THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY

Meow. It’s been a long time.

1625454_10201731630993298_125276479_nHowever, I feel that when there is snow outside, it is absolutely imperative that I do NOTHING. I have to preserve my precious body heat. I’m a cat, not a snow leopard!

Speaking of snow leopards.

While in the great state of Idaho with my humans, we visited the zoo. It sounds like a great plan until you realize that January in Idaho means SNOW. And COLD. Most animals in zoos don’t like that.

Except the snow leopards.

Two baby snow leopards and their dad snow leopard were out in FULL FORCE. The baby snow leopards were running, playing, punching, chewing, and thoroughly irritating their dad snow leopard. It was glorious. I told my humans that I thought I might be part snow leopard and that they should permit me to join this herd. They told me that I was the size of these snow leopard’s paws. I stood down.

BABY SNOW LEOPARD

BABY SNOW LEOPARD

Speaking of snow leopards, my humans and I just saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Why is this related? Well, to not give too much away, there is a scene that has a snow leopard.

I must admit that the trailers for Walter Mitty got me all aflutter. I love cool music when it plays alongside hyper-realistic and creative running and jumping. Yet a whole movie can’t just be that, and this one isn’t, which is almost too bad.

the-secret-life-of-walter-mitty-poster1

The basic plot is this: Walter Mitty (Ben Stiller) is the photo editor for TIME magazine. As a kid, he dreamed of traveling the world, but instead has worked a bunch of boring jobs and lived a super boring life. At the start of the movie, new management, led by Ted (Adam Scott), takes over TIME and announces that it will publish its final issue before transitioning to an only-online version. The cover of that final issue will be a photograph by famous photographer Sean O’Connell (Sean Penn). Unfortunately, in the roll of negatives O’Connell sent to Walter, that photo’s negative is missing. This begins Walter’s epic journey of self-discovery and world travel, where he learns that life is crazier than daydreams!

Oh, there’s also a love story with Kristen Wiig, but it’s not that important.

The good: the music is great, there are some gorgeous vistas of Iceland, Greenland, and the Himalayas, and there are a lot of sweet moments. Unfortunately, on the whole, Walter Mitty fails to coalesce into the sweet, magical movie it wants to be. It’s neither as funny nor as romantic as it thinks it wants to be. This is disappointing. Ben Stiller is a consummate actor, though, and he’s so easy to watch and love that, on the whole, Walter Mitty is a really enjoyable way to spend two hours.

THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTYThe snow leopard is the sole cat in the film, but considering my current snow leopard obsession (I WILL JOIN MY PEOPLE), it was a highlight. Below is the PawPrint Plot. I gave it a generous score of 20 points. Not great, but SNOW LEOPARD.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 12.53.08 PMStay warm out there, fellow snow leopards!

xoxo
Franny

1535006_10201668261089090_67874563_n

Happy National Cat Day! (and THE SECRET LIFE OF CATS)

In honor of National Cat Day, I’ve gone back to the core of my interests—myself. Also other cats.

This evening, after a delectable dinner of chicken bits in gravy and some running around pointlessly, I settled in to watch the National Geographic documentary from 2008, The Secret Life of Cats.

The film begins with an examination of cats’ nature and history of domestication, which features some of the most incredible cat re-enactments I’ve ever seen. I have to share some screen grabs.Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 5.58.14 PM

 Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 5.58.47 PM

Nothing too new to report from this section of the film—we are told that cats generally have the upper hand in every situation. We are “a marvel of engineering.” Tell me something I DON’T know.

However, after the playful opening, The Secret Life of Cats took a turn for the worse.

After learning about an abandoned cat community in Florida, we are treated to an incredibly disturbing scene of these cats being captured, anesthetized, tested for feline AIDS and leukemia, and spayed or neutered (I, for one, don’t remember being spayed, and I don’t care to). I had to look away more than once.

We then turn an eye on the problem of outdoor cats hunting where they shouldn’t. Some very sad small children show the camera injured baby bunnies: “The cat bit it here, on its foot.” An ornithologist shows us the tattered carcass of a bird: “We have about a 50% survival rate in wildlife here, mostly due to cats.”

They stalked cats for MONTHS using nightcams. Blair Witch Project, anyone?!

They stalked cats for MONTHS using nightcams. Blair Witch Project, anyone?!

Um, excuse me, but weren’t we just talking about how we’re still wild and supposed to be hunting? Am I crazy?

Then, we travel down under to New Zealand, where cats are not a native species.

This is not a cat in New Zealand, but it is a cat in Antarctica with penguins, which is even weirder.

