With the pandemic testing our collective psyches, Beat writers Gregory Paul Silber and Chloe Maveal figured there was no better time to plunge into the depths of madness by watching CATS (2019).

Greg Silber: Chloe, thanks for joining me on this journey into what I assume will be madness. We first started talking about this on The Beat’s slack as a joke, but as so often happens when I joke about something long enough, it became something I actually wanted to do.

Chloe Maveal: Ya know. It did start out as a joke. But honestly as much as I loathe the idea of watching this batsh*t movie again, I’m a big fan of the idea of watching your head explode over it. Are you a fan of the original Andrew Lloyd Weber musical at all?

Greg Silber: I never saw it. I grew up in north Jersey, and have early memories of it being advertised in commercials. Those cat costumes creeped me out. By the mid 90s, I think it was already being marketed as one of the longest running broadway shows ever. So there’s some cultural osmosis that people who didn’t grow up near NYC may not have gotten, but that’s it.

Chloe Maveal: Well let me tell you. As a Queer of a Certain Age™, this musical was a touchstone for a lot of people when it came to broadway. Whether that was because we hadn’t realized yet that Webber couldn’t write lyrics if they were handed to him, we were all closet fetishists from the jump, or because the impressive dancing in the stage show was enough to sit through cats introducing themselves as they gamble to see who gets to die as the major plot point, it was a big deal. And that’s why the movie is just…such….a lot. I mean. Greg, it’s a lot. I hope you’re ready for a horny-on-main trash fire.

Greg Silber: That’s fascinating, because as a 90s baby, you may be the first person I’ve ever talked to who genuinely liked Cats as a Broadway show. I don’t know if it’s that Cats was considered passé by the time I came of age or what, but the usual response I heard was “my grandma took me to see it and I didn’t know what the fuck was going on.” And I’m a Jersey boy, so I grew up around a lot of Broadway geeks! Now that the whole world is aware of Cats (2019), I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for horny trash fires, which is to say, not ready at all.

Chloe Maveal: I wouldn’t say I liked it. But it WAS the piece of Broadway that everyone knew! And people wouldn’t stop singing “Memory” for approximately 7,000 years. And is directly responsible for my fear of anything resembling catgirlsBUT ANYWAY GREG. Do you wanna start this mess? I’m genuinely excited to see your thoughts.

Greg Silber: Hell yeah, let’s get weird! Wanna count us off?

Chloe Maveal  Counting down! 5

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Greg Silber: Every time I watch a horror movie I have a “what have I done” moment at the beginning. I’m experiencing that now.

Chloe Maveal: Have you ever wanted to have that feeling but it was gonna be about anthropomorphic cats? Because I think this Hammond organ music should be the clue to that.

Greg Silber: OH NO THE WAY THEY MOVE IS SO WEIRD. I saw the trailers like everyone else but this is too much. Do they HAVE to lick their lips?!

Chloe Maveal: We’re at about the 2 minute marker and the “main character” just got thrown out of a car in a bag and everyone of these cat people are hissing. Help. THE EAR TWITCHES, GREG.

Greg Silber: I might have a small crush on Taylor Swift so seeing her this scared and also being a cat upsets me.

Chloe Maveal: That’s not her yet! She doesn’t come in til later! But it’s gonna make you feel weird then, too, so it’s fine… Ah yes. We’ve finally gotten to the chorus where the question is first posed: “What in the actual hell is a Jellicle Cat”

Greg Silber: I hear the movie never explains it, but like, is there any real world definition of “jellicle”?

Chloe Maveal: Nope. Not a thing. From context later on, Jellicle Cats are cats that want to be killed RIGHT NOW though. So like… Take from that what you will?

Greg Silber: Okay cool, singing cat people with death wishes.

Chloe Maveal: Oh god. They’re on the monument and all reaching graceful for the stars with THEIR HUMAN HANDS.

Greg Silber: And Idris Elba is… deeply concerned about this?

Greg Silber: Did I just hear “rabbinical cats?!”

Chloe Maveal: I… wouldn’t be surprised. We can only hope so though.

