a talking cat
When I was young, I watched Pete’s Dragon and Mary Poppins to the point of exhaustion. I loved any movie that combined live action with animation. Pete and Mary do share more than their animation combo.
Both movies have magical beings (dragons and ladies) who solve the problems of children before heading off to find others in need. It always felt so heartbreakingly selfless to my young mind. The dragon helped Pete…find new parents or friends or something, and Mary Poppins showed us that greed and old people are bad. With all problems solved, they said goodbye and were on their ways.
This does not happen in A Talking Cat!?! Assuming Duffy, the talking cat, actually solves some problems (he doesn’t), he should be on his way to help the next family or families in need. That’s where A Talking Cat!?! flips the script. The families in the movie decide to keep Duffy. They capture a magical talking being for their own pleasure.
And, as the rules of the film state, Duffy can only talk to each of them once. So the families have used up Duffy’s magic. He’ll never talk to them again, and they still decide to keep him.
What kind of ending is this? I guess we can find comfort in the fact that Duffy won’t unleash his “helping” on anybody else. Is that the lesson? Or is it a lesson in hoarding? Sure, you don’t need that cat now, but maybe someday it’ll have some value.
A Talking Cat!?! is about hoarding. It all makes so much more sense now.
God makes a brief cameo, to let us know it’s daytime. That means the Humphrey Bogart movie marathon is over. Thanks for the info, Lord! See you later!
Phil, who is retired because he is such a genius at websites, is up at the buttcrack of God to give himself a pep talk in the mirror. Remember, Phil talked to a talking cat (A Talking Cat!?!) last night. This is the least crazy thing he has done in the past five minutes.
This is the day Phil’s life is going to change! Finally! Because the singular day that he has been retired was a complete nightmare! He pet a cat, ordered a pizza, and watched some movies. Awful! Surprised he hasn’t put a gun to his head yet.
Phil tries to convince himself that he was randomly inspired to take a walk in the woods, with no outside intervention from a talking cat. Phil 2.0 (his words, not mine) is a big fat liar. Way to start your rebirth by lying to yourself. Give me a call when Phil 3.0 is ready for a test run.
Pop quiz, hotshot. Name the Humphrey Bogart movie this quote is from.
You ain’t no good, see? You know, I hate to do this to you but I might have to fill you full of lead, see? A man’s gotta do what a man’s got to do.
If your answer is “none of them,” you are correct! But that doesn’t stop Phil from “quoting” it to Duffy, who is just as embarrassed by Phil’s acting as the audience.
If you’ll recall, horrible terrible mother Susan was talking about the Humphrey Bogart movie marathon in the previous scene. Normally a scriptwriter might put a few scenes in between the talking about something and the doing of something. It makes the audience feel smarter for remembering the thing that was said. The audience’s brains get to make a connection which gives them a little shot of feel-good juice. If you don’t allow for that space, it’s just one long mess that doesn’t end. But what were you expecting from A Talking Cat!?!
Phil is fine letting a strange cat lay on his bed. That’s probably because Phil already has ear mites, so what does he have to lose?
Nobody in this movie seems concerned with finding Duffy’s real owner. Surely one of the FOUR TAGS HANGING AROUND HIS NECK has an address on it. One says Duffy, one looks like a house, one looks like a bell, and one…holy crap. Hold on, you assholes. Check this out.
There’s black tape over Duffy’s bell-shaped tag. This cat is so horrible that they couldn’t even remove his identifier tags for fear he’d run away and get lost. Every time I think I’ve found everything wrong with A Talking Cat!?!, I find something new.
Moving on to the meat of the scene (black tape? really?), Phil asks Duffy for advice. Duffy complies by opening his godless terror chamber of a mouth and telling Phil to take a long walk in the woods. Phil thinks this is a good idea until he decides it’s time to take a stab at getting himself an Academy Award.
To his credit, Phil is the only one who acts appropriately freaked out that a cat is talking to him. Too freaked out? Yes.
Duffy, the talking cat, uses his magical “can only talk once” abilities to repeat that Phil needs to take a walk in the woods. Hearing this joyful noise, Phil leaps out of bed to spread the good news! Actually, he leaps out of bed to frantically yet very very slowly get Chris. This takes about 30 seconds.
