I’ve been trying to come up with a drinking game based on A Talking Cat!?! but I can’t seem to make one that doesn’t end up with everyone dead of alcohol poisoning.
A Talking Cat!?! is directed by David DeCoteau, even if the credits say it was directed by the pseudonym of Mary (or Marv, the font for the credits is terrible) Crawford.
As stated on David DeCoteau’s IMDB biography, his mentor is famed B movie director Roger Corman. If you needed an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s work filmed in 24 hours, Corman was your man. Corman has also produced films such as Carnosaur, one of the first straight-to-video movie ripoffs (hitting video store shelves before Jurassic Park) that I can remember.
Before we get into David DeCoteau’s credits, let’s look at an excerpt from his mini-biography, which reads like a press release from David DeCoteau.
“His passion lies in the creation of popular genre programming made for world consumption. DeCoteau’s experience in creating content in countries all over the world makes him a proven choice for exceptionally challenging movie projects.”
Of course, most biographies read like someone looking for their next job. I remember this excerpt from Cary Grant’s biography.
“And if you ever need a charming man to be charming and handsome on a moving picture thing, Cary Grant can be reached at…”
I originally became aware of A Talking Cat!?! when David DeCoteau’s Hansel & Gretel: Warriors of Witchcraft appeared on Netflix. This was a straight-to-video movie ripoff of the mainstream Hansel & Gretel movie starring Jeremy Renner. Here is an excerpt from Jeremy Renner’s Biography.
“And if you ever need a handsome man to be handsome and tough on a moving picture thing, Jeremy Renner can be reached at…”
David DeCoteau’s big break was the straight-to-video (are you sensing a pattern here) Puppet Master III: Toulon’s Revenge. Like Corman, David has also directed many terrible adaptations of Edgar Allan Poe stories.
Most recently, David DeCoteau has fallen into a pattern of three types of movies. The straight-to-video ripoff genre, as represented by Hansel & Gretel. “Family” films, like Christmas Spirit and A Halloween Puppy. And finally, the 1313 sub-genre of LGBT horror B-movie, with titles like 1313: Frankenqueen and 1313: Hercules Unbound!
Of note, the family films and the softcore 1313 films are all filmed in the same house used in A Talking Cat!?! If you see a surface in any of those films, there has probably been an animal and a bare ass on it.
Now, armed with some basic knowledge of David DeCoteau and his work, we’ll explore the inky depths of the pit (and the pendulum) that is A Talking Cat!?!
A Talking Cat!?!, a movie about a talking cat, opens with the voice of Eric Roberts. Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts. Brother of Julia Roberts Eric Roberts. You see, Eric Roberts is the voice of our titular talking cat.
The first thing you’ll notice about A Talking Cat!?! is the sound quality. Or, rather, the lack of sound quality. Eric Roberts sounds like he has been awake for three days straight and is recording his voice over into a tin can in an echoey cave with only one sleeping bear to use as sound dampening.
I wouldn’t say Eric Roberts phoned in his voice work. It would be more appropriate to say he mumbled it into a quarter full bottle of gin while someone struggled to get him into his pajamas.
Did I mention A Talking Cat!?! is a family film?
What are the audience’s eyes treated to during this voice-over catastrophe? Shots of nature and a cat walking and rolling around in it.
I know what you’re thinking. “Aric (that’s me), I shut my eyes for a few seconds and didn’t see all the nature and all of the cat walking around in nature.” DON’T WORRY! You will see the same shots used over and over throughout the film. Why are you worried about that, anyway?
And now, the content of the voice-over. Eric Roberts is our Puck. The talking cat is a mischievous nymph that leads us by the hand through our story. And what a story!
You see, aside from being our Puckish narrator, the talking cat has the attitude of a reincarnated Andy Rooney. He (or she, I guess) complains about technology and how we’re always looking at our “beeping machines.”
So A Talking Cat!?! is going to be a story about becoming less reliant on technology? NO! I don’t even know what this movie is about and I’ve watched it. We’ll get into that later. But for now, a drunken cat is wandering through the woods while complaining directly to the audience about technology until the opening credits roll.
First and foremost, A Talking Cat!?! is everything I hoped it would be. Everything about this movie was amazingly awful in the best way possible. The direction, script, special effects, lighting, sound, actors, editing, plot, character arcs, animal wranglers. Everything.
I’m trying to figure out a way to properly dissect this movie into readable pieces. One item of commentary often leads to a tangent on another aspect of the film. And a rambling monologue isn’t fun to read.
So there is deep analysis of A Talking Cat!?! coming. I just need some color coded note cards to arrange my thoughts. Because there are so very many thoughts.
It’s time to play “Guess That Movie!” The stills above are from four different movies. One of them is A Talking Cat!?! Can you guess the other three and label them correctly?
No, you can’t.
On the left, the attractive kitten featured on the box art for A Talking Cat!?! On the right, the dull-eyed cat featured in A Talking Cat!?! Scandal!