Chloe Maveal: Greg. Greg. How much do you love Macavity? Is Idris doing it for you?

Greg Silber: Wait have we seen Macavity? Idris warned us about him and he sounds awful. 

Chloe Maveal: You fell prey to the classic Idris Elba blunder. He WAS Macavity! MAGIC.

Greg Silber: OH NO!

Chloe Maveal: Okay but real talk. The 11 minute mark is a dance sequence between the main cat and another, and it’s clear that the dancer has some incredible skills. It’s a real bummer that it’s a) ruined by that scary CGI fur and b) gets interrupted by Mister Misstopholese.

Greg Silber: Yeah, everything else aside, this is legitimately well choreographed. Those poor dancers deserve to be appreciated!

Chloe Maveal: It’s a running theme you’ll see throughout the movie. And really, it feels the same as the stage show in that regard. These are highly trained dancers and they really do seem to be made a fool.

Greg Silber: Wait WAIT what is a Gumbie Cat? Is that a fake thing too?

Chloe Maveal: Apparently, Greg, it’s Rebel Wilson.

Greg Silber: It’s ok to make up words in fiction but you can’t act like the audience knows WTF you’re talking about!

Chloe Maveal: The rhyming in this “Gumbie Cat” song is so slanted that it may very well collapse the entire set. GREG SHE’S WEARING A CATSUIT UNDER HER SKIN SHE’S WEARING A CATSUIT UNDER HER SKIN SHE’S WEARI–

Greg Silber: NO I SAW THIS PART WITH THE ROACHES ON TWITTER IT’S SO MUCH WORSE IN CONTEXT. This also raises a question: are there humans in the Cats (2019) universe? Who’s roach infested home is this?

Chloe Maveal: But it’s okay now. It’s okay. We’ve reached the point where Jason Derulo plays Rum Tum Tugger and we all have no choice but to accept it.

Greg Silber: Do I have to? I don’t like it when cats gyrate suggestively.

Chloe Maveal: Yeah there’s something particularly unsavory about a bump and grind involving a tail. I’m not here to kinkshame. But I am here to say that there is a cat wearing a fur coat for no reason.

Greg Silber: Yeah, I don’t want to kinkshame either, but this extremely expensive Hollywood movie AGGRESSIVELY caters to a kink that I simply do not share.

Chloe Maveal: Well strap on in because the milk has begun flowing and it is time for the horniest dance in the entire film.

Greg Silber: I am slightly disappointed that Jason Derulo didn’t kick off his number by singing “Rum Tum Tugger” the way he usually sings his own name.

Chloe Maveal: Hahahahah

Chloe Maveal: And then he sees Jennifer Hudson playing Grizabella and runs off into the night. Same, I guess? I have something to note here to you and the readers: please please pay attention to just how much CGI snot they gave Hudson in these scenes. It’s…a lot. I know Grizabella is meant to be a sickly old stray cat but DAMN.

Greg Silber: I’ve never owned a cat—is snot a concern for them? I assume human tears are not.

Chloe Maveal: I have four cats and I’d be pretty upset if they start crying human tears TBH.

Greg Silber: What if they “went with Macavity?”

Chloe Maveal: Oh hey. It’s James Corden! Here to provide the fatphobic jokes for the entire film. Ugh.

Greg Silber: I was gonna say, this movie is weirdly preoccupied with weight! it’s not just fat jokes. He wants to be “reborn” as a “thin cat” just so he can get fat again!

Chloe Maveal: Yeah. That doesn’t actually stop. This entire song is one long fat joke and the rest of the characters play into that as a joke. It’s exhausting and just kinda feels icky. Like right here at 29m30s, he’s trying to be launched by a seesaw but there’s no one heavy enough to do it. But that’s okay because he justifies it by saying “That’s not funny, you know I’m sensitive about my weight.” No. No thanks. There’s zero need.

Greg Silber: He also hurts his balls… real comedy gold here, folks. I don’t mean to be crude but this scene is… gross? Literally gross.

