Okay. Who knew atalkingcat.com was going to be an available domain, but here we are back on the road to the
But before we become the metaphorical cat that gets hit by a metaphorical car and must be magicked back to life by some metaphorical Christ-collar, let’s take an actual detour and visit another move in the !?! universe. That’s right, germs and viruses. It’s time for My Stepbrother
Let’s get a couple of things out of the way before the stream of consciousness blogging begins. This is another David DeCoteau kids film directed under the fake name Mary Crawford. And it’s not written by Andrew Helm, of Easter Puppy and A Talking Cat!?! fame.
- Start with Dee Wallace of ET fame doing the voice over. SURPRISE! She’s the voice of the cat. Super
duper. At least she doesn’t sound like she’s dying in a submarine likeEric Roberts. Tapping SOS on pipes and singing drinking songs.
- A teenager runs up to new porn house that is different from the old porn house. I miss the old porn house.
teenageris chasing a cat out of her room, you can see damage to the wall behind her done by the door opening too hard. They need to be careful with this rented porn house!
- Cut to a cat cam like the Jaws cam, but just for walking down the hallway.
- 2:30 seconds in, we get the title of the movie said out loud. That might be a record.
Catis a much better actor than Duffy. Duffy was a piece of trash.
- We’re going back to where this all started. Well fuck, why didn’t we start there? Now we get to watch someone arriving home to start the movie again. Unlike the start of the movie where someone arrived at
hometo start the movie.
- DEAD PARENT. This is the theme for all of these !?! movies.
- Cat narrates, flashes back to mom carrying in groceries, flashes forward to
catsitting there and narrating some more. That’s not how narration or time works, cat!
- Two girls talking. Wait, is one of those the mom that was carrying groceries in? Someone state your relationship. The mom shot was from far away. State it now. C’mon, state it NOW. NOW. This is so confusing. They are practically the same age.
- Okay, mom came in. She was entering for a full 2 minutes. Hence my confusion. Those two girls are actually girls and there is an actual older mother. That makes me feel better?
- Mom is talking about a trip to the dentist and how the dentist “loves her mouth.” This is a kids movie.
- And the dentist is making a house call this evening. For some serious mouth looking?
- “Nothing wrong with a man who knows how to give oral examinations,” says the best friend. This is a kids movie.
- Exterior shot of a wedding chapel and wedding music. It wasn’t said, but I think the mom and dentist just got married in a 10 second aside that showed zero people in it.
- I mean, seriously. They just got married and then we’re on with…
- OH, BUT HOLD ON! There is an exterior shot of the A Talking Cat!?! porn house. I miss that house.
- The cat is owned by the dentist, which is why they weren’t there for the beginning of the story, but then why make them the GD narrator? Or start the story later?
- Nance, the daughter of mom, has a bunch of friends over and they’re describing a lot of things that have happened and will happen. Which is the best way to show
action.Wait, hold on. I’ve just been informed it is the worst way.
- They’re talking about how crowded the house is going to be with two more
people,like they don’t live in a fucking mansion.
- Nance is nervous about sharing a bathroom with a guy. Sharing a bathroom with a guy, Nance? That mansion has 7 bathrooms. I’ve checked. Really. I have. You don’t even have to see each other if you don’t want.
- Ahhh, this old porn house (which is just a shot of a pool that isn’t from the old porn house but the establishing shot made it look like it was) is Lucy’s, her…friend from the first scene? I can’t tell.
- Anywho, Victor shows up in the biggest sunglasses I’ve ever seen to tell Nance it’s time to go home. Victor is the titular stepbrother. He’s wearing all black, everybody!
- The two male friends are in a bit of a tiff after one says something to Lucy who storms off. Then one insults the other for his lack of smoothness and the non-smooth one doesn’t understand words and plays with the water like a frog who can only get his hands wet. It goes
- There is some intense hugging and talking and hugging between mom and new dad. Is kissing not allowed in these movies? I’m thinking back and I don’t think I saw a kiss in A Talking Cat!?!
- Like, they hug to start the conversation and hug to end it. And they act like it’s what they’ve been waiting to do all day. This is so weird. You’re going to make oral sex jokes but adults aren’t going to kiss? So so weird.
