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Columbia Is Cats (2019)

Editor in Chief Isabel Sepúlveda had a stunning realization after a clawful (and unfortunately sober) viewing of Cats (2019) and now you have to have it too. She will not be taking questions at this time.

Let me get this out of the way. You should not see Cats (2019). You should not see it if you love the original musical phenomenon (and if that is the case, you should see a good, non-Andrew-Lloyd-Webber penned musical) or if you love to hate it. You shouldn’t see while drunk or high (Bwog does not condone illegal drug use, especially in this case). You shouldn’t see it alone or with a large group of friends. You should not see it on a boat; you should not see it with a goat. You shouldn’t even read this Bwog post. Please, I’m begging you to turn back and save yourself now. You can still escape from this inexplicable cultural phenomenon unscathed.

If you have not heeded my words and are still here, my heart breaks for you but you have been warned. If you too have been cursed already, I see you and I appreciate you.

Now, to the matter at hand. After much deliberation, I’ve realized the world must know: Cats (2019)—both the film itself and the production that went into creating that monstrosity—is Columbia University in the City of New York—both the school itself and the experience of attending classes here. Before you protest, consider the following:

  1. Cats (2019) spent ridiculous amounts of money only to find itself unable to climb out of the hole. The budget for this CGI hellscape was upward of $100 million, of which only $71 million has been recouped since the film’s release. This experience echoes, note for note, the Columbia student who pays $80k a year to get a degree in English. You’re never going to pay off those student loans, sweetie, I’m sorry.
  2. It’s full of celebrities who don’t do much of anything. In Cats, Taylor Swift shows up for exactly one scene, in which she rides a moon, drugs the other Jellicle cats with catnip, and then yeets off into the distance with evil Idris Elba. Timothee Chalamet, Allen Ginsberg, Langston Hughes, Federico Garcia Lorca, Kesha, Alicia Keys and honestly, almost every alum of note left Barnumbia after a couple semesters (or notably, a couple weeks) for brighter pastures. Even Obama isn’t keen to admit he went here (rip Columbia’s dreams of hosting the Obama Presidential Library).
  3. It’s not nearly as horny as advertised. I didn’t expect much from this trainwreck of a film, but after reading review after review touting the eroticism of this otherwise PG film, I was hoping that would redeem what I knew would otherwise be 90 minutes of a plotless trainwreck. Instead, I got occasional nuzzling between the ostensible main character and a magician cat, Rebel Wilson licking her own completely smooth genitals, and some half-hearted hip thrusts from Jason Derulo. (And it was all far more heterosexual than the original musical, which was basically full of sexy, horny dancers in leotards.) Similarly, college is supposed to be a time of sexual exploration and what-not but instead, today’s college students are actually having less sex than their forebears. I make no judgments in this respect because we all should be consensually having the amount of sex we want, whether that’s constant hook-ups or celibacy. It’s the advertising that needs to get with the times.
  4. There’s a bunch of cliques you’ll never really understand. What the fuck is a Jellicle cat? Despite having an entire song dedicated to the concept, I left the theater without a single clue. In the same way, I’ve gone to this school for three years now and I still don’t understand, among other things, what the difference is between Beta and Sig Nu, how many sororities there actually are, or why a campus needs this many acapella groups. Alas, there are some things the human mind simply can’t comprehend.
  5. The entire project was rushed to completion. Tom Hooper was allegedly still working on edits to the film in the hours before it’s New York premiere. It’s the feeling every CU students knows well, having turned in a half-finished term papers or p-set at 11:59:59 pm and then “conveniently” followed up several hours later with the finished, C+ product.
  6. The aesthetic is confused and constantly changing. Sometimes the cats of Cats are small enough to wear a bracelet as a collar, other times they’re basically human-sized. Tom Hooper won’t let a shot linger on them long enough for us to find out. Sometimes, they’re in grimy 1940s London; sometimes it’s stylized with the gaudy neon lights of every 80s movie ever. Columbia’s architecture embraces the brutalist, the Neoclassical, and the modernist to create a hodge-podge of weird as we continue trying to gentrify all of upper Manhattan.
  7. Cats (2019) cannot escape the uncanny valley of awful. Cats touted its new “fur technology” that promised to turn actors you know and love into real-life dancing, singing, and gyrating felines. Columbia touts its ability to turn 18-year-olds into real, functioning members of society that contribute to the collective good. Instead, Cats gave us weird, Barbie-doll-esque monsters (they’re completely smooth…everywhere) and Columbia turns us all into stressed anxious semi-adults planning to go into consulting or finance.
  8. Both Cats and Columbia teach you vital life lessons. There’s a moment in the last few minutes of Cats (2019) in which Dame Judy Dench (playing a gender-bent Old Deuteronomy with a fur coat…made of her own fur) breaks the fourth wall and informs the audience “a cat is not a dog.” (It was at this moment upon viewing that I broke into hysterical laughter.) Columbia teaches students (among other things) how to estimate the number of piano tuners in New York City, that the ancient Greeks were just super horny all the time (more so than the characters in Cats at least), and that self-care is only taking 17.5 credits (or 20 if you’re SEAS).
  9. The biggest moment is about someone crying and talking about how much they remember right now. Jennifer Hudson sob/belting her way through “Memory” is all of us crying in a stairwell during finals season send tweet.
  10. Big cockroaches with human faces. Also rodents with human faces. We’ve all been in the subways, seen the vermin that make their home in the McBain showers and paid homage to the Rat King of Lerner Hall. Luckily, they’ve been spared from Rebel Wilson’s carnivorous maw.

In short, you shouldn’t watch Cats (2019). However, after reading this post you can be comforted by the fact that you have no need to; you’re living it. Tom Hooper, I’m sorry you got rejected from Columbia back in the day (or so I’m forced to assume, given the similarities) but why you chose to subject us to this in retaliation, I’ll never understand.

there’s no good cats (2019) pictures we won’t get sued for using via Bwog Archive

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1 Comment

  • Harold Smithson Jenningst CC ’49 says:

    @Harold Smithson Jenningst CC ’49 My goodness. What a movie! I thoroughly enjoyed the musical a few decades ago, so you can imagine how I Felt when watching the trailer last year. And the movie — the movie! — exceeded my wildest expectations.

    I’m glad to see someone on BWOG (an editor, no less!) shares my views. Here’s to a sequel!

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