Chloe Maveal: Yeah, it’s not pleasant by any means. I know that Bustapher Jones is meant to be the comedy beat but I kind of just see it as James Cordon being seriously gross in some CGI and/or prop trash.

Greg Silber: He literally eats garbage.

Chloe Maveal: But we’ve moved on! Victoria, our main character, has been taken aside by MungoJerrie and Rumpleteazer who are…brother and sister cats that steal things?

Greg Silber: I guess it’s supposed to be a take on “car burglars” but I’ve never heard of cats having a penchant for stealing? Other than treats and whatnot. This scene also drives home how off the proportions are in this movie. Cats are much bigger than this IRL!

Chloe Maveal: I was gonna say! I’ve never seen a cat that is so small that they could sit in a chair but then also have utensils be that big. I feel like this argument is one that is so moot and strange though.

Greg Silber: The twins left Victoria to die, and also we have confirmation that there are dogs in the Cats (2019) universe. I’m sorry, can we take a quick breather? Now that there’s a quiet moment I’m realizing we’re nearly 40 minutes in and this whole movie has been nothing but cat introductions. So much has happened but also nothing has happened?

Chloe Maveal: Welcome to the next (checks timestamp) hour and ten minutes left of the movie.

Greg Silber:I heard people say that time loses meaning while watching Cats (2019) and even with the ability to check our progress, that still feels true.

Chloe Maveal: It’s unarming isn’t it? Imagine having seen this in a theater! Oh but wait. Old Deuteronomy is coming soon and really there’s nothing that can fix a movie like Dame Judi Dench, right? She’s an amazing actress. She’s been knighted. She’s graceful and amazing and fantastic. So surely this will save things right?! NO.

Greg Silber: Chloe, did you see the #Hoopercut before they fixed her human hands? (edited) 

Chloe Maveal: Oh yes I did. It was everything.

Greg Silber: I like how the other cats treat Dame Judi Dench as an actual goddess.

Chloe Maveal: I just want to know what it felt like for her having a bunch of people rubbing against her for seemingly no reason. But we ARE back to the concept of Jellicle Cats. So at least there’s some consistency for you.

Greg Silber: Consistent befuddlement, yes.

Chloe Maveal: IAN MCKELLEN’S NOISES OH NO

Greg Silber: Is this the first time in the movie a cat has said “meow?!”

Chloe Maveal: I forgot about those. I don’t think he’s ever seen a cat in his life.

Greg Silber: There’s a mark on the ground that looks like a variation of a pentagram. Are these cats about to perform a satanic cat ritual?

Chloe Maveal: Considering we’ve entered a scene where there’s a lot of synchronized twitching….maybe.

Greg Silber: I just realized I’ve been shaking. I’m so uncomfortable.

Chloe Maveal: Again, the choreography really is astounding. I just want no one to talk. That would make this so much better.

Chloe Maveal: Okay, so after a brief pause to collect ourselves, how are you feeling about this film so far? Like, is it living up to a horrible hype you’ve seen from critics and on social media?

Greg Silber: I read a LOT about this movie when it came out, and what everything I heard failed to capture is how RELENTLESS the weirdness is. There are so many words in each song, and so much is happening on screen, that there’s no time to process the surrealness. It’s overwhelming in a way that I couldn’t have prepared for.

Chloe Maveal: Honestly, that tracks. I think you can agree that even trying to communicate what’s happening to one another is difficult because by the time you realize one thing, there’s another entirely different weird thing happening. It really is a lot. I didn’t even get to call out the two dancing cats that are very clearly wearing sneakers!

Greg Silber: I didn’t notice that at all! During our break I went into my kitchen for a glass of water—and first of all, I’m not joking when I say I’m physically tired. If I were reading this I’d assume I was exaggerating too, but this is such an exhausting movie I felt dehydrated. But my roommate asked me how it was going, and all I could think to say is “it’s too much”.

Chloe Maveal: Does it make you feel better than you’ll get to see Taylor Swift soon?