- Not much to say on this new scene as it actually made sense and seemed to move the plot forward. So so weird.
- As far as the acting goes, it’s better than A Talking Cat!?! Survivor’s Fabio isn’t terrible. This Nance character is a little rough though. Like a sandy wind blowing against an open wound.
- Now Nance and Lucy are hanging out at school and they’re having a conversation at an open terrace overlooking a freeway because you can hear cars whizzing by. More adventures in the art of sound production. Hey, at least we get a new location out of the deal.
- “The principle’s a she!?!” exclaims new
tranferstepbrother Vince. Wonder why that movie wasn’t made.
Okay, 20 minutes in. Time to give this movie a break and pick it up another night. Whew.
Welcome back, me! It has been a while. Like, years a while. Why start this dumb blog if you’re not going to finish the job of documenting the entire breadth of A Talking Cat!?! Let’s press on, shall we? It’s nice to see you too.
When last we left Susan, she was packing away some cooling cheese. She made sure to do this very carefully as there is a lot of time to fill. To make it seem exciting, the background music escalated like she was racing a clock. A clock that was also filling time. That’s not how clocks work.
Cut to, a river. Cut to, sloppy Phil crossing a wooden bridge the width of one car. Last we saw Phil, he was coming to murder Susan. I mean, he was going to take a walk in the woods. The woods where he will hide Susan’s remains. After he murders her.
As Susan carefully carries her chafing dish full of “top notch” cheese puffs to the car, she is witness to some foreshadowing. A car’s tires SCREECH (on a wooden bridge) as a…the hell kind of car is that?
Is that a swan? Is the car embarrassed to be in this movie so it’s sporting a fake logo? It’s possible I’m ignorant (very possible) as I’m not a car guy, but that doesn’t look legit to me. At the very least, it’s some aftermarket…front facing speakers? I don’t know.
Anyway, this guy almost runs over Phil like he’s going to run over Duffy. OH NO! You didn’t guess that’s what was going to happen later? I’m sorry to spoil the surprise. Duffy gets hit by this car. Later.
So car tires squeal on a wooden bridge, Phil almost dies, then he trots on over to Susan and makes small talk about her being a chef. Not a chef, a caterer. Don’t worry. Susan corrects Phil. Because caterers…aren’t chefs? Sorry for all the ellipses. Maybe Susan didn’t go to culinary school, but she still cooks. Well, her children cook. Okay, I convinced me. She isn’t a chef.
The printing on Susan’s tag may be crooked. She probably saved money on the printing and then wasted that saved money on her money-losing cheese puffs.
That’s enough small talk. It’s a “big day for my company today,” Susan explains. But, hold on, let’s get some more small talk going. Do you want some water? Susan invites her serial killer in for another glass of water. This is his “my plan is working” face.
Well, that was fun wasn’t it? Another scene, gone by.
Wait, is that an exterior shot of not Susan’s house? I’ll save it for next time. But, I haven’t noticed that before? Next time! But! NEXT TIME!
Hi! Oh. It’s been a while. Hey. I have a new theory on the creation of A Talking Cat!?!
We all know Eric Roberts’ voice work could be easily recreated by a Teddy Ruxpin running low on batteries. In interviews with David DeCoteau, it has been stated that the talking cat’s voice was recorded in 15 minutes. No surprise.
This article also states that David asked Eric if he wanted to do the voice work. And Eric agreed on the spot and rolled off the recording right then and there. But here is what I think happened.
I think Eric Roberts called up David’s voicemail of his own free will and left a rambling trail of nonsense and cat noises. David then said “I can build a movie around this” and had a script written around Eric’s voicemail.
Look. Okay. I don’t actually think that’s what happened. But it doesn’t sound implausible, does it?
A Pony Tale, formerly known as A Talking Pony!?!, is streaming on Netflix. Here is a record of my live reaction to the, assumed, horrors I am about to encounter.
Before we start, here are some things I know, or think I know. A Pony Tale is another straight to video movie directed by David DeCoteau under the pseudonym of Mary Crawford. It stars the two horrible adults from A Talking Cat!?!, Kristine DeBell and Johnny Whitaker. Johnny will be providing the voice of the talking horse. Oh, sorry. Spoiler alert. The horse talks. Horse. Not pony. Horse.
