Why is Cats?

Why is Cats?

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I listen to it all and I said Andrew is this something I don't get is this about Queen Victoria she's the main cat Disraeli and Gladstone or other cats and and then there are you know poor cats and am I missing this and and he took a terrible painful long pause and said how it's about cats and we never discussed it again in 2012 New York Times food critic Pete
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Wells published a review of Food Network personality and human can of Bud Light Lime right on Guy Fieri's massive Time Square restaurant Guy Fieri's American Kitchen & Bar fittingly located right across the street from the majestic theatre which at the time had hosted Phantom of the Opera on Broadway for nearly 25 years and while some eight years later we've come full-circle to where we've all decided that Guy Fieri is both prime meme fodder and also good now people [ __ ] on that dude all the time and as far as I can tell all he
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ever did was follow his dreams 2012 was a different time and Welles as a review pulled no punches Guy Fieri have you eaten at your new restaurant in Times Square did panic grip your soul as you stared into the whirling hypno wheel of the menu where adjectives and nouns spin a crazy vortex when you saw the burger described as guys Pat LaFrieda custom blend all natural Creek stone farm Black Angus beef patty al top lettuce tomato onion and pickle SMC super melty cheese and a slathering of donkey sauce on garlic buttered brioche did you mind touch the
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void for a minute hey did you try that blue drink the one that glows like nuclear waste the watermelon margarita any idea why it tastes like some combination of radiator fluid and formaldehyde what is going on at this new restaurant of yours really and in a way that food reviews seldom do well zé's piece blew up and went viral with everyone sharing it to their Facebook and Twitter timelines cheering and celebrating the epic pwnage of Guy Fieri that sun-drenched frosted tipped buffoon by one of the most widely circulated newspapers in the world and while rubber necking trash fires has
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been a time-honored tradition as long as civilization has been a thing the commodification of our need to see trash being eviscerated by the critic intelligencia has become an ever evolving industry one can after all easily elevate their online brand with a well time to take down there's no mist in the galaxy that's not earth fake ding and with Tom Hooper's 2019 trainwreck adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical of the same name there was blood in the water watching cats is like stumbling upon
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unholy and hit who for unknown genre of porn every time these horny fur demons tongue a milk bowl and start moaning I was certain the FBI would raid the theater glad to report that cats is everything you'd hoped for and more a mesmerizingly ugly fiasco that makes you feel like your brain is being eaten by a parasite a viewing experience so stressful that it honestly brought on a migraine can you make a movie so bad that the Academy takes back your Best Director Oscar asking for a Tom Hooper
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by the time I left the theater I wasn't even sure what a real cat looked like anymore to assess cats as good or bad feels like the entirely wrong axis on which to see it it is with all affection they monstrosity I am NOT a cat person second off after watching this frankly mortifying film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's cats I'm not altogether sure I have a movie person anymore either finally a whole new generation can discover that cats the musical is two hours of human feline hybrids without genitals having no touch sex and
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begging for death via song cats is the worst thing to happen to cats since dogs cats is pure nightmare fuel the rejects from the island of dr. Moreau putting on a show is bad enough but add to that more crotch shots than a Michael Bay movie and every imaginable pun and that still won't prepare you for the hellscape that is children's faces CGI Don two mice for the most part cats is both a horror and an endurance test a dispatch from some neon drenched netherworld where the ghastly is
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inextricable from the tedious I felt the light inside me slowly fading oh god my eyes are you blind when you're born can you see in the dark I was one of the very first people to see cats the movie the musical if Tom Hooper's to be believed some 24 hours after the film was even finished this was not because I'm the world biggest cats Stan or because I'm just that important it was
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because I cajoled my friend who got invited to a critic screening to let me be her plus-one see after weeks of reveling in the pure unintentional Salvadorian madness that was the trailer I was keen to be one of the first I got my complimentary cat ears they gave his cat's temporary tattoos and cats champagne presumably to help black out what we were about to see and we settled in for the ride of a lifetime there were two types of people at this screening people who were familiar with Andrew Lloyd Webber's cats and people who until now had lived in blissful
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ignorance man I was in fact sandwiched right between two of these people to my left set an Jihan critic for mashable.com and who knew all about cats and to my right Emily vanderwerff critic at large for voxcom and the person I cajoled into taking me and who like me was familiar with cats Emily spent more or less the whole film making this face and Andrew spent the local making this face both of them deeply enjoy the experience for the record maybe not the film itself but definitely the experience for people who
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hadn't seen cats before the questions seem to be and today a cat is not a dog is this it is this this what cats is is this what cats has been the whole time and on that day I was like I mean yeah that that's pretty much cats what did you expect oh and if you follow me on Twitter you know I spent most of my December in January obsessed with the cat's movie which was every bit as much of a train wreck as I