Greg Silber: Not really? Maybe I should have been more clear earlier: I have a crush on Taylor Swift when she is in her human form.

Chloe Maveal: She still manages to be the only cat who has breasts in the entire movie. That’s as close as we can offer you at this time.

Greg Silber: That makes it so much worse!

Chloe Maveal: You chose to do this. We have to press on!

Greg Silber: I’m reaping what I sowed but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Want to count us back in?

Chloe Maveal: 5

4

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Greg Silber: Lmao the funky bass line came out of nowhere!

Chloe Maveal: Welcome back Greg. Jason Derulo is here for you.

Greg Silber: Why does he have a vaguely British accent though?

Chloe Maveal: I… had never thought about that before. I have no clue. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY DID YOU SEE THE SNEAKER CATS FINALLY?!??!!!

Greg Silber: Now I can’t miss them! Was that intentional? Is that their gimmick?

Chloe Maveal: Yup. They’re the hip breakdancing cats. Breakdancers wear shoes. Jeez. Get with it. We’re at roughly 50 minutes and there is, in fact, a ritual of some sort happening. I feel like you made this happen.

Greg Silber: Is the music mostly intact from the Broadway show? I’m fascinated by how 80s this is. Even the nods to “cool” music don’t sound contemporary.

Chloe Maveal: It’s entirely true to the Broadway show. They haven’t changed hardly anything and it’s astounding. Case in point: we have finally reached Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella the Glamour Cat singing “Memory.” This is literally the most famous song from the show and it’s arguably one of the most dull. Cue the CGI snot.

Greg Silber: Okay, can I use this opportunity to rant about Webber?

Chloe Maveal: Please do. I welcome it with open arms.

Greg Silber: This is the only song from Cats I knew, and one famous use of it was in School of Rock, a classic. In that movie, it’s used as an example of “uncool” music, in opposition to… rock and roll. And yet when they adapted School of Rock for Broadway, Andrew Lloyd Webber did the music! He’s obviously a talent, but between that, Jesus Christ Superstar, and even parts of Cats (2019), it’s strange to me, as a rock fan, that he’s considered the “rock” composer of Broadway.

Chloe Maveal: It’s odd isn’t it? It’s very much a product of the times it was popular though. And in that respect, the oddities and bizarre nature of his work is… I hesitate to say… punk as shit. It’s not considered conventional and it’s straight up weird. So that does actually fit with the idea of rock and roll despite it being VERY 80s and VERY bland.

Greg Silber: There are moments of Cats (2019) that I definitely think you could call punk, mostly the aggressive commitment to absurdity. The music, however, sounds like what a theater kid THINKS rock sounds like, and that’s a far cry from the excitement and swagger of actual rock. Anyway… “asparaGUS.”

Chloe Maveal: Ian McKellen is better than this. I am so very very sad, haha.

Greg Silber: He seems to be having fun though, unlike Dame Judi Dench, and you know what? He’s earned it.

Chloe Maveal: When you go to sleep tonight I want you to remember that there are two people who have been knighted in this movie.

Greg Silber: HAS THE QUEEN SEEN CATS (2019)?!

Chloe Maveal: Let’s hope so. Can you imagine?

Chloe Maveal: Okay I’m sorry but Gus the Theater Cat looks like Voldemort that has been drawn by a furry artist. S.O.S. Maybe that’s why they’re all yowling.

Greg Silber: Earnest question; what do furries think of this movie?

Chloe Maveal: I would answer if I could cope with the Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat song first.

Greg Silber: OH MY GOD THAT ENTRANCE. I do appreciate how excited each cat is about whoever’s introducing themselves. They’re so supportive of their cat brethren!

Chloe Maveal: In answer to your question, while furries are all different people and have their own opinions of course, I asked a few friends who are in the furry community and the answer was a mix of “Oh no thank you” and “It’s like if you’re really into the idea of flying but you have a fear of heights.” So even here the line is pretty strictly drawn. And really, imagine being okay with a cat who has a legit mustache and can pirouette? That person doesn’t exist, Greg.