Boy oh boy, Chris hates his dad! As Phil tries to explain that Duffy talked to him, Chris rolls his eyes at least three times. Wow, it’s really great to watch two acting heavyweights in the same scene together. I wonder which one of them will take home that Academy Award. It’ll be a tough decision.
And here is the just described scene, with Duffy’s dialogue taken out. Enjoy A Talking Cat!?! Minus A Talking Cat!?!
Continuing down the long and winding road that is A Talking Cat!?!, we cut away from Tina (who is in her room trying super hard to read) to a 20-second scenery shot. Then we cut all the way to the living room where Trent is sitting on the couch with a thousand-yard stare. Fixing a fence really changes a fella.
Horrible mother Susan plops down on the couch next to Trent. A more observant parent might see that their child is contemplating dark and disturbing thoughts. Not Susan! She sits next to her son, beaming at him in the most oblivious way possible, waiting for him to start the conversation.
I mean, look at him! He’s looking at the floor! That’s some fine directing. Floor-looking is a sure sign of depression!
So Trent musters all the energy he can and asks his mom, using his best Eeyore impression, how the cheese puffs are coming. His voice is dripping with sadness. Susan replies that they’re in the oven, using a tone reserved for excited chipmunks in cartoons.
Let it not be said that Susan doesn’t understand how conversations work. She asks Trent how the fence is! Yes. Back and forth. Give and take. This certainly is a normal human interaction.
Finally, Susan realizes that Trent is “a little down” and says as much. Trent deflects her accusation with a mighty “I’m fine.” That’s good enough for Susan. Time to change the topic to movie marathons.
What kind of movie marathon? Humphrey Bogart. “Cellar door” may be the most phonetically beautiful phrase in the world, but Susan saying “Hum-frey Bow-gart” might be the ugliest sound ever made.
Trent escapes the situation by stating he needs to go for a walk. Parents? If your kid tells you they need to go for a walk then there is something seriously wrong with them. If you miss all the other warning signs of depression, at least keep an eye out for this one.
Next up? Phil watches “Hum-frey Bow-gart” and Duffy talks again.
Someone found this site by searching for “1807 latigo canyon rd malibu murder” in Google, which leads me to believe they’re looking to buy the house featured in A Talking Cat!?! Rest easy, home buyers! Only careers have ended in this house, not lives.
A Talking Cat!?! is a lazily made film, but I continue to be surprised at the depths of its laziness. Above is the photo from Tina’s computer (note that they couldn’t decide between a period and an ellipse, so they split the difference). Below that is the stock photo from Comstock Photos. You can still see the stock photo man’s hair behind Phil’s Photoshopped head. So lazy!
Also, his hands are about 20 times larger than his head. And he has a fairly giant head. He could crush bowling balls.
David Attenborough could have saved A Talking Cat!?! If he had played Duffy, the talking cat, instead of Eric Roberts, his awestruck delivery would have made every line important. Especially the lines where Duffy is talking about nature and beeping machines.
But, alas, we are stuck with Eric Roberts. Luckily, horrible Tina is going to say “a talking cat” too! Right now! In this scene!
Tina is a horrible person who is too smart for business college and Trent is a big dummy. Yet smart ol’ Tina accuses big dumb Trent of perpetrating a hoax. She thinks Trent made Duffy talk. So who is the real dummy here? The answer is everyone in this movie. And everyone watching this movie.
Tina delivers the titular line “A Talking Cat!?!” followed by “That’s just stupid. That’s the best you could come up with?” Quick tip, Andrew Helm (writer of A Talking Cat!?!). Don’t write that thing that you just wrote. David Attenborough wouldn’t say “Hummingbirds jewelled messengers? That’s just stupid.” If the audience wasn’t thinking A Talking Cat!?! was stupid before, there are now.
Obviously, they were thinking it was stupid before now.
Anywho, Trent is super confused by Tina’s accusations. He’s trying to mend a fence here. He can’t mend and be yelled at, at the same time. Also, sleeping and dreaming are tough for Trent too. He needs to do them both separately.
Tina storms inside, where mommy Susan accuses her of scaring the cat away by slamming doors. No doors were slammed. Susan is simply a terrible mother and will lie to make her children feel bad. Tina continues to storm all the way to her room.
And now, to further cement the idea that Tina is just as dumb as everyone else, we are treated to the lengthy “reading is hard” scene. The Little Spanish Flea and timecode in the clip below were added by me, of course. A little Spanish flea? That’s just stupid!