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had hoped and why even now I honestly could not tell you but the more time I spent on cats and thinking about this movie the more I had to actually confront these questions not just the question of why am I so fixated on this unquestionable disaster but why is cats how did this become a thing because that the movie and the stage musical exist at all let alone that the musical was as popular as it was is somewhat baffling I got so fixated on this that I started a podcast about it where I explained
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musicals to my friend who hates musicals information in the description and of course our pilot episode was about cats but even there were I attempt to splain that which is cats I kind of failed because that question of why came up a few times so it still leads to the real question which is who likes cats I I would argue it's kids I say I don't know like I don't I I don't know who cat this for because I don't know anyone who's right or died for cats I'm literally looking at a person who's right or died
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for cats all you want and I don't think that in that episode I answered that why question satisfactorily and part of that is I think the mistake of conflating the why for the stage musical which is almost 40 years old kind of like me and the why for the movie I realize now that those two why God wise have very different answers the first time I saw the film I was like well what did you expect this is cats but I'm going to have to walk back this assessment if we are asking why this happened and wholly conflating this
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with this then my Jellicle friends we are asking the wrong questions [Music] [Music] cats the musical is based on a collection of poems entitled old possum's book of practical cats written by TS Eliot and published in 1939 as the poems were originally written for Eliot's young god children the nature of them skews light and comedic short and whimsical Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber not only grew up with this book of poetry he
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also just loves cats how it's about catch just big fan of cats nothing deep nothing weird just man just like Zima cat but Lloyd Webber didn't come to the idea of turning practical cats into a show until the late 1970s a friend had asked him if he'd be interested in composing music set to poetry and one day while Evita was in rehearsals he thought of that book that his mother had read to him as a child my mother used to read them to me and I always loved them and I had
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them myself and I kept them for years I always thought that there was something about them that was very musical I guess but it wasn't until he had a long liquid lunch with producer Cameron Mackintosh in 1980 however that catch the stage musical became its own moving engine but a large dance centric show was a daring move for musical theater at the time Cameron was already friends with acclaimed choreographer Gillian Lynne who would ultimately choreograph the show but getting the rights from TS Eliot's widow or finding a director even
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everybody thought we were mad to do a show about cats everybody but it turned out that TS Eliot's Widow was not as hard a sell as they feared after years of dodging requests to make old possum's book into an animated film from companies like Disney she was afraid that old possum would turn out like Winnie the Pooh or something sir horny Lloyd Webber came to her with a more novel adult approach so I plucked up my courage and I said to Valerie I said what would day if I say if I wanted them to be a bit like hot gossip she said Tom would have liked that if you're not
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familiar with hot gossip here was their big hit at the time [Music] how prince was not available to direct this show however oh it's about cash and after being passed over by multiple stage directors Lloyd Webber and McIntosh settled on Royal Shakespeare Company director Trevor Nunn but right off the bat Lloyd Webber kept running into problems of people not getting it these kinds of Jellico Lucy this is made
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here in one of the unpublished poems yes all cats are Jellicle cats fundamentally you see dogs of polical dogs Jellicle cats cats is more like a review than a traditional plot driven musical in its format which isn't a surprise given that it's based on a collection of poems without much connective tissue except for the whole cat thing but it was director Trevor Nunn who suggested giving an emotional through-line to the show that would give it some semblance of a story the plot well if it can be said to have one is similar to Broadway's previous longest-running show
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1975's a chorus line as characters take turns singing to win a contest and the sympathy vote goes to the one busted old lady long in the tooth and yearning for another chance in cats she's Grizabella the glamour cat a stinky Sally Bowles with whiskers along with her are a bunch of other feline hopefuls sporting names like monkey strep the rum tum tugger skimble shanks the railway cat Ginny Annie dots the Gumby cat asparagus the theatre cat a nut chief the cancelled cat Nala the girlboss cat Fieri the flavortown cat and so on and the success of cats was by
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no means a given the ambitious nature of the musical meant that few theatres were willing to risk hosting it and then when they eventually did secured at the new London theatre saw a massive overhaul of the theatre itself just for this production funding was also coming up short and Lloyd Webber had to take out a second mortgage on his home just to complete it so cats was weirdly enough an underdog passion project that Lloyd Webber risked everything for and all this was before the show could be
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considered anything remotely close to done the writing process was a work in progress throughout previews right until opening and no small part because figuring out the connective tissue between a bunch of poems wasn't exactly a priority for Lloyd Webber who just wanted a bunch of people in lycra to sing about being cats how it's about catch not a peek although people may say what they please is no British dog but he even Chinese but a major issue was the lack of an emotional linchpin a showstopper that emotional ballad that is the keystone of every musical Cats