And now, we watch.
- The Phase 4 Films logo sends chills down my spine.
- Directed by Mary Crawford. Why are you even trying to fool anyone, David?
- Music is once again by Harry Manfredini, who has fallen so far from scoring Friday the 13th.
- Opening stock DeCoteau shot of misty pine tree covered hills, followed by a brand new stock shot of a rock outcropping on a lake I haven’t seen before! Movie! You are surprising me!
- Another new stock shot followed by old stock establishing shot of the one building DeCoteau uses that hasn’t been foreclosed on by the bank. Not a joke.
- It’s morning, and an alarm clock goes of in a “melancholy” teenager’s room. After silencing the alarm, she leaps to the end of her bed, yelling “ah hah” at nobody. She seems confused that no one was hiding at the foot of her bed.
- Under the bed? Nope. Pete and Craig should be hiding in her room. Confused? Don’t worry. Maybe this establishing shot of a rock face will clear everything up.
- The rock face didn’t clear up the situation? Certainly this babbling brook will but things in order.
- Still no? Maybe spending 20 seconds leering at a conifer will solve the problem.
- Now that we understand…no? Okay, how about waves lapping against the lake shore?
- Unnamed girl exists her room dressed for the day. If it ever takes me four establishing shots to get dress, it’s time to take me to the farm. But not this farm. Or ranch. Or whatever. This movie is going to kill me.
- Breakfast is on the table. Perhaps put there by ghosts? “Mom?” No answer. “Is this my birthday? Where is everybody?” If this a post apocalyptic (pony) tale of survival and abandonment, I will be so happy.
- Lake shot.
- Waterfall shot.
- GODDAMIT! You know, you think you’ve seen everything. I KNEW the pony on the DVD cover wouldn’t match the horse in the movie. It was the same with the cats and dogs in DeCoteau’s other movies. But the girl! The girl on the DVD cover is, number one, not credited on the DVD cover. But, number two, is NOT the girl in the movie. Holy shit. That. Is. Incredible. For so many reasons.
- Trying to focus here. This is just beyond anything that could even make sense.
- Okay, we were at some nature shots. Now girl is feeding Horatio the horse. How is he doing? “Doing great.” What? We’re only 4 minutes in and the horse already talked? Slow it down, DeCoteau. You’re going to give me whiplash! You lulled me into a false sense of security with these nature shots.
- Oh. It was girl’s brother who said that. He was hiding in a shed with her other brother and mom. Because life on a ranch is dull and sometimes you need to make breakfast and then hide to play a bad joke.
- I call bullshit, because that was fucking Johnny Whitaker’s voice coming out of the horse, not her brother.
- The amount of swearing in these updates will only increase.
- “I love you sis.” “You do?” “Now we’re the big happy family you always wanted..” Okay, okay. This is most certainly a dream sequence.
- Apparently the ranch is close to bankruptcy. I learned this due to clumsy narration on Girl’s part. But, don’t worry. They won the lottery? So a dream sequence.
- Yep, it was all a dream. If your dreams have dull establishing shots of the woods, you should seek the help of a professional immediately.
- Pete and Craig are in Girl’s room putting shaving cream on Girl’s face. Because they are geniuses. Girl is also their step-sister. Oh, DeCoteau! You and your unconventional family units!
- Plot. Ranch is in trouble. Ranch is being sold today. Establishing shot.
- Establishing shot.
- Juliette! We have a name! Or Jules. Goddammit, they’re arguing about what to call her. Just give us someth…whatever. I’m calling her Girl.
- “Miracles are possible if you put your mind to it.” Let’s check the dictionary on that. Oh, nope! Wikipedia say “a miracle is an event not ascribable to human power or the laws of nature and consequently attributed to a supernatural, especially divine, agency.” Sorry. Your human mind power can’t help you here.
- I can’t make fun of establishing shots anymore. It takes up too much time.
- Brothers are…posing for each other on the porch. Like brothers do. Oh, sonofabitch! I just realized. This is Cinderella! Fuck you Sebastian Dinwiddie, screenwriter of A Pony Tale.
- Backstory. Ranch belonged to Girl’s father. Father died. Enough backstory.
