Keeping with my theme for these posts, I picked another very bizarre film for This Week On Netflix. The film was Four Rooms and though it was bizarre, I was prepared for the oddness because I am quite familiar with two of the films four directors. A collaboration film, Four Rooms follows one main character, Ted the Bellhop (Tim Roth), as he spends his New Year’s Eve as the only bellhop in a giant hotel. The film consists of four stories, each directed by Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino respectively. Each director gives the film and Ted a touch of their own personal flair, creating a character that ultimately remains the same throughout the film but has different aspects to his personality in each room.
Room #1: The Honeymoon Suite
Director: Allison Anders
Title: The Missing Ingredient
The film opens with Ted leading a number of drastically different women, six to be exact, up to the Honeymoon Suite. Ted and the audience are giving time to make their own assumptions as to what the women, one played by Madonna, are doing in the honeymoon suite before it is revealed that they are witches. The witches have gathered at this specific hotel, at this specific time and in this specific room for a reason, to resurrect the body of their goddess who was imprisoned in stone there. When the ritual begins, each women steps up and adds an ingredient to a cauldron until the final witch tells the group that she has forgotten her ingredient, a man’s sperm. Without the final ingredient, the goddess cannot be brought back to life and the only man that is readily available is Ted. Desperately attempting to resist, because hooking up with a client is against the rules, Ted eventually gives in and helps the witches to complete their potion.
Director: Alexandre Rockwell
Title: The Wrong Man
When a drunken call from a room hosting a party sends Ted to the wrong room, he gets sucked into a marital dispute that is beyond his bellhop capabilities. Mistaken for the wrong Ted, Sigfried (David Proval) believes Ted to be a man that has slept with his wife. Sigfried’s wife, Angela (Jennifer Beals), is tied up with a gag in her mouth and Sigfried threatens both Ted and his wife with a gun. As he desperately tries to escape the situation, Tim Roth proves that he has the slapstick skills that could make the Three Stooges jealous. An array of bizarre voices and sound effects escape Ted’s mouth and physical humor is not lost on the man. The segment, like the whole film, is darkly comedic, making you laugh while you’re on the edge of your seat hoping that Ted can escape the hellish situation.
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Title: The Misbehavers
In his third room of the night, Ted ceases to be a bellhop and becomes a babysitter. Two strict parents, played by Antonio Banderas and Tamlyn Tomita, planned to spend New Year’s Eve out on the town with one another and their two young children. At the last moment, they decide to leave their kids in the hotel room and pay Ted to take care of anything that they may need. Needless to say the title of this segment refers to the children and when Antonio Banderas returns he finds fire, alcohol, cigarettes, a needle in Ted’s leg, pornography and a dead hooker. In my opinion, this is the best and funniest segment of the film. The children are absolutely charming and devilish at the same time and it is endlessly amusing to watch things go from bad to worse to the definition of a train wreck.
Room: The Penthouse
Director: Quentin Tarentino
Title: The Man From Hollywood
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My favorite director takes over the film for the final scene and it is obvious within minutes. Ted is called up to the penthouse where he finds four people waiting for him. One is movie star Chester (Quentin Tarentino) and the other three are members of his entourage, Norman (Paul Calderon), Leo (Bruce Willis) and Angela, Sigfried’s wife from the second room. With Quentin behind the camera, the scene is full of crazy characters, non-stop talking and rants that make you laugh but you don’t really understand why. After sifting through the drunken bullshit, Ted finally figures out why he has been called. The three men have made a bed based on an old Twilight Zone special called the Man From Reno. Chester has bet his car that Norman can’t light his cigarette lighter successfully ten times in a row. If Norman fails, he gets his pinky finger cut off. Since Chester and Norman are friends, Chester doesn’t want to cut his friends pinky off. That’s where Ted comes in. Initially resistant to the idea, Chester offers Ted the right amount of money to get the job done.
Though this film was weird, it was truly fascinating to see what four unique directors did with four scenes in the same movie that all contain the same character. Though it was obvious by the camera work and the tone of each scene that they were directed differently, Ted and the hotel structure ultimately stayed the same throughout the film. I give the film a 7 out of 10 because its darkly amusing but more so because it’s a treat to watch four different masters come together to create a truly unique film.