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didn't really have one nor did it have a character to sing it and none of Eliot's whimsical poems really lent themselves to that sort of ballad said character came in the form of one of Eliot's unpublished poems Grizabella the glamour cat a poem about a sad has been capped that eliot cut from his collection because given that the collection was for children he considered it too sad it was a poem that he wrote which he thought was too sad for children and I got it from Valerie Elia to his TS Eliot's Widow so Grizabella the glamor cat became the song that served as the character's
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entrance [Music] but what would she sing as a composer Lloyd Webber would sometimes write a song but not really have a home for it and whatever show he was working on [Music] the song that would become memory the melody for it at least he had written several years earlier and was basically saving it for just such an occasion so there was the melody but there weren't
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really any cat poems that fit it so the lyrics are inspired by rather than directly lifted from an Eliot poem that was not part of old possum Rhapsody on a windy night I say inspired by because the lyrics went through a lot of versions one of which from Lloyd Webber's former lyricist and writing partner Tim Rice who had co-written with him Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita now by this point Lloyd Webber and rice head well and truly fallen out even though neither of them have ever really publicly explained why but Lloyd Webber
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asked him to do a pass on it this was like fine he did and then he was like actually don't use my lyrics but then they used his lyrics during previews and he got really mad and he threatened to sue it was a whole thing I did write a Nurik for memory and he went into the show for a couple of nights in previews then he was taken out and given to a lyricist chosen by the director the director eventually it was nun who found the most agreeable interpretation of the poem and lo Katz has its signature song completed sometime during previews
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[Music] and despite all of those low expectations despite the no plot despite the weirdness despite the like rare despite the hair despite everything by 1981 cats had opened in London and soon swept the Olivier Awards coming to Broadway some 18 months later and there swept the Tonys including Best Musical but despite the show's success critics were not super enamored with cats ripping apart the gossamer-thin plot the weird mood the focus on dance which
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according to theater professor Alison McLemore musical theater scholars tend to be biased against Broadway legend Elaine Stritch just walked out said stretch later the cats came out through the audience and one of them came near me and I remember looking at it and saying don't touch me that is how much but in spite of all of its strange gaudy borderline Showtime after midnight rapings and utterly befuddling story
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cats managed to amass its own army of stay-at-home moms lonely 12 year olds and perverts that critics could never hope to dissuade it's for everybody it's for kids [Music] I enjoyed it more tonight than I did 18 years ago when I first came out it's very exciting go to Guardian article from last winter there are no laboured political messages in cats only the horny pleasures of watching the rum tum
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tugger hip thrusts his way through increasingly surreal dance routines [Music] gorgeous gorgeous cats was also the original blockbuster mega musical on the business side everything that was wrong with cats worked to its benefit no stars meant cast changes were not a problem fin story meant those lucrative foreign tourists don't miss anything no money quote from The Times review well we don't need it we've got this amazing poster that would only be harmed by critic quotes minimalism baby the actors
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also traditionally interact with the audience which while not much fun for Elaine Stritch helps most theater goers lose themselves in the shamelessness of it all - uh Jellicle ball [Music] nostalgia is also a factor while cats fans do come in all ages the superfans tend to be aged 40-plus and remember the original West End and Broadway versions another part of the show's appeal is that there are so many characters for audiences to relate to and for most fans of the show the fact that it is so weird
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so removed from reality is not a bug but a feature in his New York Times review of cats Frank Rich wrote that despite its flaws the reason people will hunger to see cats is that it's a musical that transports the audience into a complete fantasy world that could only exist in theatre man rich added some 40 years later it is not fun to watch a great
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magician on television you have stagecraft there are things in the theater that are very hard to translate to film [Music] and once again we circle back to that question of but why though [Music] [Music] Steven Spielberg and Amblin entertainment reached out to work with Andrew Lloyd Webber on an animated version in 1989 Spielberg's vision was to be set in a dark world war 2 era London and to be somewhat Brechtian in
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tone which okay the concept art that has been released is actually pretty cool and as is the case with most musicals an animated adaptation makes way more sense than the Nietzschean horror that we eventually got but ultimately between production delays squabbles about the screenplay and how to create an actual plot and the failure of Ambulance other animated films like an American tale Fievel goes west we are back a dinosaur story and Balto the studio shut down in 1997 and ended any hope of the animated film coming to fruition a multi-camera version of the
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stage show is filmed and released in 1998 shortening the musical and adding new elements like force lightning so this should be good enough we have this we don't need a live-action movie and of all of the musicals to adapt it makes the most sense that Katz had evaded adaptation for so long despite its popularity universe will bought the film rights to Katz sometime after the Amblin production folded and it kind of existed in that development hell limbo ever since Lloyd Webber kind of hinted at