- Mr. Beetle is coming from the bank to help suss out the options and plot plot plot. Time to watch a montage of a horse trotting around!
- Enter Mr. Beetle and Wesley. Mr. Beetle plans to turn the ranch into the biggest mall in America. This tiny house connected to a single horse stall will become the biggest mall in America. I guess they’re going to build up, not out.
- Car drives in silence for a minute or two. Because we’re going for realism here.
- I tried not to beat up on the young actors in A Talking Cat!?! too much because they were doing their best. The parents in the film were much worse actors. Can’t be said here. Congrats, Wesley. You get the worst acting award.
- And then, Mr. Beetle and Wesley hit a deer (that we don’t see) with their car. And a slide whistle goes off to indicate that they made contact. Or a penguin fell down someplace.
- I saw Her today and really liked it. There was a group of four ladies in the front row who represented four generations of the same family line. Aside from talking, giggling, and playing on their phones throughout the entire film, afterwards I heard them say it was the worst movie they had ever seen. I wish I were that naive sometimes.
- Stepbrothers come out of nowhere to get their money back. Okay, there is a running gag where Girl keeps tricking them out of their money. It’s the same style of idiotic tricks that are written into A Halloween Puppy to deal with bullies. Which wasn’t written by Sebastian Dinwiddie, but Andrew Helm. Hmm.
- GODDAMMIT! You assholes and your pseudonyms! Sebastian Dinwiddie is a name from a bit by Abbott on Costello in a movie called The Naughty Nineties. The bit revolved around the unusual name Sebastian Dinwiddie. Sebastian Dinwiddie, in IMDB, only has 3 movies to his name.
- Ladies and gentleman. I make claim that Sebastian Dinwiddie is Andrew Helm. Your horribly scripted logic puzzles gave you away, Helm! I gotcha! I gotcha!
- I’ve been blogging for an hour and am only 18 minutes into this garbagefest. I need to pick it up or I will surely drown in garbage.
- Jules tricked her stepbrothers out of their money and is hiding. Which will lead to a “magical horseshoe” dropping on her head. Any minute now.
- Stepbrothers leave. Because why would you look in the only shed on the property that is five feet from you?
- And, Girl is hit by horseshoe. Knocking her down. This calls for a long panning shot of some woods.
- Now for a hilarious bit from Mr. Beetle about why anyone would put a deer crossing sign where people would drive. Oh, Mr. Beetle. You’re so out of touch with the country.
- “Kim. That’s short for Kimberly, isn’t it?” Quite the intuition you have there, Mr. Beetle! Please! Don’t waste your brain powers on us mortals! The universe needs you!
- Really hoping Kristine DeBell and young Wesley get to have a scene alone together. Then we’ll really see what acting isn’t.
- As Juliet awakes, Horatio the horse explains that the lucky horse shoe knocked her out. Because now he’s talking. Do I have the patience for this?Juliet and Horatio have a conversation that amounts to nothing.
- Girl and Horatio could delve deeper into human/animal relations, but instead we see a horse grooming montage. Nothing says “you’re an intelligent creature on the same level as me” like putting a saddle on said creature and riding it.
- If we ever make contact with aliens, I’m sure the first thing we do will be to ride them.
- Juliet and Wesley meet and fall in love. Or will fall in love. That’ll be an annoying little plot to follow. Wesley will show he is falling in love by getting stuck in the rain and falling apart. Because he is cardboard. His acting is like cardboard.
- Mr. Ed jokes. OW! My eyes almost fell out from the rolling.
- On the plus side, Johnny Whitaker’s voice is crisp and clear. Unlike Eric Roberts’ in A Talking Cat!?!
- Now Wesley gets in on fooling the dumb stepbrothers with bullshit logic that comes in a book of brain teasers for two year olds.
- 50 minutes left. Praying for another 15 minute credit sequence.
- Girl brings Horatio around to see Mr. Beetle, to try and save the farm. Because he’s a talking horse! But, surprise, only she can her him! How confusing for Girl.
- HORATIO ENJOYS LONG WALKS IN THE WOODS! Just like the dad from A Talking Cat!?! I’m pretty excited by that.