Greg Silber: Even in terms of the fur itself, these cats are fuzzy at best. Does that make sense? They’re not particularly furry for cats.

Chloe Maveal: Oh wait never mind it’s okay, he spun away and DISAPPEARED?! Wait wait. It’s Taylor Swift time. With her disconcerting cat boobs that I really want to believe were a must-have in her contract.

Greg Silber: I don’t like her bedazzled catnip can.

Chloe Maveal: You don’t have to like it. It’s still there.

Greg Silber: Perhaps it’s just that I hate what I can’t understand.

Chloe Maveal: …please notice her human hands.

Greg Silber: Oh I have. Also the way her ears move independently? What’s her relationship to Macavity because she’s using her precious introduction song to talk up a different cat.

Chloe Maveal: Manager? Partner? His catnip dealer? All feasible.

Greg Silber: HE IS NAKED CHLOE.

Chloe Maveal: OH. He’s…so smooth. He looks like he’d feel like a horse looks?

Greg Silber: Many other cats have been naked this whole movie but up until now, Macavity had a big coat. Seeing him without it is… lewd.

Chloe Maveal: Hey, at least they edited out his terrifying bulge.

Greg Silber: Is that true? I couldn’t tell if that was a joke or not when it was reported that he and Jason Derulo talked about that.

Chloe Maveal: No, it was some real stuff. But bulge or not, we’ve reached a point where we know Macavity is very naked and transporting people to boats. Now I understand why people want Idris Elba to be James Bond!

Greg Silber: You asked me about Taylor Swift, so I have to ask… is Idris Elba still handsome in cat form? There are some extremely attractive actors in this movie, but Elba’s cat form is somehow scariest.

Chloe Maveal: To me? Nah. And I’m a big Idris fan when he’s being his human self. But this is mortifying. I also feel weirdly embarrassed for him? For reasons I can’t put my finger on?

Greg Silber: Maybe it’s that he’s more committed to his performance than most of the other big names in this movie?

Chloe Maveal: Okay okay but…I do have something to admit because we’re right here. I really like the Magical Mister Mistoffelees song. I think it’s catchy. And I will inevitably end up singing the chorus for the next two weeks.

Greg Silber: There are some good melodies there!

Chloe Maveal: He’s so smol and meek and he just wants to help! And there’s never been a cat so clever! The song said so!

Greg Silber: Is he literally capable of magic though? I assumed it was just sleight of hand stuff before, but they seem to be counting on him to perform a real spell.

Chloe Maveal: I dunno, man. Do YOU think he has the power to make Judi Dench appear whenever he wants? PSYCHE. HE TOTES DOES.

Greg Silber: WHOA.

Greg Silber: Okay, the movie’s nearly over, and I’m still not clear on what Victoria’s deal is. I know she’s a newcomer, but she never got a full introduction song!

Chloe Maveal:Nope. She doesn’t deserve one. She’s not a jellicle cat yet! SHE DOESN’T WANT TO DIE: Are we just skipping the idea of this boat scene altogether? Because I’m fine with that.

Greg Silber: Umm I was hoping we could talk about this fight scene actually. If we could call it that. They really defeated Macavity effortlessly huh?

Chloe Maveal: Yup. That was “the bad guy”. And that’s so woefully unclear that my 7 year old who is sitting next to me said “Ma, is there a BAD guy in this movie or…?” DURING THE FIGHT SCENE.

Greg Silber: Why were they so afraid of him? All it took to defeat him were some vaguely threatening dance moves.

Chloe Maveal:Yup. And pushing his cohorts into the water.

Greg Silber: I’m imaging Tom Hooper directing, like, a John Wick, with these low stakes, low effort fights.

Chloe Maveal: I just snorted out loud

Greg Silber: Like Jennifer Hudson preparing her snot for this scene! Speaking of which, I still have no idea why she’s been so sad the whole time.

Chloe Maveal: It’s weird. I like Jennifer Hudson a lot. She has a killer voice, obviously. But I actually don’t like her rendition of this song? It feels….sad in the wrong way? Does that parse?