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something being in the works as early as 2013 but we didn't see movement until about three years later so what happened in that time this is the moment you've waited for well greatest showmen came along and made half a billion dollars worldwide obviously I'm not mr. Universal but we can surmise that mr. Universal saw the long and development Katz project and thought hey let's give that the go-ahead and then we too can make half a billion dollars and while we're there it lets attach to it the last guy who won a bunch of Oscars for a musical that's the ticket half a billion dollars and Oscars
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everybody wins so it does kind of feel like we're missing a step here that a prestige musical adaptation equals Oscar bait de-facto for most of the early history of the Academy Awards musicals were a major presence if for no other reason that in the early days of talkies musicals just made up a much larger proportion of films that got made but as we covered in the episode about roadshows the big studio musical was kind of on its way out in the nineteen 60s in favor of more heady experimental cinema but then we had a couple of big hits and more importantly big Oscar winners in the form of Mary Poppins in
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The Sound of Music so that created a sort of boom and bust for the musical as an awards darling but also for the movie musical in general after Hello Dolly was a critical and commercial failure the Hollywood musical was kind of dead for a while so after that you had movies like cabaret which while unlike big studio musicals in most regard did win a bunch of Oscars but that was kind of the end of the era of musicals as Oscar darlings you'd have your Greece's your little shops but they were more like popcorn movies they weren't awards bait and musicals mostly moved into animation
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hell the next musical after cabaret and all that jazz in the 70s both directed by Bob Fosse to get nominated for Best Picture was Disney's Beauty and the Beast so fast-forward to 2001 where we are still firmly in the musicals equals popcorn movies mindset Moulin Rouge was not designed to be an Oscar movie it was designed for Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet made a bunch of money and he has a budget now so let's just let him do whatever he wants and Moulin Rouge is an even bigger hit than Romeo + Juliet
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[Music] now Moulin Rouge came out around the end of May but like greatest showmen it had really good legs and by the time award season comes around it's still in theaters so Fox was like hey let's just go ahead and do it for your consideration campaign and boom Best Picture nominee who would have ever thought this sets the stage for the already in development Chicago itself fuelled by Harvey Weinstein's for your consideration campaigns of attrition and not only does Chicago and Best Picture
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about five other Awards in 2003 the first musical to win Best Picture since Oliver in 1968 now two things here one is that adaptations of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musicals have historically not yielded very good results huh either commercially or with regard to awards I mean don't get me wrong they try the most successful to date is the 1996 film adaptation of Evita starring Madonna and Antonio Banderas which while not an
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oscar darling despite winning Best Original Song it did win a bunch of Golden Globes including actors for Madonna and Best Motion Picture Musical or Comedy then of course there's Phantom of the Opera which was also released in the thick of award season with high hopes it did have a pretty aggressive for your consideration campaign and it did yield a couple of Oscar nominations including bewildering lis cinematography for more on why that is terrible watch the video I made on why it is terrible [Music]
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second is that cats is not structured like a Hollywood screenplay even in relation to other Andrew Lloyd Webber shows which do tend to have you know like a plot so right off the bat even in comparison to projects like Phantom of the Opera or Evita with cats they are starting at a huge disadvantage which I suspect mr. Universal knew for a long time considering how long it took them to get cats out of development hell how do you give this thing the structure of a Hollywood movie while also keeping it recognizably cats I can dance how he
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dances to privacy well apparently you don't so it wasn't just the incredible unexpected success of greatest showman it was also who directed the film and I am absolutely 100% positive that Tom Hooper would never have been attached to cats if the song memory was not cats as big as staple [Music] ignoring universals aggressive for your consideration campaign for lay miserab a
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movie which proved that musicals can still be Oscar darlings even into the 2010s most point to Anne Hathaway's rendition of I dreamed a dream as the thing that clinched her an Oscar win it came true so attaching Hooper to cats was a no brainer cats has the big Oscar winning ballad Leamas has the big Oscar winning ballad it's just some synergy [Music] but Lena zurab was a harbinger of things to come and for every truly bewildering decision that Hooper made in cats the
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warning signs were always there when [Music] philosopher and media theorist Marshall McLuhan famously said the medium is the message what did he mean by that simplistically it's the idea that you can only receive an idea or a story through a medium be that medium a poem a novel a film a stage show or even just the act of talking zip zip it is not the idea or story itself that is being expressed but a medium that is expressing it therefore the medium
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should be the focus of study according to theater scholar Linda Hutcheon while no medium is inherently good at doing one thing and not another each medium like each genre has different means of expression and so can aim at certain things better than others so let's look at layman's raw as a case study you have Victor Hugo's novel a miserab you have the PBS masterpiece miniseries starring Dominic West and David Aiello and you have the Boublil and schönberg stage musicals three different mediums
