I know it’s rather late to be talking about one of the worst films of last year. I mean, CATS has been crucified thanks to its horrifying dive into the deepest part of the uncanny valley. It may have worked as a big Broadway musical but no one was clamoring for a Hollywood production featuring some big name stars. No one was complaining about the music but the plot! Oh, I didn’t watch the movie nor the Broadway musical but, if the story is that stupid, it’s a wonder that the show lasted as long as it did!
It’s now 2020 and all the hoopla about how awful and, frankly, frightening CATS is, was and forever will be. It’s still going to go down as one of the biggest misfires of Hollywood. But I can see that the movie, as bad as it is, can actually gain a following. A huge following, in fact! However, it might not be for the right reasons. This is because I believe CATS can become a cult classic for being terrible.
Of course, history has shown us that there are so many movies that fall under the argument that it’s “so bad that it’s good.” It’s that weird, unquantifiable quality that makes an awful movie a joy to view. I think everyone has that one film that he or she knows is terrible but they can’t help but love it.
Me, for example, I love watching some of the old Showa Godzilla movies. These are the films that made Godzilla a hero to all the little kiddies, a far cry from the destructive force of nature he was originally intended. I still like the more serious Godzilla movies and I do believe the Heisei period was the best time to be a Godzilla fan. But there’s just something magical about watching a giant lizard dropkick a bug in the gut while using his tail as a rail. It looks stupid but, hey! It’s really enjoyable to watch!
There are so many movies that bombed or were critically panned by everyone when they originally released. Somehow, through word-of-mouth and maybe just because of how odd they are, they managed to reach a crowd and become cult classics. Just to name a few examples, there is Office Space, Fight Club, Showgirls, Battlefield Earth, Donnie Darko and The Big Lebowski.
Of course, we also have the Big Three in my book. These would be The Room, Plan 9 From Outer Space and Rocky Horror Picture Show. These films are terrible. Poor acting. Terrible story and dialog. But, even years after their release, people still go to the movie theater to go watch them because they’ve become classics in their own right!
The film has each of the main cast all dressed up in cat costumes. I can definitely picture a line of people dressed up in hokey cat outfits just to see CATS in the future. I also read that there are so many cringeworthy moments in CATS, which is prime cult classic material. Movies that are “so bad it’s good” need these cringey moments to really attract a crowd!
So why not CATS? Who’s to say that, in a few years or so, the CATS movie will actually find an audience that appreciates how bad it it? Well, I guess there are a few things that are standing in its way. For one thing, Universal Studios, the guys who are distributing the film. really wanted this film to not be the disaster that it became.
The original run of CATS not only featured nightmare inducing CGI for the cats themselves, but several gaffes wherein the special effect department didn’t add the necessary “cat” features on some of the actors. They then tried to fix these mistakes by having theater owners download, well, let’s call it what it is, a patch. I kind of wish they left these “glitches” in because it would added much more hilarity to the proceeding just trying to spot all of them.
Another thing that may hinder CATS from being a cult classic in the future is that, well, the songs are great. I mean, the musical is one of the longest running Broadway shows ever. Some of the musicals music have become ingrained in pop culture! However, just because the songs are fantastic and probably the only real reason to watch CATS, that doesn’t preclude it from becoming a non-mainstream hit in the future. All you have to do is just look at something like Rocky Horror Picture Show, another cult classic with really catchy music, and see that it’s possible.
But I guess the biggest hurdle for CATS to become a future cult classic is if it’s actually “so bad that it’s good.” I don’t know anyone who watched it because everyone I know avoided it like the plague. I didn’t watch it as well, despite my curiosity, as I didn’t want to waste almost two hours of my life watching I knew was bad.
Also, unlike something like The Room or Rocky Horror Picture Show, CATS doesn’t really lend itself to be a rowdy and weird film that smiles at the idea of the audience getting into the act. CATS is still, at the heart of it all, a serious film because its roots, the Broadway show, is supposed to be a “cultured” celebration of fine stuff and whatnot. I do still think there is a chance that some guy or gal, with the creative gumption to put in some weird rules to make it more palpable for the viewer who wants to participate in the goings on.
Will CATS become a cult classic down the line because it’s actually “so bad it’s good”? It’s hard to say without really watching the movie. Maybe more people will want to see it for themselves once it’s eventually released on streaming platforms as there’s going to be less risk or getting stuck watching a crappy film for almost two hours. But I know I will be taking the plunge when it does so I can see for myself what a disaster it is. Will I love it? Can’t really say but I hope I’m not the only one willing to find out if it can be a cult classic.
Do you think CATS is one of those “so bad it’s good” kind of films? Let me know in the comments section below!