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About Meredeath

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  1. Meredeath

    Episode 253. Cats

    Ok. I made an account to respond to episode. In many ways, my entire life has been leading up to this. When I was a child I had a substantial surgery where I was on bed rest a while with a lot of Children's Motrin. I chose to spend my recovery watching the VHS of the 1998 performance film of Cats every day. I became obsessed and literally watched the VHS to Cats EVERY SINGLE DAY for over a year. I would estimate I've seen that specific filming of Cats at least 200 times. I have also seen the stage show a few times and then saw the 2019 movie in theaters I think three times. I had a Cats (musical) themed birthday party. Yes, I've become a weird 26 year old, also gay. Obviously. Also I am unfortunately a Swiftie and studied film theory, so 2019 was a big year for me. I could write a dissertation on Cats, but I'll make this as brief as possible. Off the bat, I would say the movie is very different than the musical- it definitely has more plot than the stage. The musical takes place in an abstract theater space and is just kind of silly songs with the underlining “plot” of cats introducing themselves and their culture to the audience to see which of them will go to the Heavy Side Layer to be reborn. In the film, the cats introduce themselves to Victoria, a white cat in the stage show that typically gets a ballet solo, but no songs. I think for what the musical is, they made a much more digestible story in this movie, which still does not make sense! To enjoy Cats you have to radically accept nonsense, and it’s not easy. My biggest critique of Cats (2019), is with the new song that Andrew Llyod Webber and Taylor Swift. The song “The Naming of The Cats” is about the real names of cats that humans don’t know and explains why you have characters who are named Mungojerrie, Skimbleshanks, etc. Essentially, when cats get to choose their name they go wild. Victoria is not a cat name, Victoria is a name that a human gave to a cat, so it would make sense in her original song that she gets to name herself something like Fluffergumbles. Instead they give her a ballad in a musical that already has an iconic ballad. I feel like this film didn’t fully commit to the (illogical) logic of the musical, and that is my main problem with it. I have other things to say but I will get carried away and I'm actually supposed to be working right now. Skimbleshanks is the best cat because he has actually has a job.