- Horse tells jokes. There is confusion about why everyone else can’t hear the horse. Horse grooming montage.
- And Girl is riding the horse again. Because when the chips are down and your beloved ranch is about to be sold, you dick around like everything is normal. Also like the horse you’re riding didn’t talk to you.
- This is a bad movie. Don’t know if you gathered that yet.
- More Girl talking to horse and people think she’s talking to them humor. I’d put quotations around humor, but I already used my quotation marks up.
- Wesley is catching on to Girl’s predicament. And they will bond over it.
- Mr. Beetle is about to take his deal and leave, but his back is thrown out! Thank goodness! Now he can stick around and they can convince him to buy the ranch, just like they don’t want! Wait.
- Kim adjusts Mr. Beetle’s back. Duck sound.
- Another horse montage. There is no Zeus!
- I have to admit. I’m not fully watching this, the longest of horse montages. I’m trying to find more proof that Andrew Helm is Sebastian Dinwiddie.
- I’m only commenting on the important stuff now. Okay, okay. Girl is telling Wesley about all the tricks her stepbrothers play on her. Like the time they tied one of her feet to the bed and put her alarm clock just out of reach! Oh, but wait! Flashback! Now we get to see what she just described! Alarm goes off and she…turns it off. And then trips on the rope she is tied to. That’s…that’s not what you just described. That’s…what is happening?
- Now Girl is hitting Wesley with a magic horseshoe so she can her Horatio. Sorry, sorry. I said I’d only comment on important stuff. This is just horrible plot nonse…oh, wait. Now that Wesley is knocked out, he is having a dream where he’s conversing with trees and gross. Show me more of that. No, don’t wake him up and go back to the plot. No, stop it movie! Just stop. Stop it all. Just, no more.
- 23 minutes left. Is hoping for 20 minutes of credits too much?
- After Mr. Beetle’s back adjustment, he and Kim are in love. Or something close to it. Because nothing needs to makes sense. It’s just a movie, after all. It’s something you watch between sleeping and pooping. Why put any effort into it?
- Wesley fell asleep after Horatio talked to him. The only way to wake him up is with a kiss. Again, see above explanation about the futility of not needing anything to make sense ever in anything.
- They can’t hit everyone in the world on the head with a horseshoe, so they can hear Horatio. Also, “maybe there’s a limited amount of magic in the horseshoe.” Making. So. Much. Sense.
- I need a million little Dutch boys to fill these plot holes.
- I want to murder everyone. Not just the people in this movie. I can’t take much more of this nonsense.
- Surprise! The ranch was sold! Surprise! Mr. Beetle had a change of heart! Now he’s changing the place into a spa ranch thinger. So, thank goodness, the horse saved the ranch! Or, no. No. The back adjustment saved the ranch. The talking horse was unnecessary. THE TALKING HORSE WAS UNNECESSARY!
- Please leave your doors unlocked, everyone. I will be over to murder you soon.
- And we end on a horse montage. Goodnight, everyone. Sleep with one eye open.
- Wait one fucking second here. What is this shit? You lazy fuckers. You changed the title at the beginning but not the end?
- I hate everything now.
Terrible mother Susan returns from…I don’t know. Someplace at least 5 minutes away. More than 5 minutes, actually. When we see Susan driving, she is literally (yes, for real literally) in the middle of nowhere. Because this is California, I will assume it took her at least 35 minutes to get home from wherever. So why has Susan come all this way?
We won’t find out until Susan screams “Tina” a few times before she gets inside the house. Now we’re in a hurry, film? You can’t wait the 5 seconds for Susan to get in the house? Remember how you just wasted three minutes of our time showing a car driving with no context or dialogue? Do you remember that, film?
Luckily, Tina is inside the house. She’s just taking the cheese puffs out of the oven because mom runs a catering company and forces her children to do the cooking. Terrible mother Susan.
Susan was with the investors serving breakfast. And now she’s back for more food. Economically speaking, it makes a lot of sense to drive 35 minutes each way to get the food you(’re children) cooked at your home and bring it back between meals.
Now let’s remember, Susan isn’t meeting with investors. She’s hitching her star to a toy company that is meeting with investors. If the investors put money into the toy company, that means big catering money from the toy company. I didn’t really need to explain that. We all know the big catering budget most toy companies have. It’s common knowledge that their catering needs can keep a single parent household afloat.