Two Chosen Families…
One Magical Cat…
An experience that changes their lives forever…
And Brings them closer together…
When we last met, we were four seconds into the promo trailer for A Talking Cat!?! We learned that this movie takes place in the mountains. Or on the beach. I know I said location was important for understanding the drive behind our main characters. Perhaps the uncertainty in the film’s location mirrors the uncertainty our lead characters will feel when they discover a talking cat.
Sorry, spoiler alert. There’s a talking cat in A Talking Cat!?!
In the trailer, a car takes the viewer up a hill to a house in the woods. Pine tree woods, not palm tree woods. Actually, “palm tree woods” sounds weird. Let’s call them palm tree forests. If we ever see any. After all, we are in pine tree woods.
And then…Comic Sans happens.
Sorry, I didn’t know how to ease you into that. The title cards for this movie trailer use Comic Sans, the most universally hated font ever. I understand the urge someone might have to use Comic Sans. First off, they don’t want any of that serif shit. But also, A Talking Cat!?! is a family film. The title cards should be in a fun font.
And 0.18 seconds later, Google found 177,000,000 indexed pages pertaining to the phrase “fun font.” If you don’t know how to install and use a font, you shouldn’t be editing movie promos. You should limit yourself to making papier-mâché masks and selling plasma for money.
Or use Helvetica! That font works for everything! Whereas Comic Sans works for nothing!
Then again, maybe the poor font choice is a hint at the poor choices our lead characters will be making in A Talking Cat!?!
You guys! This movie has so many levels!
Next, a tale of two families.
Now that we’ve all experienced the A Talking Cat!?! trailer, which contains more mysteries than the entire Lilian Jackson Braun catalog, let’s dig deep and feel around in the dripping guts of this family film.
The Time Stamp
The first image we, as the audience, are treated to is a glowing green time stamp. This time stamp stays on the screen for the entire trailer. (Please note, the time stamp accompanied the original trailer and this version was up for about a year before being replaced by a more “professional” looking trailer)
Right from the first breath, we have a mystery! Why is there a time stamp on a movie promo? Why does it start an hour in? Where did that hour go? Are we to assume that this movie perpetually takes place one hour from now, no matter where we are in time and space? Was the trailer originally an hour, one minute, and forty-eight seconds long but they decided to use just the last minute forty-eight?
Or maybe someone changed the settings on Final Cut Pro and the editor didn’t know how to change it back. It was almost quitting time anyway.
NEXT! Establishing shots!
We need to know where this movie takes place if we’re going to have any hope of sympathizing with and understanding the main characters.
We open on a foggy mountain landscape filled with pine trees and brush. The cool morning lingers as the air bites with the mossy scent of spring’s return.
We cut to a peaceful woodland waterfall. Its gentle morning mist greeting any visitors who choose to stop and meditate by the pool it forever fills with cool mountain water.
We cut to a warm afternoon on a beach filled with palm trees swaying in the turbulent breeze of a tropical climate.
So, we’re in Mainewaii. You know, the state created when Maine was lifted out of the ground by giant space monsters from the future and thrown at Hawaii? I mean, if I were A Talking Cat!?!, Mainewaii would be my first destination. It’s the only place to get authentic lobster poi.
According to the time stamp, we’re only four seconds into the trailer and we’re already having continuity issues.
What else does the A Talking Cat!?! trailer have in store? Don’t worry, it gets better.
Welcome to the website dedicated to observations and analysis of the 2013 direct to video smash hit (assumedly smash hit, how could it not be a smash hit) film A Talking Cat!?!
You may think I’m being overgenerous with my punctuation but you are the one who is mistaken. The title of the film includes an !, a ? and then, after all of that, another !.
Because when you come upon a talking cat you’re pretty excited. I mean, it’s a talking cat! Just like the singing and dancing frog from the old Warner Brothers cartoons who we all agree is probably pretty racist. Not that this cat is racist. Anyway, this cat doesn’t dance or sing and also it’s a cat. Pretty swell.
Hold up. Cats can’t talk, can they? You seem to remember cats not talking previously. But now that you’re in the moment you find your memories misleading. Maybe cats are talking all the time.
No! Cats can’t talk, you finally remember after several harrowing minutes of confusion! That makes this a special cat. Magical, perhaps! Exclamation point!
A Talking Cat!?! is streaming online on various platforms so take a quick look and drop a couple bucks if you must. Your life is about to change. Just like two chosen families, wink! You’ll get that if you read just ONE blog post on.
You should actually watch the official A Talking Cat!?! trailer before we go any further. We’ll go over this miniature masterpiece with a fine tooth comb in future updates. But you need to experience what makes this movie so special before we get into it.
Remember where you are right now because you’ll be telling your grandchildren about where you were when you first saw the A Talking Cat!?! promo trailer. If you want children and your children want children, that is.