If finding a good movie to watch was a religion, Rotten Tomatoes would be the bible. But despite getting it right a vast majority of the time, sometimes their reviews are just so, so, painfully wrong.
Case in point: The Cat In The Hat.
The 2003 cinematic masterpiece scored a measly 9% (NINE PERCENT) on Rotten Tomatoes despite being quite possibly the most Oscar-worthy film of all time.
Until recently, I was under the impression that the Mike Myers live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s book was widely regarded as a classic. A cult film, of sorts. But in a late-night internet scroll, I discovered the absolutely abysmal rating and I felt it was my civic duty to share the Good News about the Big Cat.
So sit down, grab a snack and let me remind you why this film deserved a fucking Oscar.
Before we begin, I suggest revisiting this film when you’re not sober. It’s a chaotic mess, and let’s be real, the storyline isn’t exactly deserving of a Pulitzer, but its the best kind of chaotic mess. You’re not going to write a thesis on this film (unless you’re me and you can convince your employer to let you spill the TEA about this classic), but it does satisfy that craving for a feel-good dumb movie.
Within the first few minutes, we’re introduced to Hank Humberfloob (Sean Hayes), who would absolutely be the only person to survive if the coronavirus pandemic hit Anville. Life imitates art, and it appears 2020 is taking some notes from the fucking Cat In The Hat.
Seriously, this is too painfully accurate for my brain to handle. I know we usually talk about The Simpsons predicting the future, but I never thought I’d see the day that Hank Humberfloob would be the inspiration for our day-to-day lives.
But enough about Humberfloob. Let’s get to the actual story here. So we’ve got Sally and Conrad, who are stuck at home with babysitter Mrs Kwan (an icon) on a rainy day while their mum is at work. Conrad, who really doesn’t seem like *that* much of a fucked up kid, is on the verge of being sent to military school by his mum’s boyfriend Lawrence (Alec Baldwin) while Sally is your typical goody-two-shoes played by IRL sweet angel bebe Dakota Fanning.
Enter: The Cat.
They absolutely nailed the casting with this one. At this point we’ve already got Sean Hayes (Will & Grace), Dakota Fanning (forever sweetheart), Alec Baldwin (SNL genius) and now they’re giving us Mike Fucking Myers?! Seriously, how did this film not win an Oscar?
“Why, I’m the Cat in the Hat. There’s no doubt about that. I’m a “super-fun-diferous” feline…who’s here to make sure that you’re… Meeline? Key lime? Turpentine? I got nothin’,” he introduces himself. “Look, I’m a cat that can talk. That should be enough for you people!”
Honestly, the one-liners in this film are just next level. They were hilarious when I was five, they’re hilarious when you’re a fully-grown, definitely not-sober adult. Comedic genius, honestly.
In one scene, we were gifted two truly iconic lines. Mike Myers walked so Shakespeare could run.
“Who is this dreadfully uncomfortable woman?”
“Let me get this straight. You pay this woman… to sit on babies? That’s disgusting! I’d do it for nothing!”
Oh, and let’s not forget one of the most underrated characters of all. The Fish, aka the voice of reason in this otherwise chaotic mess of a film.
After the 0.2 second speech from the film’s voice of reason, we deep-dive back into the completely batshit storyline. The Cat is now wearing a Carmen Miranda costume and busting out into a full-blown song and dance. You know, just your average Tuesday in Anville.
Now we need to talk about the cooking scene. To this day, I always assumed the blonde-haired cat was meant to be our lord and saviour Martha Stewart, but it turns out this scene is actually a parody of Amazing Discoveries, which is far less exciting than Martha Stewart.
This is another one of the truly incredible scenes that really *make* this film.
“I’ll get you, and it’ll look like a bloody accident,” is a fucking iconic line.
Not to mention, I still quote the following line more times than I care to admit.
“You’re not just wrong, you’re stupid. And you’re ugly, just like your mum. Shut up! I mean it! I will end you!”
After the Kupcake-inator blows up, spraying purple, delicious-looking goo all throughout the house, The Cat enlists the help of Thing 1 and Thing 2 (also known as Thing A, Super Thing, Thing King, Kid Dynamite, Chocolate Thun-Da and… Ben) to help clean the now-destroyed house.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what the hell this film is actually about. And don’t worry, I am too. But bear with me, it gets better (and even more batshit).
In addition to introducing the Things, The Cat also brings out the Trans-dimensional Transportolator, which is described as “a doorway which leads from this world to [his] world.”
Conrad is warned not to touch it, he does anyway. All hell breaks loose. I’m not going to go into too much detail because absolutely nobody is reading this story for a legitimate review of the film.
We’re just going to skip ahead to what is quite possibly the single-greatest line in cinematic history.
After Nevins (the dog) escapes, Conrad, Sally and The Cat go on a journey (maybe this is the plot of the movie? Who the fuck knows). They crash the party Sally wasn’t invited to, which is incredibly relatable and also probably illegal, and we’re given the greatest scene in film history.
The Cat (Mike Myers) threatens to kill the dog with a garden hoe. And then it happens.
“Dirty hoe! I’m sorry, baby. I love you.”
Honestly, tattoo that line on my damn body. ICONIQUE.
On their quest to rescue Nevins, they get caught by Lawrence and have to sneak (underage, I might add) into a fucking nightclub/rave in the middle of the day inside a phone booth. You’re kidding yourself if you think the directors weren’t on fucking acid while making this movie.
In a ~very~ 2004 move, Paris Hilton makes a cameo in the club. You know, to keep on brand with the book, of course.
I know what you’re thinking, how could they possibly top the random Paris Hilton scene? Well folks, they somehow managed to make this film even more batshit after this moment.
After racing back to the house to clean it before their mum gets home, they get stopped by Lawrence. He opens the front door to find a seemingly spotless house, much to all of our confusion. But then he falls through a very realistic-looking wallpaper of the house’s interior, plummeting into a whole new world.
If the Paris Hilton scene didn’t already make it happen, this is the moment when I imagine Dr Seuss sheds a tear for the absolute monstrosity they’ve made out of his most famous book.
Obviously, Conrad, Sally and The Cat follow Lawrence into the magical portal to another dimension, where they ride Mrs Kwan like she’s goddamn Splash Mountain.
Honestly, this whole scene looks like an acid-fuelled fever dream. I’m not sure who is higher: the director, or the people (me) who still enjoy this film.
Despite ripping a hole into a new dimension for the purpose of this scene, the story moves pretty quickly and we end up back in the now-destroyed house faster than you can say “what the actual fuck was the director thinking?!”
The Cat busts out a cleaning machine, magically pieces the house back together and Bob’s your uncle, peace has been restored.
Mum comes home to a perfectly clean house, Lawrence is covered in the delicious-looking purple goo. She ultimately chooses her kids over the creepy boyfriend who lives next door (which she probably should’ve done from the start).
In a truly heartwarming ending, they all jump on the couch, seemingly ignoring the fact that a strange man in a cat suit broke in, destroyed the house, abducted the children and used the babysitter as a rollercoaster.
I’ve watched this movie four times for the purpose of writing this story and I have to admit: it STILL fucking slaps.
Sure, it has a terrible storyline (I genuinely have no idea what the plot is actually meant to be). But we get incredible characters, hilarious one-liners that probably shouldn’t be in a kids movie AND it looks like an acid-fuelled fever dream. What more could you possibly want?
The Cat In The Hat is a cinematic masterpiece and quite frankly, that’s a hill I’m willing to die on.
If you’re looking for a movie to warm your heart and make you feel good, this glorious film is available on both Netflix and Stan.