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Film Reviews

Cats (2019) 2/5

I saw Cats.

I really don’t know how else to start this, the inaugural review on 1080MM. Except that I saw Cats, ten days ago, and I still do not know what to make of it. I think I had some kind of profound metaphysical spiritual experience. I think I may have transcended a dimension. 

Let me start at the beginning. 

It’s been a rough and weird past couple of months, personally. I have a lot of Shit Going On. My day job, as some of you know, is a total thing. I’m in school. And I, in my infinite wisdom, make plans to see Star Wars: The Last One in theaters not once, but twice. I miss it both times. 

I am adrift in the all-too-familiar emotional dilemma for anyone who struggles with a severe illness: I would like to do a thing, and I cannot do it, and this exhausts me. I am emotionally paying penance for not seeing a Star War on a big screen opening day, even though this is irrational as hell. I am seeing lightsabers everywhere in my field of vision. I digress. 

Anyway Cats comes out. 

Suddenly everyone I know will not shut up about Cats. It is the absolute thing that we must all consume, quickly, because that is what the cool kids are doing. I refuse to argue with this form of peer pressure, as I have always considered it a survival tactic. Maybe my lizard brain would like to jump off this cliff because everyone else is doing it. You don’t know. You really don’t. 

My beloved partner’s Mother gives us a Fandango gift card for Hanukkah, which to our destitute selves means that we can see a movie any time of the day. Not just on a tuesday for $5. A whole world is suddenly available to us, and it is in surround sound and someone’s kicking the back of my seat.

I have a day where I am in a good place, for a brief moment, and we decide to pick up my hilarious co-worker and see Cats. 

I would like to clarify, at this point in the review: I was not in any way sober when we saw this film. Thank you. 

Cats is, without a doubt, one of the most simultaneously uncomfortable and enjoyable film-viewing experiences I’ve ever had. I could not tell you what even literally happened in 75% of that film. I felt like I was joyously along for the ride, except the ride was a mine-cart spiralling through the circles of Hell. 

Everything was bad, and I consider that a particularly remarkable achievement because a lot of films, even technically, just have a handful of bad things. Whether it’s bad direction, performances, writing, cinematography, or what have you. But all of it was terrible, and I do not blame the actors, crew, and cast one bit. 

Here’s the thing about Cats, as an entity- Cats is really fucking weird. Just as a musical by itself, even as a book of poems, it’s bizarre. It is also incredibly British, cat-centric (as you would assume), and horny. Oh boy, is it horny. 

So you consider all of this, and then you ask yourself: is a big-budget musical a la The Greatest Showman involving horny, British cats really what should be the holiday blockbuster of 2019? NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT. 

I cannot even dream up a universe where that makes sense, especially because, as we all know, Starlight Express would be the unequivocally right choice for a holiday film (thank you I will not be taking questions about Starlight Express at this time). 

I’ve just spent 600 words spitballing and barely even said anything about the film, so I hope you’re here to be entertained. I’ll make the rest of this as painlessly quick as possible, featuring an itemized list:

  • Taylor Swift’s British accent. Whoever signed off on that is no longer legally allowed to own a cat. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.
  • Funhouse camera angles can eat shit and die.
  • I have seen a lot of discourse about this online, but I am still not sure what a jellicle cat is. I know that it says, in the song, what a jellicle cat is and what they do. I understand. But I also have no earthly idea what any of that means.
  • I would bet $5 that Rebel Wilson ate a child in the film, except I think the child was… a cockroach? The perspective was incredibly messed up. She also zips her own skin off. 
  • One of the most enjoyable parts, to me, was watching everyone’s hands morph from cat hands to zombie-esque human hands with every shot change. It was mesmerizing. 
  • Dear God, the VFX.

I loved it, I did. Can I do my utterly infuriating thing here where I give an arguably terrible film a high rating? So kind of- I don’t have it in me to give it a higher rating than a 2. If I did a fun only rating system for this one, yes, it’s a 5. If you have the opportunity to see this in theaters, I would very much recommend it, as the larger screen gives you ample opportunity to criticize the hell out of it. Or just sit back, and enjoy the jellicle ride to the heavyside god I am so sorry that was awful I promise I won’t make a joke about that again

Rating: 2/5