Friday, March 20, 2015

Cool Cat Saves the Kids (2014)

This blog was born out of my love for accidentally great films, like Robot Monster, The Room, and Troll II.  As time has passed, my portfolio has diversified, but my heart still beats for z-movies.  Which is why I'm so happy to meet Cool Cat:


Cool Cat lives in California with his human dad (addressed, weirdly, as "Daddy Derek") and cat mom.  California, land of freaks.  Cool Cat is presumably a child, since he is friends with children named Maria and Madison, and since he references his teachers in the dialogue.  Enough backstory.  We open with music that's similar to that of Troll II's party scene and this bodes very well.  Cool Cat answers the phone by barking, "Hello, this is Cool Cat!  Who are you?  And what's your name??!"  This seems to be an crude reaction, but maybe it's foreshadowing since Cool Cat and his friends will soon be getting bullied via phone.  Meet Butch the Bully: 


His dialogue is sometimes hard to decipher, as I think the kid has a speech problem.  Giving the bully a speech impediment, Cool Cat Saves the Kids?  You are so meta.  This is how bullies bully these days: "Maria has pretty hair, so I'll text her it's ugly!  Ha ha ha!"  The "ha ha ha" is a direct quotation, as Butch lacks the cackling skills of most movie villains.  Young Maria receives a text that says, "You're ugly and your hair looks like rat hair!"  I'm no fan of bullies, but that is a pretty sick burn.  Note that the bully is a little chubby.  No problem, lots of actors are, but nearly every scene involves him running in a very agonized way.  It's like this movie about anti-bullying is actually bullying the one kid with a different body type.  META.
 

The bullying sort of escalates and Cool Cat is targeted and again hysterically overreacts ("Dogs are my friends!  Identify yourself!").  Butch finds a can of spraypaint and Cool Cat gasps, "He's about to graffiti our neighbor's wall!"  The movie is insistent on making "graffiti" a verb and we also get a line about "kids graffiti-ing all our sandboxes!"  Don't get too attached to the vandalism and bullying storyline, though, because the movie jumps topics midway through, as Cool Cat is invited to a parade in Hollywood!  And you're in luck, because we get to watch him prepare TWO special songs for the parade!!!  Sample lyric: "Cool Cat wants to play that drums!"


"Is that an Eddie Van Halen guitar?" you ask.  And this movie answers "yes!" with loving close-ups of autographs on the body and hands way too high on the fretboard.  Just to drive the point home, we get dialogue about how it was "autographed by the Van Halen band back in the 1980s!"  Presumably, this movie is aimed at children, but the pop culture references are so dated.  Maybe a kid might know Van Halen, but would any kid be able to parse "Isn't the Smokey and the Bandit car pretty?"  It would just be meaningless gibberish to a millennial.


The parade business drags on and on until we finally welcome the return of bullying to this film.  Some luckless celebrities get drafted into action here, leading to the solid gold line, "That darn Vivica A. Fox and Erik Estrada messed it up!"  Fox advises the kids to yell at bullies like an insane person until they go away.  In the Cool Cat universe, this strategy totally works!  I love these scenes and am using "OH NO! They put lies on the Internet??" for my work stuff.


What had previously been a goofy melodrama gets way more serious as a gun is introduced in the last fifteen minutes of the film!  This part of the movie seems painfully ironic now, as Butch is not immediately shot to death by a policeman, even though he is holding a pistol.  "Cops are our friends!"  Butch does get a great parting line in one of his arrest scenes, "I'm a bully and I'll be back!"


Let's hope so!  Cool Cat manages to avoid the turgid plod that afflicts too many of these films.   There are some slower moments (parade footage, why God why), but generally there's always something new and outrageous just around the corner.  If this doesn't dethrone The Room, it at least outpaces the overpraised Birdemic and execrable Sharknado.  Please visit director/producer/writer/star Derek Savage's webpage for all your Cool Cat, Trolly the Trout, and Bible Birdie merch.

***1/4

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