This scene is so goddamn insane! The cheese puffs, which will be mentioned 100 more times throughout the movie, are “top notch” in Susan’s opinion. Quality ingredients and such. In fact, Susan is “losing money on those cheese puffs.” Losing. Money. On. Cheese. Puffs.
“You have to spen-d money to make money,” Susan follows. To which Tina, the smartest dumb person in the film, says, “To MAYBE make money.” Losing money on cheese puffs. That’s like losing money by spitting on a fire hydrant. You don’t. It doesn’t make sense. None of this makes a lick of sense.
Here is my big question. Is the toy company not paying Susan? Is her payment the chance of catering for them if they get investors? That’s what it seems like. I’m not saying Susan doesn’t deserve to be treated poorly. She does. But that’s a dick move, toy company.
Anywho, Susan tells Tina to stick around in case the investors have any special requests. Which is a normal thing to say. Personally, when I’m at a catered luncheon, I like to approach a caterer and gently whisper “Hey, how about you get your daughter to whip me up something special.” Win-win. Either you get a special treat or you get punched and then you can sue.
This stupid movie.
When we last left Phil, he told his investment banker that we was going for a walk in the woods. Cut to…
…a car! Guess Phil decided to drive instead of walk. That’s not the worst scripting issue we’ve run into for A Talking Cat!?! So Phil drives.
Jeez, Phil. Were you really going to walk all this way to your neighbors? Phil finally arrives at…
…whoops. Sorry. Still driving.
And driving. Did I mention this scene has no dialogue? Anyway, still driving.
And driv…oh wait! Phil made it! He finally arrived at Susan’s house! So Phil gets out of the car and…
…TWIST! It was Susan the WHOLE TIME! That’s one minute and twenty-two seconds of silent establishment for someone who (A) was not in the previous scene and (B) was never established at another location. We didn’t know she had to get back from somewhere because we didn’t know she was somewhere else! So why do we need to see Susan driving back for a minute and twenty-two seconds? This makes no sense! This is pre-Filmmaking 101.
If you give a rhesus monkey a choice between this scene and a wire mother, it’ll choose the wire mother.
Anywho, Phil is somewhere in the woods coming to murder Susan. It’s a good thing she got back home from wherever so she can be murdered.
“Ok, so. Mr. Financial Adviser. Where do we start,” asks Phil with the finesse of someone who has never had a conversation in their life. Phil is on the phone, so we can’t visually tell who he’s talking to. Luckily, instead of saying Fred or Derek or Nevin, he says “Mr. Financial Adviser” so we know exactly what this person’s role in society is.
Unless Finanzielladviser is a German last name. In which case, I am being ignorant.
“So where should I invest,” continues Phil. Thank goodness we know who he is talking to or we would be totally lost. Invest? Who do you talk to about investments? Hot dog vendors, maybe? Bell hops? Perhaps very smart bats.
After saying “nah…nah…uh-huh” and shaking his jowls around like a dog shaking a colostomy bag filled with mashed potatoes, Phil gets excited about investing in a toy company. He responds “I don’t care” to an unheard comment. The comment from Mr. Finanzielladviser is probably “I mentioned the toy company as a joke. It would be a terrible investment.”
Then Phil drops the mic on the argument with the phrase every debate student should learn. “I have a lucky cat.” Damn, son! You just got taken to school! This dude has a lucky cat!
After squaring that away, Phil calms down and lowers his voice. Menacingly, he tells Mr. Finanzielladviser “it’s time for me take a walk in the woods. I got a neighbor to meet.” Which is a weird thing to say to anybody. Let alone your financial advisor.
One-sided conversation over.
Oh, wait. Phil is talking some more. “Ya…I don’t know…Going to see a neighbor.” Which is in response to Finanzielladviser asking…I don’t know, “Are you going to kill your neighbor” maybe?
Young screenwriters, please take note. Even if the audience is only going to hear one side of the phone conversation, please write the second person’s dialogue as well. Trust me, it’ll help things make some sense instead of none sense.
Next up? A car drives through the hills.
Happy Halloween from @aric