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FILM / 10 Reasons Why CATS Is the Best Movie of 2019 / Jeanne Obbard

image copyright Universal Pictures

image copyright Universal Pictures

1. Yes, I realize that Cats the movie does not come out until December. But the tagline says “You will believe.” Now I ask you - when has a carefully crafted marketing message ever steered you wrong?

2. I have it on good authority that Cats is based on a book of poems by T.S. Eliot (citation needed). Poets are crazy (no citation needed) and therefore I expect poet levels of craziness from this adaptation as well. Just the names of the cats are nuts. Bombalurina? Jennyanydots? Mr. Mistoffelees? These are the output of a poet just completely going to town with their poetness and I am in favor of it.

3. I did not experience the Cats craze the first time around, even though I was the exact right age for it and looked on longingly from the sidelines. As a teenager, I frequently failed to ask for the things I wanted. Also I was in chorus, not theatre. Chorus was just as nerdy, and located in the same long sterile   corridor at my high school, but it was more understated and not as gleefully over-the-top as theatre. In fact, I was a bit embarrassed by the theatre kids even as I was envious of them. Clearly I should have just jumped in with both feet. This was an error on my part, which I will now rectify.

4. CATS is sometimes spelled with ALL-CAPS. This means that whenever I discuss it, I can say “CATS!” in an energetic, highly enunciated theatre kid manner complete with hand gestures. This will charm the people who already like me (citation needed) and make the rest of you absolutely hate me. I brook no in-betweens in life, and neither should you.

5. The song “MEMORY” is a prominent part of CATS. “MEM’RY” is an easy song to learn as it contains approximately 4 words (“memory,” “moon,” “alone,” and “streetlamp”). “Mem-ree” is a song like a 12-year-old’s idea of a deep poem. “MeMORy” is about being old and sad that you are not cute anymore; and as I am 47, this is right in my bailiwick. It’s important to have multiple fabulous not-at-all-old actress/singers keep generating renditions of this song, because we need permission to feel very very sorry for ourselves in a maudlin way once in a while. It’s a human right. “Memmry” should be mentioned in the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights. In fact it probably is. (Citation needed.)

6. It’s a movie. Where grown people. Pretend to be cats. When was the last time you pretended to be a cat? I’m betting it was more than a week ago. And that’s just not right. I mean, I looked in the mirror and pretended to scratch my ear with my paw just this morning while I was getting ready for work, but not everyone can be me. The rest of you also need an absurd fantasy life featuring unforgiving bodysuits and super-large furniture.

7. The standard-issue world contains things such as: overly scented hand soap, performance reviews, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Things that are just unaesthetic on every level. Cats the movie certainly appears to flirt with the uncanny valley (uncatty valley) but still I am comforted that it contains 100% things someone thought were aesthetic.

8. Dance numbers!

8a. I don’t really need to explain this further.

9. Francesca Hayward plays Victoria the dancing kitten and in breaking news, the word “winsome” has just been removed from the dictionary because Frankie Hayward now has exclusive rights to it. There is something ridiculously pure about people pretending to be cats, but Hayward is taking it to the next level here. The charm coming off her approximately 30 seconds of screen-time in the trailer are a gamma radiation that has permanently altered my molecules, and much like Hulk in Avengers: Endgame, I am embracing the new me. Please refer all your complaints to management, where they will not be heard.

10. I am assured by several top experts in the field (ie, “Twitter”) that Cats the musical had no plot. Likewise, life has no plot. But CATS is fabulous whereas life frequently fails to be fabulous. Therefore it’s an entertainment and an aspirational self-help tonic all at the same time. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to practice my winsome cat-paw movements in the mirror. SEE YOU ON OPENING NIGHT.


Jeanne Obbard is a poetry reader for Drunk Monkeys whose work has appeared in Gingerbread House, Glass, andFive2One. She enjoys botanical gardens, long walks on the beach, and being contrary. She has a blog but has forgotten the password so it’s probably being used to disseminate Russian kompromat now. Safer to find her on Twitter where her very imaginative handle is @JeanneObbard.