Greg Silber: I don’t know enough about how it usually sounds to speak on that, but I almost forgot until she hit those high notes just now that she is a fantastic singer in non-cat contexts

Chloe Maveal: She’ll always be in Dreamgirls for me. I can hold on to that at least. But! It looks like she gets to be the lucky cat to die (?!) so I guess that’s okay, right?

Greg Silber: Besides arguably being the best singer of the bunch, what made her deserve it? I don’t understand this contest at all. Or is it just that she’s saddest?

Chloe Maveal: She’s the saddest! But she’s the saddest after everyone stopped bullying her about being sad?

Greg Silber: #relatable.

Chloe Maveal: BIG OL’ GLAMOROUS HOT AIR BALLOON OF DEAAAATHHH! And think about that: this all is meant to have happened in one night.

Greg Silber: I just realized: the Jellicle Cats are in purgatory, aren’t they?

Chloe Maveal: Oh wow. I hadn’t thought of that. Oh no.

Greg Silber: Imagine a youth pastor talking about this movie.

Chloe Maveal: This is the most important moment of the movie. Please pay attention.

Greg Silber: Sorry!

Chloe Maveal: You don’t understand. You’re going to lose it, I promise. The Judi Dench Monologue. She is talking TO YOU.

Greg Silber: LMAO

Chloe Maveal: She will jog your memory: a cat is not a dog. Bombastic fanfare.

Greg Silber: “A cat is not a dog”. Moral of the story.

Chloe Maveal: Please note the cat on the right. He is SO into everything she is saying. For reference, my son just said “WHAT IS THIS MOVIE?”

Greg Silber: The poor boy! Has he been watching this whole time? Is he okay?

Chloe Maveal: They had to keep the human hands in the movie to tie up the ending. Rimshot.

Greg Silber: “I believe you truly are a Jellicle Cat” okay so she sentenced Victoria to death?

Chloe Maveal: There it is. The death balloon. Bye bye Jennifer Hudson. THE END.

Greg Silber: Or is this more like when a doctor finally diagnosed me with depression at 14 when I suspected for years.

Chloe Maveal: It’s whatever you want it to be. At this point, I think it’s whatever we need to sleep at night.

Greg Silber: Oh G-d I forgot about the TS Elliott connection. Any TS Elliott thoughts?

Chloe Maveal: I mean, I don’t WANT to have TS Elliott thoughts? But I guess I learned about the heaviside layer of the atmosphere and how that’s a thing?

Greg Silber: I can’t get over how this movie treats “a cat is not a dog” as the big emotional payoff.

Chloe Maveal: The breakdown of this movie to me is: peer pressure is fine as long as you have friends, we’re all gonna die someday so may as well crack on, bullying is fine cause then good things happen, and to remember that cats aren’t dogs.

Greg Silber: “You’re not valid until you wish you’re dead.” What are your thoughts on this “beautiful ghosts” song by the way? I know it’s the only new song in the movie.

Chloe Maveal: It seemed to fit fine! I actually thought it was lovely. And in all fairness, the rhyming was a lot smoother than the other songs. It helps that the actress has a really fine coloratura voice that makes it feel hopeful, and really this musical needs that. Half the plot is everyone being a dick to a sick old cat.

Greg Silber: I can’t overstate how many songs I could barely understand. Both sonically and in terms of meaning.

Chloe Maveal: He definitely didn’t make it easy. But there’s an almost distinct lack of tension, plot, and character development… so I remain unsurprised that the songs didn’t make sense either.

Greg Silber: It’s not a story! There’s no distinct beginning, middle, or end, nor are the stakes or motivations clear.

Chloe Maveal: It’s a series of introductions punctuated by a hot air balloon at the end.

Greg Silber: I think that’s part of the reason why it’s so exhausting, too. The entire time, it feels like the movie is just getting started. You keep getting presented with new characters and information but it doesn’t build to anything significant. Anyway… the credits have rolled. I did it. I saw CATS (2019). I think we should take stock of what we’ve experienced. At least, that’s what I’d like to do, because this was a new experience for which I was wholly unprepared.

