Wednesday, February 27, 2013

This Is A Thing That Exists!: A Talking Cat!?!

No, I don't mean there's actually a talking cat that someone discovered out in the real world. That is not a thing that exists. A Talking Cat!?! is a movie I just found, and yes, the exclamation point/question mark/escalation point punctuation is officially part of the title. This film is, quite simply, amazing. I am in awe. Many have cited Tommy Wiseau's The Room as the pinnacle of terrible movies, a movie so bad that it transcends the very notion of terribleness into sublime unintentional comedy. Without any hyperbole, I would submit that this film, A Talking Cat (!?!) surpasses The Room in sheer craptitude in the first ten minutes, peeing right in its face as it does all of ours like so many Nicole Kidmans on so many jellyfish bitten Zach Effrons. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, This, is a Thing, that Exists!...!?!

A Talking Cat [!?!] is the story of Duffy, the magical stray and self described "Human Whisperer" who evidently travels from household to household using his amazing gift of talking to people to manipulate them into changing their lives for the better. But of course, he can only talk to any one specific human one time, because...well, I don't fucking know actually. Its a completely arbitrary rule that even the cat himself can't explain, only stating that he doesn't make the rules, and simply must live by them. Okay then, but who does? Is it the same group of people who bestowed speech and human level intelligence upon a stray cat? And if so, why limit their creation, unless perhaps they were worried that he might use this power for evil? Is this a Guardians of the Universe Power Ring sort of deal?

Of course, I don't want to get ahead of myself trying to unravel the logic of all of this, because I wouldn't want to distract myself from the larger point, which is that whatever its premise or logical leaps, I simply can't conceive of how a movie this shitty could have been made. First let's talk about the talking cat. Its voiced by Eric Roberts of Really Terrible Performances In Movies fame, and when I say voiced, I mean that in only the most technical sense. I'm fairly certain Roberts supplied all of his dialogue over a cell phone, and while completely drunk. He slurs almost every line and doesn't appear to know where he is or what he's saying, as if the producers of this movie caught him sleeping off a bender, whispered cat lines into his ear, and then recorded whatever he happened to mumble.

And the animation is just ridiculous. Most of the time the cat talks in internal monologue, but whenever he talks to a human out loud, his mouth moves like a South Park character, or something out of Robot Chicken. Even accounting for the smaller budget, come on, you couldn't have used Peanut Butter or something? Then later, when Duffy is near death and the family gathers together to save him, the magic involved very clearly looks like his soul escaping from his body and flying away, which he suggests is one of his nine lives. He is healed upon the discovery that his collar is actually the source of his magic, but when I say this is discovered, what I mean to say is that after the cat is hit by a car off screen and develops a bad case of Bandages-With-No-Descernable-Injury-itis, one of the characters just randomly suggests that the collar has curative properties, and so naturally it just fucking does for some reason.

I lost count of all the non-sequiter weirdness. The strange preoccupation with technological jargon, algorithms and so forth, the seemingly random advice the talking cat gives to his human charges, or the even more random moments where he slips back into cat mode and forgets what he's doing to make lame cat jokes. And the music, my God the music. It's like a parody of a bad fifties sitcom soundtrack, except I can't possibly give this movie any sort of credit for satire. There is no way that this isn't completely earnest. I'm assuming most of the music is used because it is public domain, as the ending credits theme all of sudden breaks into "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" complete with lyrics that they probably just forgot to take out. I honestly can't tell if the movie is actually trying for a faux-screwball comedy style akin to old movies where something like reaction shots of humans befuddled by a talking cat were thought inherently funny, or if this is just the result of never settling upon any style on purpose.

This movie is directed by David Decoteu, who I have mentioned before on this blog as the director of my favorite Puppet Master movie, and my least favorite Hansel and Gretel mockbuster (which come to think of it is probably the set where he got Eric Roberts to record the dialogue for this film). If you look at his IMDB page, you'll find that he directed 13 films in 2012, one more than there were freaking months in the year, with a similar production schedule for the preceding years. Evidently since the hey day of Full Moon Pictures, he has made a name for himself as the new king of bottom of the bottom of the barrel schlock, so schlocky that its even been under my radar until recently. It might be hard to conceive of how one man could make so many movies so quickly, but after watching A Talking Cat ??!!?!, its clear that the Ed Wood spirit of "shoot once and move the hell on" is alive and well.

In an odd way I have a sort of morbid respect for what Decoteu has become, as well as for this latest crapnum opus. In an age where the kind of gritty, low budget guerilla filmmaking of the early 90's that I grew up with is all but dead at least in terms of the mainstream recognition it once had, to think that somebody like Decoteu is still plugging along and just doing this for the hell of it, with no one able to stop him even when he really probably should, a part of me feels good about the state of cinema, even if actually watching his movies makes me think I've been dosed with something. If only because if he can do it, then certainly I can, and unlike him, I'm not insane enough to want to make A Talking Cat ?!#/$ starring Eric Roberts.

Coincidentally, while you're on IMDB, check out how many Eric Roberts movies are in pre and post production. This man is the hardest working actor in show business, and based on A Talking Cat &&&, he'll do literally anything. I'm seriously considering seeing if I can hire him to be on my podcast. He can call in drunk if he wants, I don't care. He can't be that expensive, can he?

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