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telling the same story but owing to difference in mediums they tell them in very different ways that are designed first and foremost to fit their respective medium so what can often happen when you have someone schooled in one medium who is suddenly having to figure out how to most effectively do another that can lead to some dissonance I think what I was trying to achieve was a combination of extreme realism so that the film would feel rude in reality but also allowing a certain heightening of reality we saw this in Phantom of the Opera directed by Joel
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Schumacher where there's a lot of little things that just show him trying to make it less of a musical like having them speak singing lines that don't make sense to speak sing but why is it secret what if we do hide and then having Butler scream half his lines instead of singing them and this of course works both ways bloom go so far camera right the producers the 2005 film was directed
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by Susan Stroman who also directed the Broadway stage show the producer shows us what it's like when a stage director is uncomfortable working in the format of film people who've never seen this show but did see the movie an adaptation which is faithful to a fault because it's basically just the stage show are like that's it that's the winningest toniest show ever but this film version is emblematic of how medium matters so much that worked on the stage and led the producers to win the most Tony's of any musical by a single production in
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history just didn't translate to film [Music] [Laughter] quoting film scholar Robert stem film clearly has resources that the stage can never have the power of the close-up that gives the micro drama of the human countenance and the separate soundtracks of film that permit voiceovers music and the non vocal to intermingle Linda Hutcheon adds and when we sit quiet and still in the dark watching real-life bodies on the stage our kind of identification is different from when we sit in front of a screen and have their reality mediated for us by technology so life theater naturally requires way more
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suspension of disbelief and film does you are in the same room with these people you have to applaud after every musical number you can see the sets you can see that the snow isn't real the actors are probably pantomiming like half of a set that isn't there but the medium of film works against that necessary suspension of disbelief just stop that you're not gonna need to assault while I'm here and must be adjusted for with stylism that's why musicals tend to work better as animated movies than live-action movies an
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animated movie requires more suspension of disbelief because this isn't real it's a drawing why was everyone singing we've just got a song in our hearts and therefore it fits more easily with the requirements of believing that these characters might suddenly just burst into song how's that you'll know the woods did you even yeah every Thursday can you see the fires of course film directors do sometimes figure out ways to bridge this gap gracefully Chicago springs to mind it manages to work with the realism of the
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tone while incorporating the more theatrical framing all while making it work within its own internal logic and sometimes other movie musicals just don't care about how realistic are not the framing is and they just don't bother caring about that the mamma mias are a good example they are not going for high art and that's fine but part of the tilt toward realism in film is because the Academy tends to reward a more realistic style not always put overall and for those of you out there
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who argue that Tom Hooper style is actually kind of weird strange angles and lots of dead space of exposed brick and wallpaper does not an unrealistically styled film make yes Hooper does use a lot of unsettling visual language and I'll get to that in a minute but that doesn't mean that groundedness and realism isn't ultimately what he's going for so in addition to a sort of stylistic discomfort with musicals in general there's also incentive to make the visual style of the film more realistic so his proclivity for dragging the medium of the musical kicking and screaming into the style of realism
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preferred by the Oscars and it was only a matter of time before he slipped into the uncanny valley so the tactic Whitlam uses visual language was in part visual realism but in addition to that in order to make it feel more immediate and more realistic Hooper also elected to use set sound recording the actors as they sang rather than the more traditional way of doing it by having the actors sing along to playback Hooper went to very great
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lengths to make the performance feel more authentic by recording it live Tommy's allowing us the spontaneity of normal film acting and it was a great gimmick to sell to Academy voters so the medium of musical theatre which in the case of lame is and Katz requires the cast to be singing the whole time already requires a much higher degree of suspension of disbelief than film does and not just realistic actively at war with the big emotions of the music you have extreme close-ups constantly for three hours on actors who are singing
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songs designed to play to cheap seats well he did lamia's is bad but it went some awards so even though the main impact of that movie is in Lycia baron means the formula according to Universal appears to be Tom Hooper plus beloved classic musical equals profit so that's how we got here you know let's see what we got I don't
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know what I expected although I will attempt to find rationale if not reason in the film version of cats there are many bewildering choices that I can only attribute to who parry and Lindsey from horny Judi Dench scissoring and delight after Gus the theatre cat to Jennifer Hudson spending most of her screen time in close-ups with her face covered and snot to Macavity being played the way that he is sure how do you manage to make it drezz Elba
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unappealing hey you know what I'm gonna dab the aspect of the film that drew the most attention positive and negative after that first trailer was released was the uncanny valley nosov it all which all goes back to Hooper's attempts to draw this weird fantastical show back down to realism said Hooper in an interview for the Atlantic I wanted to keep it very grounded in the present moment the thing I'm most proud of is that you feel grounded watching it it's not that fantastical which it's it's cats dude blame has been laid upon the
