A Talking Cat!?!: Autopsy of a Film

So I get home from a long day’s work, flop into my chair and open my laptop, blithely unaware of what awaits me. My good friend and co-worker has sent me a link, by the looks of things a gag trailer for an impossibly bad movie about a talking cat. And then the bombshell drops: it’s not a gag. This movie exists, and it’s on Netflix, ready to watch right now by any soul brave or foolish enough to try.

Bad movies never have trouble finding an audience, in some cases a frighteningly devoted one. Even before the internet made gems like Birdemic or The Room the stuff of legend, Rocky Horror and Plan 9 were filling up midnight screenings. The discovery of something like A Talking Cat!?! is like unearthing a pharaoh’s tomb, or the next great pop star. Or poop star, in this case. And just as fun as the movie itself is the takedown. The thrill of presenting one’s trophy to the internet like a cat leaving a dead mouse in its’ master’s shoe, no doubt in the form of an article or video ruthlessly mocking it. Think of the crude humor, I thought, the immature barbs and witty zingers. Think of the scorn and malice with which I shall rend this film asunder, like a lion dismembering a prisoner for a cheering Roman arena.

Then I watched the movie and my dreams of glory and carnage evaporated like a quiet fart in a brisk breeze, because I realized there’s nothing I can do to this film that deserves any kind of anger or scorn. This isn’t offensive to the senses and tastes, like a Transformers 2 or a Catwoman. This film isn’t my enemy. It’s just a dirt cheap, hastily put-together z-lister that was probably made as part of a money laundering scheme.

So those expecting a righteous takedown are gonna be disappointed. This isn’t a “Bad Movie Beatdown” or a “Cinemassacre”. There’s no malice here.  This isn’t an execution. This is an autopsy, and I’m the coroner.

A-Talking-Cat-DVD-ArtworkMedical Background

Subject is a 83 minute, 2013 film, director one David DeCoteau, mostly known for working in low-budget horror and gay psuedo-porn. The film was made under a pseudonym, suggesting he is in fact capable of shame.

IMDB estimates the budget at around a million bucks, which my external and internal examinations will doubtlessly prove to be a bald-faced lie, or else some shenanigans are happening here….medically speaking.

External Examination

Initial observations point to an extremely underdeveloped number of fucks given in subject’s system. The title alone suggests sustained lack of effort from conception. This may have been an effort to create ironic charm (see the Snakes on a Plane casefile) but lack of signs of effort in other areas indicates laziness rather than irony as the cause of title.

Visual examination backs this up. The film begins with approximately five minutes of nature photography set to narration. Hypothesis: film makers gave some schlub a camera, pointed him to the woods and said “just go film some woodsy stuff”. Actual interiors are little better. Main location looks like a model home on the inside, and that beige concrete cylinder the Power Rangers used to hang out in on the outside. Locations overall are bland and dull, and repeated enough to qualify as being atrophied.

Props, costumes and overall production values indicate hypoplasia or extremely malnourished budget. Forward this information to officer in charge of investigation, signs of foul play or bogus report indicated in regards to budget estimations.

The one notable exception to the chronic blandness in subject’s visual system is a piece of driftwood wearing high heels randomly placed in one protagonist’s house, which suggests some kind of tumorous growth.

Internal ExaminationMeatloaf

Plot system appears to be anemic, which could be cause of death. Main characters include a single father who looks like Meatloaf with a bad dye job and a single mother whose children’s personalities amount to “too ambitious” and “not ambitious enough”, all of whom are helped in some way by Duffy, the titular talking cat. Mostly this advice is limited to “look at your computer” or “take a walk”, which further indicates chronically weak script, possibly due to a congenital weakness.

The film also appears to have been artificially lengthened with extended filler shots of random nature, including but not limited to stationary shots of beaches, waterfalls and forests, as well as shots of Duffy the cat silently observing things. This suggests secondary cause of death as infection due to ill-advised surgical enhancements. Of course, without the added sequences subject’s run-time would probably barely be an hour. Back-alley surgical enhancements claim another victim, in any case. (Note: forward casefile to urban outreach programs to discourage back-alley enhancements in underdeveloped film districts)

Similarly, the third act mostly revolves around an urgent need to replace a tray of dropped cheese puffs, which the film focuses on with an obsessiveness which indicates some kind of puffed-lactose addiction. (Note: forward this information to Food and Drug Administration for further investigation)

One anomaly however could prove medically interesting. Duffy appears to be voiced by an extremely drunk Eric Roberts recording all his lines over the phone. Most of his dialogue, which consists of rambling, partially nonsensical musings on human beings is clearly slurred, indicating high blood alcohol level, which is unsurprising for a cast member in a movie of this….calibur. These sequences, if isolated, could have a comedic effect, particularly in patients already exposed to Eric Roberts, or those on heavy medication. The fact that the effect of Duffy’s lips moving was evidently achieved with a few minutes of amateur image manipulation can only enhance this effect.

Final Coroner’s Report

This movie blows. Death caused by extremely underdeveloped script and production values, with secondary COD as infection due to artificial lengthening measures.
Some comedic merit may be found in Eric Roberts’ performance, but otherwise, ship remains to cremation facility and DVD bargain bins.

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