I Had COVID-19.

Back in June, I got the news that my mom had tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). I am an only child, living with both my parents. One of them, my dad, is retired, the other, my mom, works at a daycare. She didn’t get tested because she had symptoms, but because a positive case had been reported at her worksite, leading her to take the appropriate precaution in getting tested. And despite not coming into close contact with this positive tester, wouldn’t you know it, she had the virus. Once I had learned that my mom had tested positive, I called my employer (I work as a cashier at a grocery store) and let them know that I would need to quarantine.

No more than a couple of days later, I started to feel like I was coming down with a cold. Or maybe it was seasonal allergies. But I didn’t want to take any chances, I wanted to go in to get tested in the off chance that I was experiencing early symptoms of the virus. I was able to get tested a couple of days after my onset of symptoms. The nasal swab was as uncomfortable as you’d expect. I didn’t get my results back right away, it took nearly a week for my testing center to get my results back to me. I eventually got the phone call telling me that I had tested positive for COVID-19. So it wasn’t a cold or allergies that I was dealing with. Once I got the news, I was bound and determined to kick the thing’s ass.

Thankfully, my mom was entirely asymptomatic and my dad tested negative. My mom was hospitalized for pneumonia in 2019, so you could imagine my concern when she passed her news along to me. I wasn’t as fortunate, as I dealt with those cold-like symptoms (mainly a sore throat and sneezing fits) at first. I understand a fever is a common symptom of the virus, but I never had one. My cold-like symptoms lasted for roughly 3-4 days. After those seemed to subside, I realized that my sense of smell (but not taste) was completely gone. It wasn’t that feeling of being unable to smell anything because you’re stuffy, I didn’t feel stuffy at all, I just couldn’t smell anything. You could’ve held a package of rotten eggs in front of my nose and I wouldn’t have been able to smell it at all. It was very bizarre. At the same time, I was getting easily fatigued. For example, I would walk up the short flight of stairs in my house and that would leave me tired. It took me a couple of weeks to start feeling more like myself again.

I felt up to going back to work and gave my employer a call, letting them know I was largely symptom-free. However, when I called them, they let me know that I’d need to be out for a full 30 days. Fortunately, during my 30-day period, I was getting paid leave. But still, after those first two weeks, I was itching to get out of the house and be around people again. As fun as getting paid to play Animal Crossing: New Horizons and watch a bunch of movies and Netflix shows in your room sounds, it got old fast. Really, really fast. Sure, the time allowed me to do things like watching the entirety of Avatar: The Last Airbender for the first time, but the cabin fever was getting serious. When they told me I’d have to be off for another two weeks, it was honestly brutal. But, it was smart thinking on their part. I don’t blame them for ensuring their employees are back to health and aren’t at risk of being carriers any longer. The scary thing about the Coronavirus is, anyone could have it. Assuming you haven’t already gone through it like me, you could have it right now and have no idea. Hell, you could’ve already had it and had no clue you did. You could’ve been 100% asymptomatic like my mom. The only way we knew she had it was because she went in for testing after being exposed. She didn’t even come into close contact with this person at her daycare, but being the airborne virus that it is, she wound up getting it.

And that is why it drives me crazy that this pandemic has become so political in the States. It never had to be this bad. There’s no way around it, there were unfortunately going to be statistics before we could get this virus completely under control. But if everyone took this thing seriously and cooperated with CDC guidelines, doing their part to keep themselves, and more importantly, their neighbors safe, we wouldn’t be looking at 315k deaths in the United States. Unfortunately, there are certain people out there that still think this thing is a hoax, that it’s “just the flu”. From October 1st, 2019 to April 4, 2020, the CDC reported an estimated 24,000-62,000 deaths by the flu. Whereas, as of December 21st, 2020, the CDC has reported 315k deaths caused by COVID-19 in the United States since January 21st, 2020. Out of every 100,000 people, 18 people die from influenza (stats coming most recently from 2018). Out of every 100,000 people, 96 people die from the Coronavirus.