Chloe Maveal: I will remind you that this was your idea!

Greg Silber: I know! Honestly though, this was fun. And not just because I had another critic pal who’s apparently just as unhinged as me to guide me. I mean, it was mostly that, but at a certain point you accept that the movie isn’t getting any less odd, and just have to let it whisk you away to madness. 

Chloe Maveal: That’s basically the only way to get through it. With no clear story or, really, a concrete ending, it’s a movie that you kind of have to surrender to the idea of watching it. I’ve seen a lot of strange movies and pride myself on enjoying films like The Holy Mountain and Head and basically everything John Waters has ever made, and this somehow seems more disarming than any of them. It’s tiring, confusing, kinda gross, and something that is worth watching at LEAST once. That being said, I’ve been tricked into watching it twice so I don’t know what happened but I don’t recommend it.

Greg Silber:I can assure you I will never do that specific thing to you again. Or to myself. I meant to mention this at the beginning, but I was willing to see this in theaters under one condition: I won’t see it alone. Understandably, none of my friends were masochistic enough to join me.

Chloe Maveal: I’m glad to have been the enthusiastic rube that got to be a part of this though!

Greg Silber: Another thing I think we should discuss: we watched this during a global pandemic in which we LEGALLY could not do much outside our homes. It’s a weird time already, how did that affect your second viewing?

Chloe Maveal: I have debilitating anxiety that makes it very difficult for me to be comfortable enough to get up and leave in the middle of a movie. So in the “I can’t leave and I have to watch this” sense, about the same!

Greg Silber: I think for me, it’s hard lately not to feel somewhat numb to all the monotony or staying home all day, and good or bad (mostly bad), CATS (2019) made me feel… something.

Chloe Maveal: Well then that is the best takeaway I can imagine!

Greg Silber: Hooray for low expectations!

Chloe Maveal: One last thing before we call it a [very exhausting] day: Who was your favorite cat?!

Greg Silber: JEEZ that is a tough question because they were all such paper thin characters… but maybe Rum Tum Tugger? Mostly because Jason Derulo seemed to be working under the impression that he was in a much slicker, sexier movie than it turned out to be, and that’s fascinating and kind of hilarious to watch. I am distinguishing “sexy” from “horny” for reasons I don’t know if I want to get into.

Chloe Maveal: I don’t know why this answer makes me so happy but it really does hahaha.

Greg Silber: How about you? I’m sure you’ve thought a LOT about this!

Chloe Maveal: I really love Mister Mistofolees (whose name I will never be able to spell correctly). He’s a gentle character who is trying his best and I have a soft spot for those. Plus he does magic and has a very catchy song! And can summon Judi Dench! What’s not to like?

Greg Silber: I’m sure we all wish we could summon Judi Dench. Do you have a least favorite?

Chloe Maveal: Bustapher Jones. Hands down. Just the worse.

Greg Silber: Same answer. What an aggressively unfunny attempt at comic relief.

Chloe Maveal: So, bottom line: will you be recommending CATS (2019)? Are you glad we did this experiment?

Greg Silber: Definitely glad we did it. Whether I’ll be recommending it is a much more complicated question! I’d say if you’re watching with someone who shares a certain kind of humor when it comes to flamboyant badness, it’s worth the experience. But you really have to be committed to that irony. Even if you like musicals—which I know some people are finicky about—you can’t expect this to be The Sound of Music, or even… I don’t know, what’s another aggressively silly musical? CATS (2019) is worse than that. Anyway, thanks for joining me. And to everyone who has followed us this far: you, the reader, are the jellicle choice.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Congrats, Greg, you made me both want to watch this and tremendously fear my now inevitable watching of it. Also Chloe, even sort of comparing it The Holy Mountain makes me want to see it, even if all I remember about that movie is that I liked it, it was fucked up, that it started with the main character getting semi-crucified by a little person*, and that I met Elijah Wood right before I watched it.

    *I could be entirely wrong about that part but I don’t think I am.

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