This is not a cat in New Zealand, but it is a cat in Antarctica with penguins, which is even weirder.

Naturally, though, since we are the most popular animal anywhere, cats were brought to New Zealand, where they proceeded to disrupt the life cycle. Sigh. Haven’t you “naturalists” in your little hats ever heard of Darwin? Survival of the fittest? I’m rolling my eyes, and THEN:

Apparently they are now EATING CATS in New Zealand? And that’s not all: Nat Geo also thought it okay to show a cat being killed, having its stomach cut open and the contents investigated, and then eaten. WHAT IS THIS, A HORROR MOVIE?! WHAT IS THIS FILM RATED?!

THIS MAN HAS A DEAD CAT PELT ON HIS HEAD

THIS MAN HAS A DEAD CAT PELT ON HIS HEAD

Thank god for some sanity. (that is a live cat)

Thank god for some sanity. (that is a live cat)

Frankly, that was about all I could take. I hung in there for the remainder, where Nat Geo finally decided to tell us what we “should” do. The best solutions to the cat hunting problem was demonstrated by two cats named “Tootle Loo” and “Diddles” respectively (I’m not joking, though I wish I were). Tootle has a curfew. No nightime hunting, little Tootle! Diddles has an outdoor cage where he can watch the birds at their feeders. Oh sweet Diddles, you will never know the wonders you are missing behind those metal bars.

I can’t in good conscience recommend this film to other cat lovers with less steely stomachs than I, but as far as my Pawprint Plot, The Secret Life of Cats managed a top score:    80 POINTS!IMG_0209

May you all celebrate your holiday with far less graphic depictions of cat-kind. I plan to curl into the shape of a cinnamon roll and sleep the whole thing off.

Regards,
Franny

Pawprint Plot secret life

BIG FISH on Broadway!

news_bigfish

It’s rare that I make it out to the theatre—snuggling up at home with my human pillows and food anytime I can summon the strength to get to the kitchen is pretty cushy. However, tonight I had tickets to see a new Broadway musical, BIG FISH.

The name alone is enough to seduce a pesco-phile like myself, but the appearance of two cats made the production certainly something to write home about.

iwoW73N8wSV8BIG FISH is the stage adaptation of a film adaptation of a novel by Daniel Wallace. It concerns a man named Edward Bloom (Norbert Leo Butz) and his son, Will (Bobby Steggert). Edward’s life is ending just as Will’s is taking shape; he has just married, and his fiancee (Krystal Joy Brown) is pregnant with a son. Edward and Will have always had a fraught relationship. Edward is a storyteller of massive proportions, weaving unbelieveable tales of giants and mermaids and circuses and true love in daffodil fields. Will, on the other hand, was a practical child who became a practical adult. Over the course of the musical, we are treated to the biggest and brightest of Edward’s tales, while Will tries to parse where exactly his father’s real story fits into all of it.

This production is different from the film in many ways both in plot and tone. First, we’re missing the magical mystery town that appears in the film, which disappointed me. However, I’ve also never read the novel—this might be closer to Wallace’s original. As far as tonal shifts, humor is used to great effect, particularly in the first act. It’s intelligent, self-referential, purposefully silly humor, and it fits just in line with the excess and earnestness of the magical worlds in Edward’s stories. Everything’s just a bit unreal.

There are issues—certain songs, particularly for Sandra, Edward’s wifdt.common.streams.StreamServer.cls_e (Kate Baldwin) and Will, need shaving or cutting altogether, the book is notably stronger than the majority of the score, and the gravitas in the second act isn’t quite warranted based on the thin first act—but it’s a delight on the whole. Butz is an impressive and engaging performer, and the show is very much his. Also, the finale of the musical, as with the film, is so powerful and poignant and tender that even my green cat eyes teared up a bit.

NOW. To the cats. There are two. One appears in the arms of a slender, super-Susan Stroman sweetie in a blonde wig. She magnanimously fears for her cat’s safety against the dangerous giant lurking in the town’s cave. The next cat (the same cat? I was in the mezzanine and couldn’t tell!) flies past with a meow in a tornado scene. Finally, there is a remarkable stomach roar from one of my favorite actors, Brad Oscar, playing Amos, the carnival director. For a stage play, that’s a fair amount of cat-action.

IMG_2736

I dress up for the theatre, bitches.

All together, BIG FISH had all the elements of a great night of theatre, and the cats were just the icing on the cake.

The total score? 50!! Not bad for the theatre.

 

with my usual affect-less affection,

Franny the Cat

Pawprint Plot big fish