Even people that have seemingly won the battle against the virus have had their health impacted. A perfect example would be Eduardo Rodriguez, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. Rodriguez had COVID-19 in June and after a series of negative tests, he was cleared to participate in training camp. At training camp, he had to cut bullpen sessions short because he was experiencing fatigue. He wound up getting looked at, and was subsequently diagnosed with myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), which not only put him out of competition for the year, but also out of physical exertion for three months. In late September, he was finally given the green light by doctors to begin walking again. The Red Sox are optimistic that Rodriguez will be able to attend Spring Training in 2021 and pitch for them next season. I also have a co-worker, who had no prior heart problems before contracting COVID-19, have to be on a heart monitor when they first returned to work because they were experiencing rapid heart rates. Even I myself have noticed myself having to sometimes catch my breath after bending down to scan items on the bottom of a customer’s grocery cart, something that I had never had a problem with. It goes to show you that, just when you think you’re out of the water, the virus can leave one last parting gift for you before going to its next victim.

Hope is on the horizon. For starters, we’re almost out of 2020. 2021 is almost here, as we can finally say goodbye to the nightmare that has been 2020. But more importantly, a vaccine has been made and has been cleared for use by regulators. As we speak, it is making its initial rounds, as healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities are being offered the vaccine first. I have seen some people express concern about how safe the vaccine is and the side effects that may come along with it, with it being “rushed out” and not going through years of trials before getting approved for release. I think some of that speedy development comes from the extraordinary amount of funding that went into research for the vaccine, which greatly sped up its timeline. Sure, there isn’t a way of truly knowing its long-term effects on someone yet, but it’s clear that this pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon, no thanks to the selfishness and sheer ineptitude of some to follow simple guidelines. With that in mind, I’d gladly take my chances, if that means returning to normal sooner than waiting for the vaccine to go through a traditional development.

I want to end this lengthy post thanking healthcare workers, who are putting their lives on the line, working around the clock to treat people with this virus. I can’t imagine how exhausted they must be. Every single one of them deserves a long vacation when this is all over. I’ve always had the utmost appreciation for medical professionals, but this pandemic has made me appreciate them more than ever before. They truly are heroes. I also want to thank everyone else working on the front lines. Whether that’d be first responders, delivery drivers or grocery store clerks such as myself (I can’t tell you how many times my customers have personally thanked me for working), the selflessness of today’s essential workers cannot be understated. Though this pandemic has brought out the worst in some, it has also brought out the best in others. I hope the majority of us can come out of this as better people. I know I will.

Stay safe and have a wonderful holiday season.

Q&A with John Mathews, writer of “She’s Out There”

Now that my debut short story She’s Out There has been out for over a week now, I decided to answer some questions I received from readers! If you haven’t read it yet, know that a spoiler is referenced in response to a question down below, so I recommend giving it a read before proceeding! You can read it for yourself right here. With that out of the way, let’s answer some questions!

What inspired you to write She’s Out There?

I came up with the idea of writing this story a couple of months after going through a breakup. It had been the first relationship I’d been in. Prior to that, I had been striking out on inquiring in person and wasn’t having any luck on dating sites. I decided to write a story to express the doubts I was starting to feel, but I wanted to present it through the eyes of a fictional character. I hoped writing this story candidly would be a cathartic experience for me, and I wanted to share it with the world in hopes that it’d maybe resonate with some people also feeling lost.

What has been your experience with online dating apps?

That aforementioned relationship I was in was blossomed through matching on OkCupid. I’ve also tried POF, Tinder, Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel. I’ve had matches on some of these services, but they’d usually result in the match unmatching me after I introduce myself, or we’d actually get talking, but the match would suddenly go AWOL on me.

What are your past experiences with short stories? Were there any short stories that inspired you?

To be honest, I’m not a real big reader. Most of what I have read are novels and not short stories. But I felt like She’s Out There was something that would flow much better as a concise short story than a stretched 40,000+ word novel, so that’s why I made the decision to make it a short story.

Did any films inspire She’s Out There?

While the real inspiration for the story came from my heart and personal experience, (500) Days of Summer was a film that I definitely drew some inspiration from. The final scene of that film where Tom meets Autumn was something that inspired She’s Out There‘s epilogue, where Kyle meets Emma through random circumstance.

Is She’s Out There the full story, or the first part of something you’re planning?

This is likely the full story. I could see where one could think I was setting up a sequel with the epilogue, but I instead wanted to leave the story letting the reader choose how it ends. Was Emma just a really friendly stranger doing her good deed for the day? Or was this the start of something between the two of them? I wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility of Kyle’s story continuing down the line, but I felt wrapping up She’s Out There the way I did, appropriate.

“She’s Out There” – A Short Story by John Mathews

Writing is something that I’ve always enjoyed doing. When I was little, I used to handwrite fictional sports stories. That was before I was on social media. I’d share my creation exclusively with my family, who’d always compliment me on how good of a writer I was. As I grew up, I stopped writing my own stories, and instead shifted my writing talents towards another passion of mine; movies. I started out writing comic book movie news for ComicBookMovie.com and wrote movie reviews for (the new defunct) Not Yet Rated. These days, I’ll make the occasional contribution to WOBAM! Entertainment, where I currently serve as an editor.

Back in January, I didn’t just create this site you are currently reading this text on to be a place where I could write about whatever I felt like writing about at a given time, but to also be the home to short stories I’d write. That’s right, my childhood hobby resurfaced as I hit my mid-20’s. But this time, I’m sharing those stories with the world.

I am excited to share with you all my first short story. It is titled “She’s Out There”. It’s a story about Kyle, a 24 year-old who is starting to have doubts about finding “the one”. This is a rather personal story for me and I found the experience writing it to be cathartic. Though Kyle is a fictional character, a lot of my struggles and personal feelings in regards to relationships are expressed through his voice. It’s a story that I hope will resonate with people that are going through, or have gone through, those similar doubts.

If you’d like to read it, I attached a link to the Google Document where you can read it for free! If you do read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Tweet them to me at @johnmath95! I’ll be updating this post with testimonials as I get them. Here’s a few so far:

Lastly, you can read She’s Out There HERE!

Who I’d Like to See in a MLB-Themed SPACE JAM Movie

When you think cult classics from the 90’s, Space Jam may come to mind. The 1996 family-targeted comedy sported a truly crazy concept. What if you took the best basketball player on the planet and had him star in a basketball movie alongside Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes? Though it’s no Citizen Kane, it remains beloved by many for its nostalgia and high entertainment value.

Next summer, we’ll be getting Space Jam: A New Legacy, a sequel starring LeBron James. He’ll be joined by some of the biggest names in the game today like Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis and Damian Lilliard, similarly to how Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley appeared in the original film.

Baseball is one of my favorite sports to watch. There are so many young stars and colorful personalities in the game today. Keeping that in mind, I figured it’d be fun to cast a Space Jam movie that would find the Tune Squad trading their basketball sneakers for baseball cleats. What MLB superstar would I have be the star of the film, and who would I like to see cast as the supporting players? I decided to pick a few real-life position players and figured Looney Tunes characters can round out the rest of the roster.

Who am I kidding, the star of the film has to beMike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels. Ask most baseball fans (including myself) who the best player in baseball is, and “Mike Trout” would be the answer. There’s a legitimate chance that he could go down as the greatest player that has ever played the game. Some have criticized Trout for not having a marketable-enough personality, but if you want this movie’s MJ or Lebron, look no further than Trout.

Next up, I’d like to see my favorite player Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers. I picked him not only because he’s my favorite player in the Bigs, but because he is one of the best hitters in the league. Should “Yeli” be interested in making an appearance but end up being unable to for whatever reason, they can always cast Pete Davidson to play him. I mean, who would tell the difference?

I don’t trust any of the Looney Tunes characters to patrol the outfield, so rounding out the outfield of Major Leaguers would be Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees. I debated between Judge and Mookie Betts, but ultimately chose Judge because his size (6’7″, 282) might help keep the Monstars away from Tweety Bird. And what is this movie without a player from the Yankees?

Next up, I’ll go with Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs. Though I’m a Brewers fan and the Cubs are our biggest rival right now, I can’t argue that Javy is one of the most exciting players to watch in baseball. He rakes at the plate and is electrifying in the field. Hell, he’s even a human highlight reel on the basepaths.

Javy will have to play to second or third base to make room for Francisco Lindor, shortstop of the Cleveland Indians. Nicknamed “Mr. Smile” for the enthusiasm he displays every day he’s at the ballpark, Lindor is someone I could very much see gelling well with the Tune Squad. And he’s the best shortstop in the game, no big deal.

Rounding out the cast would be Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers. He’s one of those “all or nothing” hitters, but when he connects, look out. The Tune Squad would already have no shortage of power in the lineup, but the team needs a bonafide slugger. Someone that could hit the ball to the moon. Joey fits that bill.

As for pitchers, Bugs Bunny has “ace” written all over him, but should he need a little help from a couple of big leaguers, I would go with Marcus Stroman or Blake Snell. Both of them are good social media presences, and in turn, I believe that would make them good screen presences as well.

What MLB players would you like to see in Space Jam: Baseball Edition?

CONTAGION is One of the Scariest Movies Ever Made.

Sometimes the scariest movies are the ones that feel the most real. That is the case with the 2011 film from Steven Soderbergh, Contagion. As we speak, the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) disease is making its way into more and more populations, infecting thousands of individuals. Even at the time of its release, Soderbergh’s medical thriller was unnerving in its realistic portrayal of how quickly a virus can become an epidemic that can turn healthy individuals into statistics. With the Coronavirus in full swing, suspending just about all professional sports leagues imaginable, as well as delaying the release of just about every film being released theatrically in the next month, Contagion feels less like a fictional thriller and more like a documentary right now.

We start off with a black screen and the sound of someone coughing. We learn this cough belongs to Gwyneth Paltrow’s character Beth Ehmoff, who is on a business trip to Hong Kong. Once she returns home to her husband Mitch (Matt Damon) in Minneapolis, she has a frightening seizure in their kitchen (which is witnessed by her young boy – yikes) and within days, she’s pronounced dead of an unknown cause. An autopsy is performed on her brain, revealing something disturbing that we don’t see (ratcheting up the dread even more) that leads one of the doctors to tell his partner to step away from the table and call everyone.

This brings the DHS and CDC into the picture. We meet CDC director Dr. Ellis Cheever played by Laurence Fishburne, who dispatches Epidemic Intelligence Officer Dr. Erin Mears (Kate Winslet) to Minneapolis to investigate. She traces the outbreak back to Beth and while investigating, she comes across the man who had picked Beth up from the airport. He starts experiencing similar symptoms to Beth and she comes racing to his aid. Shortly thereafter, Mears becomes infected herself and eventually succumbs to the virus. This is the movie reminding the audience that nobody is safe. Medical experts may know the most out of everyone in the room about the key to wellness, but they aren’t out of the woods.

As the film goes on, we see the widespread panic begin to escalate. Conspiracy theorist Alan Krumwiede (Jude Law) uses his blog to claim that he has cured himself from the virus through a homeopathic cure derived from forsythia. As a result, pharmacies become raided by the panicked many that are seeking forsythia. In a key scene, Cheever chastises Krumwiede on live television for creating fear through means of rumors, basically stating the fake news he is spreading is far more dangerous than the disease itself. And might I remind you that this movie came out back in 2011?

Though we eventually arrive at the cure in the movie, it isn’t the (somewhat) optimistic ending that imprinted itself on my mental state once the film concluded. It was the the film’s sheer authenticity in its depiction of a frighteningly similar epidemic that is currently in the air. It was the unshakably chilling final scene that pulls back the curtain, revealing the virus’ source and through montage, how it found its way to its patient zero, Beth. How man’s carelessness, even those like her immune husband, who heedlessly rests his hand over his mouth while watching television, is scarier than anything.

Please See BIRDS OF PREY.

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn was one of the lone bright spots of Suicide Squad, a movie with so much potential, but sadly ended up being a dumpster fire, despite making bank at the box office. Seeing how Robbie was practically born to play Harley, DC and Warner Bros opted to bring the character back (other Suicide Squad members weren’t as fortunate) by giving her her own starring film. That starring film would be the long-winded title Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), which would double as both a Harley Quinn movie, as well as a vehicle to bring DC’s team of female antiheroes, the Birds of Prey, together on the big screen for the first time.

In Birds of Prey (we’ll just refer to it as that from here), Harley Quinn is dealing with her puddin’ “Mr. J” (Jared Leto’s Joker from Suicide Squad) dumping her. Her means of recovery is adopting a hyena which she names after Bruce Wayne, taking up roller derby and blowing up Ace Chemicals, the locale where she pledged herself to Joker by ditching her Harleen Quinzel persona and becoming Harley Quinn. This draws the attention of detective Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez), who is on the hunt for someone that is murdering mobsters via a crossbow. Meanwhile in Gotham City, crime lord Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor) sends his chauffeur Dinah Lance, who calls herself Black Canary (Jurnee Smollet-Bell) and deranged henchman Victor Zsasz (Chris Messina) after a young girl named Cassandra Cain, who has stolen a diamond from him. In other words, it’s a normal day in Gotham.

It gives me great delight (and relief) to say that Birds of Prey, unlike Suicide Squad, is not a disappointment. Directed by Cathy Yan (Dirty Pigs), Birds of Prey is first and foremost a Harley Quinn movie. The entire movie is told from her point-of-view. Harley catches the audience up on what has happened since we last saw her and walks us through the wild goose chase she eventually becomes involved in.

It isn’t until the final act when Birds of Prey really becomes, well, a Birds of Prey movie though. At this point of the film, Harley finds herself in a predicament and must become unlikely allies with Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary and Renee Montoya in order to take down their common enemy, Roman. If you were looking forward to a Birds of Prey movie, you may be disappointed that they get together so late into the film. Now, when they do get together, it’s great. There’s an action scene in an abandoned amusement park where they take on Roman and his goons that is a terrific action set piece. It’s what you wanted to see, but again, it admittedly takes a while to get to that moment (despite the movie only being 109 minutes, which is relatively “short” for comic book movie standards).

I still found the movie to be perfectly enjoyable prior to their team-up though and that of course, is thanks to Robbie, who unsurprisingly disappears into this role once again. She commands the screen by transforming into Harley Quinn. I honestly completely forgot the actress is originally from Australia, she speaks in Harley’s iconic Northeastern accent so effortlessly. Whether it’d be the comics or Batman: The Animated Series, Harley has always been an unpredictable character. And that’s part of her appeal. She’s the kind of character that’ll raid the GCPD with a grenade launcher full of smoke bombs and confetti in tow, as evidenced in probably my favorite action scene in the movie.

Speaking of the movie’s action, it comes as no surprise to learn that the John Wick team lended a hand to the film’s action sequences. The action is unflinchingly brutal and the stunt work is top-notch. You could make a legitimate case that this movie has the best action of any film in the DCEU. You could also make the case Birds of Prey is the funniest film in the DCEU. Each time one of Harley’s foes appears, they are introduced with colorful title cards that list off that foe’s grievances with her. All I’ll say is, I didn’t expect this movie to reference Bernie Sanders. It’s things like these title cards, the candy-colored color palette of the film and the soundtrack that’s basically needle drop porn that really give this movie strong personality.

I’ve never seen Ewan McGregor play a character like this before. His Roman (later to become Black Mask) is eccentric. And scary. One moment, he’ll make you chuckle by taking offense to a snot bubble, but with the snap of a finger, he’ll menacingly order someone to strip. McGregor chews up all the scenery here and is clearly having a blast getting to do something different. I also really liked Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Huntress, who is a straight-up badass. Just don’t call her weapon a bow and arrow, she takes offense to that. I feel a lot of people will come out of this movie clamoring for a Huntress solo movie. For as cool as the character is, she probably gets the least screen time of any of the Birds of Prey. We get a brief glimpse of her interesting backstory, but that’s exactly it; it’s brief. Black Canary is also a potential fan favorite, while Renee Montoya was probably the weakest link. Not to say the character was bad, but she wasn’t as interesting as the others.

I am a bit discouraged by the film’s disappointing opening weekend at the box office. I’m hopeful that word-of-mouth will be good and it’ll wind up having strong legs and be just fine. I feel part of that has to do with people being turned away by it with its Suicide Squad connections, and possibly to some (lesser) degree, the fact that it’s rated R supposed to PG-13. But trust me when I say this movie isn’t the failure that Suicide Squad was. It’s in fact, quite good. It’s enjoyable from start to finish and much like the DCEU’s more-recent efforts, has its own voice. If you’re looking for a breakup movie this Valentine’s Day, go see this. It’s directed by a woman, featuring a diverse female cast who kick ass. It deserves your money. Please, go see Birds of Prey.

My 5 Most Anticipated Games of 2020

2020 is shaping up to be a blockbuster year for video games. This year brings us long-anticipated sequels to beloved properties, new IPs from some of gaming’s highest-regarded developers, and not to mention, the strong livelihood of the Playstation 5 dropping this holiday season! I decided to compile a list down below of 5 of my most anticipated games slated to drop this year!

HONORABLE MENTIONS: LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, Sports Story (from the Golf Story team)

#5: Marvel’s Avengers

I don’t think this one needs much explanation. This will be the first true Avengers console game (I’m not counting LEGO Marvel’s Avengers here) since the birth of the MCU. While I’m admittedly disappointed the game won’t be open-world, I’m nonetheless stoked to be in Avenger in Crystal Dynamics’ first non-Tomb Raider project since 2005.

#4: DOOM Eternal

I know, I know, Bethesda is no longer as reputable as they once were, but I mean, come on. We’re getting a new DOOM game, guys. Remember how badass the series’ 2016 reboot was? Everything I’ve seen from its sequel Eternal has me extremely excited for what looks to be an equally-intense demon-slaying experience.

#3: Cyberpunk 2077

CD Projekt Red looks to be one-upping themselves in the content department following the massive The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. One of its producers David Borzymowski has said while Cyberpunk‘s open-world map might be slightly smaller than Wild Hunt‘s, it’ll be “far denser”. Cyberpunk 2077 looks to be the closest thing we’ve gotten (and may ever get) to a Blade Runner game – and Keanu freakin’ Reeves stars. How could I possibly not be pumped for its release in September?

#2: The Last of Us Part II

I’ve yet to find a game that has engrossed me in its story and its characters to the degree that the first The Last of Us did. I’m not exaggerating when I say I think it may be the greatest game I’ve ever played. Part II will be taking place five years following the events of the first game. I’m anxiously waiting to learn how Joel and Ellie have been surviving in the post-apocalyptic United States since we last saw them, though I dread the prospect of at least one of them not making it come game’s end.

#1: Animal Crossing: New Horizons

What could I possibly be anticipating more than the sequel to The Last of Us, you ask? Well, that’d be a new Animal Crossing title. The last full-fledged game in this series we got was New Leaf for the 3Ds in 2013 and speaking for myself, the wait to inhabit a new island and make new acquaintances with its friendly anthropomorphic animals has been painful. New Horizons‘ updated art design is absolutely beautiful and I’m very confident Nintendo will deliver villagers another charming experience that won’t collect much dust.

I Saw CATS in the Theater.

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Why on God’s green earth would you see Cats in the theater, John? That’s a question that I’m even asking myself. Based on the popular stage musical of the same name, Cats is about a tribe of, you guessed it, cats called the “Jellicles” (a word you’ll hear in the film a triple digit number of times), who must decide each year which one of them will ascend to the “Heaviside Layer” (basically heaven) and return purified. Did I mention the felines are humans crawling around in furry suits? Because yeah, this isn’t a cartoon. And for the sake of not having nightmares tonight, I wish it was one.

Now, unless you’ve been living cat-napping under a rock for the past 3 weeks, you’ll know this film has been getting absolutely lambasted by critics. And after having spent 110 minutes of pure horror for the eyeballs and listening to monotonous musical number after monotonous musical number, I can say that this is probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen in the theater. I never in a million years would’ve paid money to see it (or to even rent it for $2 from Redbox), but thanks to my local theater chain’s subscription service, I got to see it for free. When I had my barcode scanned, I joked to the guy at the box office, “It’s a free movie, don’t judge me”, and he laughed. Even though my wallet didn’t lose any weight, I wanted a couple valuable hours of my life refunded. 

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You see, Cats was a very easy movie to hate-watch. The problem is, while some movies are salvageable in a “so-bad-that-it’s-good” sense (i.e. The Fanatic), Cats is just depressing. You have talented actors like Idris Elba, Judi Dench and Ian McKellen, as well as talented singers like Jennifer Hudson (who’ll undoubtedly redeem herself later this year with Respect), Jason Derulo and Taylor Swift pretending to be cats. They move around like cats, hiss like cats, and make cat puns (i.e. “Cat got your tongue?”, “Oh no, look what the cat dragged in!”). I could see a situation where if you were intoxicated, this would seem like the greatest motion picture ever created, but being sober as I was, this was just painful. Within the opening scene, I wanted to leave. This is a movie where I honestly don’t know if I could look at those involved the same way again. I feel embarrassed for everyone that agreed to be a part of this cat-astrophe. 

That brings us to director Tom Hooper. Yeah, the guy who directed the Best Picture-winning The King’s Speech and the fabulous Les Miserables adaptation. I believe he’s a talented director (despite his prior effort The Danish Girl being hot garbage), but this one wasn’t it. This movie will always be on his filmography and that’ll be impossible to shake. I guess you could say the set design and choreography are good enough, but how am I supposed to appreciate those aspects when you have a musical number featuring tiny cockroach people? Then there’s Rebel Wilson, who, for the umpteenth time, is playing herself. Her shtick hasn’t been funny since Pitch Perfect. Perhaps the one time I wasn’t in complete pain was when Idris Elba’s Macavity, the film’s villain (in the barest of plots you’ll find), was on screen. That only being because he was the one character who didn’t break into song whenever the movie called upon them to make an appearance. And he actually wore clothes. But towards the end of the film, Macavity has a number where he’s stripped of all clothing, so there went that. I’m gonna wrap up this review now, as I feel the urge to go to church after spending a couple hours in hell.