The Grotesque Miracle Of CATS

That Sharknado is a hit and Cats is a flop is a true indicator of how misaligned our cultural priorities are. The fake bad movie is big business, while the real bad movie – the earnestly bad movie – has become a punchline. Cats deserves more.

(Before we go any farther, yes, I am aware success is measured quite differently for a SyFy Original versus big budget Oscar bait. I really just need you guys to roll with my rhetoric a little bit this year.)

The legend of Cats preceded it, and all of my friends saw the movie and returned almost hyperventilating with laughter. Ironic Cats stuff started with the release of the first trailer but exploded after the first screening. More people seem to be tweeting and memeing about Cats than are seeing it, though, and so Cats has become something that people want to talk about and laugh about but not necessarily see. 

I have seen it and I will tell you this: I am glad I did. And while it is a terrible, awful, miserable movie it is, in many ways, preferable to some of the perfectly fine big budget movies I saw this year. I will take the sheer insanity of Cats over the inanity of a Hobbs and Shaw, for instance. Hell, I’m more likely to see Cats in theaters again before I see Rise of Skywalker in theaters again. 

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TWISTED PAIR Trailer – The Latest From Auteur Neil Breen

I reject the idea that movies can be so bad they’re good. Are there pleasures to be found in movies that are rough around the edges, made by inexperienced craftspeople, devoid of the kind of slickness we take for granted in the big films? Of course. There is a magic in a movie that is just a little bit handmade, that is filled with imperfections… but also personality. These films aren’t so bad they’re good, they’re just good on their own terms, and they’re charming as hell.

It’s the difference between a piece of art that is mass produced and a piece of art that is hand-crafted and that you buy on the side of the road. The technique may be primitive, the artist may not have the hours of experience, the materials may even be technically subpar, but the art is free of artifice, and you’re getting closer to the experience and understanding of another human being.

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