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visual effects team which nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects okay let's talk about that for a moment we've used digital technology to create the most perfect covering of fur so Hooper one of the films we grounded and not that fantastical and part of that was wanting his actors to be X amount of unencumbered and also to shoot on
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practical sets of weird scale so he elected that they should not use mocap suits despite the fact that the suits they did wear look plenty ridiculous allegedly this is hearsay no one has gone on the record to say this Hooper didn't want his actors distracted or encumbered so no mocap suits so all of the digital fur technology had to be done manually which not only ballooned the post-production budget it massively increased the labor required to finish it but after the trailer hit allegedly again this is through my grapevine
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mister Universal kind of panicked and slashed the funding going to post-production and that in part is why you get these shots that look well kind of bad and why you've got like these floating faces and why there are some shots that aren't even finished so when you hear horror stories of the VFX team for cats being underfunded and understaffed and overworked allegedly again no one has gone on the record to discuss this in any meaningful detail because they don't lose their job so this is all hearsay this is the results so the manually rotoscoped digital fur
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technology the slashed budget and Hooper's bizarre insistence on making changes up to the 11th hour in part leads us here but even if it had gotten the time and money it needed could this have worked visually would this have worked for audiences probably not Hooper's dedication to making the movie feel grounded backfired horribly no matter how much time the VFX team had these decisions were all rooted in trying to bridge that realism gap so much so that certain elements are somehow both over thought and under
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thought at the same time the film's approach to the titular animal is both way more literal and way more dense at the same time one wonders if any of these people have ever even seen a cat um the film adds way more literal cat things that aren't even there in the show like their ears move around they crawl around on all fours and pawed each other they laugh at things and go Moo no man Gillian Linds choreography in the show is designed to be like more
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evocative of the idea of a cat not a literal imitation of a cat but here we are not 10 minutes in we got a crotch licking joke I'm a kitty man and all this adds up to create a suspension of disbelief problem that isn't there in the musical there are not humans in the musical for instance but here they are at the beginning of the film we see them before we see any cats humans with their human bodies throwing away a kitten in a bag who also has a human body but as in Leamas hooper just doesn't seem comfortable or particularly interested
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in the medium of the musical the breaking of the fourth wall for instance pretty common in musicals we see this Leamas in a scene where in the musical the Virage is addressing the audience it's got frost but we can't have that so in the movie he addresses some random rich dude but then in the following line he addresses the audience anyway so it
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was a time we cats the musical breaks the fourth wall a lot more than Leamas the cats addressed the audience they explained things to the audience they interact with the audience physically but we can't have that so the movie gets around this by making Victoria the fish out of water they explain the Jellicle thing to her instead of the audience so cutting this do I actually see with my own very eyes a man is not sets up in
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the movie that fourth wall breaking is not a thing that is done here which you know what fine it's a movie not a stage show so then they hold to this change for the whole movie until the end when they have densha dressed the camera for like five minutes straight you've heard of several kinds of cat should and made no interpreter to understand the cats are very much like you you've scenes both our habits
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I have a chat but how would you serve first your memory I'll say a cat is not a dog with cats some say one rule is for a cat will condescend to treat you are
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spoken to myself I do not have a cat will condescend to treat your dish of cream or you might known and so in time you reach your aim and by movie adaptations also often change the arrangements of songs which again fine but in cats it just feels like Hooper did it because he was bored with them
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the rum tum tugger is one of the show's most high-energy numbers and the reuleaux is actually a pretty good rum tum tugger [Music] except for that accent so why God why do we keep interrupting this number four rebel Wilson's bad improv just caught in YouTube like in the very next scene we interrupt bustopher jones for more rebel Wilson shenanigans anyway back to the zone even
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during skimble shanks the best number in the movie a mouse kills cats like yep that's what we're watching these things wouldn't be bad enough themselves except that they don't add anything it's like he's breaking up the musical numbers because he feels like they're too boring to stand on their own without something to break them up I can dance how he dances to piracy the filmmakers discomfort / disinterest with the material expands beyond just the medium of the musical and the show that they're
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adapting itself there's a pattern rejection of anything non heteronormative that's pretty / - anyone familiar with the stage musical there is a lot of no homo in this movie yeah god forbid that this guy be clocked as anything but the straightest manly man it is often played in the musical that Mustafa Lee's and rum tum tugger have like a little something going on the rum tum talked terrible boy and we can't have that so both of them get their nohomo moments
41:21
with Victoria and Mistoffelees gets it in the form of an all-out subplot for all the other terrible captains and figures of speech that they added in the movie I'm surprised they didn't add something about how like rum tum tugger loves deposits heterosexual cats heterosexual cats head to row sexual cats but if there's one scene that was always doomed to failure or wild success depending on how you look at it and
41:54
anything live-action or remotely realistic it is the old Gumby cat sequence wherein we hear about the titular Gumby cat who lays around all day but at night teaches mice and other vermin to like you know be upstanding members of society the show accomplishes this with pantomime and props that are like you know garbage from the junkyard
42:25
that the cats are hanging out in made to look like you know mice there are multiple times in the show where the cats pantomime other animals and objects like mice and dogs and roaches and choo choo trains by appropriating trash and turning it into props and such now they could have done that but realism so instead we get this and it just keeps escalating and getting more and more
42:57
horrifying I can't even make commentary on this so I'm not gonna accept why God why did they give the mice children's faces from the moment the trailer came out my biggest question was how would they try to give cats the shape of a Hollywood movie I kind of deep down thought that they'd be smarter than that and just wouldn't bother like they just let it keep its review like qualities and have it be something kind of disjointed in the vein of Fantasia but Wow did they
43:46
fly wildly in the other direction structuring the film with not one storyline from the musical on steroids but two the first is the enormous Lea expanded part of Victoria who's the protagonist now and the emotional through line of Grizabella a kitten with one brief dance solo in the show and no songs the film gives her a little orphan abandoned in the world of the Jellicle cats narrative and takes this moment from the stage show and makes it the emotional through line of the movie and I'm not saying this is handled gracefully in the show but the movies
44:25
tries to bolster it and in doing so reveals the whole thing's weaknesses it is distantly implied in the show but stated outright in the movie why is Grizabella shunned by the other Jellicle cats who was she she used to be the star of the windmill and she went with Macavity Macavity trying to add a little more logic to her story is not the most counterintuitive change in the world but it does conflict with the other big change they made Macavity
44:57
Macavity is like an obstacle that shows up towards the end of the show like earlier some cats titter hearing about him and then later he shows up he kidnaps old Deuteronomy they immediately undo it and no one ever speaks of it again and again I'm not saying that this is good it is charitably flimsy and Macavity is not really an antagonist more of like a thing that happens the tension of the story if it can be said to have won is just the question of who gets to die who gets to die the good death macavity in the show doesn't
45:29
really care about this but in the movie I'm determined to win and I prefer my competition chained up Wow it's his life's goal that Heaviside lair why because and then as if all this doesn't make you wanna crawl out of your skin enough okay so macavity is the color of
46:02
idris elba like couldn't they just make him like a black cat or make you some like stripes or something I get that that could be problematic but I don't I don't think that the only alternative is to tumble head over ass into the uncanny valley by creating a cat that's just the color of human skin which is itself kind of revealing like imagine if one of the wide actors had the same treatment just a cat the color of human skin would they have not caught this for the uncanny valley yikes that it is Souma cavities function in the movie is to remove the other cats from the
46:34
competition so he will be the Jellicle choice despite the fact that he seems to be doing pretty well in this life but whatever he wants a new one macavity also serves the dual purpose of extracting your a-list celebrities who wanted to be in the movie but didn't want to be on set for more than three days so he ferrets his kidnapped celebrity cats and also skimble shanks to a boat which is manned by Ray Winstone who is also a cat and despite my cavities magical powers once they I don't know get bored of being tied up
47:05
with a large chain they escape easily they get back just in time for memory and then this happens [Applause] anyway so when Grizabella shows up at the end after the whole boat fight it's like well the movies already had its climax we got old Duke back why are we still here oh right the heavy side layer the big climax making the macavity subplot more of a focus leached to the resolution of that subplot getting way more screen time and involving way more characters and it gives it the feel of the climax of the
47:40
movie but it's not memory is the climax so the film builds in a new climax on the boat Tyga take a walk the bank while also keeping the original one Jennifer Hudson is such a good singer that like I've never not watched this scene and gotten chills [Music] like the arrangement and mixing are so good that even in the to rowdy screenings I've gone to the audience
48:12
reverently listens to this bit the plot was always paper thin and flimsy and it was that by design but the film doesn't make the plot such as it were less flimsy it just creates more of it and more nonsense that the film obligates itself to explain because we have committed ourselves to the style of realism and logic but ultimately if you want to ask the question of why cats is the way it is cats is the story of hubris Awards hubris celebrity hubris director hubris just good old-fashioned hubris lie claim is they wanted to have
48:44
an all-star cast but cats is a terrible thing to adapt for big stars because unlike lame is it requires its cast to more or less be onstage the whole time as opposed to lame is where you can have an Hathaway for her 20 minutes of award-winning screen time and then she's out for the rest of the movie cats is not designed like this you're either a cat that has a solo or a cat that is in the ensemble but you're on stage more or less the whole time most of the songs don't have the cat singing about themselves but another cat doing the
49:11
singing the movie changes us by having them half the time just singing about themselves Gus is the cat at the theater door Gus the theater cat bustopher jones and especially the old Gumby cat come to mind as songs that were changed to give the stars more screen time [Music] because they certainly were not changed because the arrangement was better and wow do they [ __ ] up the old Gumby cat by
49:44
giving this song to rebel Wilson who is not only not a great singer it also Nix is a three-part harmony because if you want rebel Wilson in this movie for 20 minutes she gots to gets her a solo or in the case of Macavity they take a duet and make it a solo because Taylor Swift is not sharing the
50:21
stage my friends so what do we do with a bunch of celebrities that want solos and want to be in the movie because it's got the awards guy attached to it see so it's gonna win awards but they don't wanna you know be on set for more than like three days Gordon's got his talk show to work around Taylor Swift's on tour you know what we can't be bothered by being on set for more than three days well how about Macavity kidnaps the a-listers this not only solves our problem of not really having a threat or tension it also means that we have a
50:52
real solid good reason for these people not being in the background when they are not the center of attention so not only do we now have a lazy reason to get our a listers who don't want to be in the background out of the movie we also made the movie worse go team and no Awards hubris musical would be complete without the unnecessary new song but these two beautiful girls this one's called beautiful ghost it was co-written by Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber you
51:24
can't write a modern lyric for cats so like if you can't get TS Eliot like get TS and it like all of these musical numbers add to the movie to win an award is completely unnecessary and totally grinds the movie to a halt you know more than it already was hey Francesca Hayward sounds kind of unsure it's because she doesn't really know this song because they more or less finished it like the day of we were just rushing
51:56
we had written it the day before I came in and we had the sheet music made up and like an hour or two before they shot it so tried to pulled a Taylor Swift over here looking at Lady Gaga oscar-winner like hmm I want that one step closer to II got and you're singing it got us a Golden Globe nomination so what in the end is the fallout of cats are we gonna have a bunch of cats copycats is cats gonna be
52:26
like the sharknado of musicals well I doubt it first of all cats is kind of one of a kind it was a massive massive loss and despite the fact that it's probably going to be the new darling of midnight screenings and supplant the likes of Rocky Horror in the room with its cult following don't you these are not the tracks that any other studios are going to want to follow in but I have heard some concern that this might kind of be the end of musical movies in an Entertainment Weekly article conflicted
52:56
theater fan mark Snedeker wrote I fear a similar turmoil that happened in the 80s may occur again because cats is at its core a musical that confirms for people who hate musicals why they hate musicals but though we did not ask for it though we are not responsible for it though we need not answer for it I believe theater fans must not abandon cats because as much as we may hate it we can't deny that we care about it you care about it but would you address here is the thing
53:29
some musicals not all but most of them require a visual medium that jives with the way that the musical itself is constructed Lena Zurab was constructed for the stage Katz was constructed for the stage that is the thing about theater especially in a show like Hamilton which basically has no props let alone a set it is constructed so that the audience has to imagine what's going on in the story overcoming that suspension of disbelief is built into the design of the medium
53:59
in a way that it is not with film but your traditional Oscar bait movie does not allow for that Oscar bait movies demand visual realism and it's very rare that something actually gets rewarded for being stylistic it happens but the Academy prefers gritty realism right now that's just how it is to this idea that there might be a backlash against musical films that Katz might be the end of Hollywood taking musicals seriously to that I say good good King riddance Tom Hooper and your musical awards bait
54:31
[ __ ] popular musical being adapted to films because Oscar bait is a disease the only way movies like this work is either through hyper stylisation in the vein of decent films like Moulin Rouge or Chicago or animation which likewise can rise visually to the magical unrealism inherent to the medium of musicals but gritty realism Oscar bait no thank like I loved Hamilton but Hamilton the movie idea please no yes I will gladly take your live recording that you filmed five years ago and won't release till next
55:05
year I will take it but the Oscar bait musical the adaptation for adaptations sake let it burn musical theater right now is kind of in a new golden age it is doing just fine and it does not need legitimacy from Hollywood we do not need film adaptations of musicals Just Cause just because its brand-name recognition just because Chicago want a bunch of Oscars so if cats marks a demarcation where musicals are being adapted for the screen anymore good
55:37
I don't want Hades town the movie super do not want Hamilton the movie if you watch any one of these amateur animatics on YouTube I promise you they work way better than anything Tom Hooper has ever done so thank you cats thank you not only for being the true embodiment of modern horror no a monument to celebrity hubris but also for ending this nonsense of bad musical adaptations with aggressive for your consideration campaigns and Oscar dreams wow we don't need it just save everybody a lot of
56:08
heartache and money and just film the damn thing cats 98 will always be there but cats 2019 is a cautionary tale of a completely different sort [Music] someone is smoking over something we cats would never do filling their lungs with thick dark hair what a disgusting thing to do cats have nine lives with eight to spare humans have one with none but why do they smoke I don't think humans are
56:49
smart fat cats were smarter it shook a few men and women take care of your lungs you're only human the American Lung Association the Christmas seal people there was a child in the car a child cats have nine lives children only one help them live that life buckle them into a car seat no one
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wants a child to become our memory [Music]

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