the passion of Tennessee Williams" is immediately followed by "experience this quirky new black comedy!" he said he always meant for it to be a comedy. Then he paused and added, "I wanted people to see my movie. That's the irony of the story."

When I got home, I was still thinking about how pathetic it is to need attention so badly that it feels good to be abused. Later that night, a friend e-mailed to tell me she saw Lewis Black's stand-up routine and he mentioned me in a punch line. And, for a good while, I was excited about it.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Joel Stein is a Los Angeles Times columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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03/21/05 Counting curses and blunt-force injuries

© 2005 Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate