(Spoilers for Cats)
I take issue with the Jellicle Choice.
Old Deuteronomy made a mistake.
Let me back up:
Once a year, the Jellicle Cats compete at the Jellicle Ball for a chance at a new life.
Per Munkustrap (Robbie Fairchild), Jellicle elder Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench) picks the most deserving Jellicle based on their special talent…or something.
The winner gets to float off in a hot air balloon to…Heaven? (Excuse me, the Heaviside Lair, which is a real thing.)
In the film adaptation, nine hopefuls compete for reincarnation privileges, only to be kidnapped by the wicked Macavity (Idris Elba).
Then Grizabella (as played by Jennifer Hudson) shows up and smokes the competition.
I know it’s supposed to be meaningful and thematic and whatnot, but…
…Grizabella’s victory is only made possible by Victoria (Francesca Hayward) browbeating Grizabella into performing!
Then, during the competition, she shills Grizabella until Old Deuteronomy has no other option!
First of all, Victoria, you CHEATER – this is not a popularity contest!
Secondly, VICTORIA – did you have to steal Grizabella’s spotlight TWICE?
That’s right: Victoria interrupts Grizabella’s signature song to sing a number about ghosts, undercutting the power of “Memory” and making for an unsatisfactory finale.
I want the correct Jellicle to be chosen for the Heaviside Lair…
…so I’m going to rate every Jellicle performer myself!
Step down, Old Deuteronomy! Let me handle this!
Jennyanydots the Old Gumbie Cat (Rebel Wilson)
I screamed in horror several times during Jenny’s number, most notably when she unzipped her OWN SKIN to reveal a sparkly purple bikini.
Jenny can’t sing or dance, eats human-faced cockroaches, and tortures absurdly-small humanoid mice.
No Heaviside Lair for YOU!
Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer (Danny Collins and Naoimh Morgan)
My grudge against these cats is eternal.
First off: they have the WORST song. When played against the original, it’s unrecognizable.
(Also, Victoria is heavily featured in their song and I’ve already established how little I like her.)
Second: Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer LEAVE VICTORIA TO DIE after inducting her into their life of crime.
(I might not like Victoria, but I don’t want her to die violently.)
Third: during this dance number, Mungojerrie, Rumpleteazer, and Victoria get in bed together and give each other suggestive looks.
(I did NOT appreciate this.)
Fourth: both Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer are associates of Macavity.
How come Grizabella was cast out for her association with Macavity while these assholes get a whole UNINTERRUPTED song-and-dance number??
GO BACK TO HELL FROM WHENCE YOU CAME.
Bustopher Jones (James Corden)
Bustopher has several strikes against him.
His entire number is one big fat joke.
BWAHAHA! He’s too fat to launch into a vat of garbage! (So am I. So are a lot of people. What’s the joke?)
It’s 2020. Can we stop with the fat jokes?
Also, Bustopher is the reason Macavity makes his “Puss in Spats” joke MULTIPLE TIMES.
I never want to hear the words “Puss in Spats” again.
Bustopher Jones is hereby locked out of heaven.
Macavity the Mystery Cat (Idris Elba)
I love Macavity, okay? Team Macavity.
And yet…he doesn’t actually perform.
Instead, Macavity has Bombalurina (Taylor Swift) drug the Jellicles and perform for him.
(It’s too bad Bombalurina wasn’t trying to win herself. She KILLS it.)
I know Macavity’s plan was to kidnap all the other competition so as to win by default, but I’m SO OFFENDED that Macavity farmed out his performance duties, then trotted up to Old Deuteronomy expecting an award?
NO, dude! Earn it!
Points for creativity, but not enough for a ticket to Heaven.
The Rum Tum Tugger (Jason Derulo)
Props to Hairspray’s “Run and Tell That” for running so this scene could jog.
(Oh, Elijah Kelley. Where did you go?)
I like that Rum Tum Tugger seemingly runs his own milk bar. And screams, “MIIIIIILK!” And can actually dance.
Unfortunately, Rum Tum Tugger’s contrarianism makes him my natural enemy.
Whenever someone suggests something to Tugger, he decides he wants the opposite.
WHAT DO YOU WANT, RUM TUM TUGGER?
Do you want Heaven?
Well, I’m not going to give it you.
SEE!? I CAN BE CONTRARIAN, TOO!
Grizabella the Glamour Cat (Jennifer Hudson)
….fine, Grizabella’s performance makes my stomach swoop and my hair stand on end.
When she hits that high note, my heart throbs.
I feel what she feels.
I just wish she’d been given the floor and performed her number in one go.
That would have been so much more meaningful.
I blame Victoria.
Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench)
Sit down, you joker! You’ve already lived 99 lives and all you did was sing-talk two whole lines about your tottery legs and give a weird monologue about dogs!
MAYBE NEXT TIME.
Try not to get kidnapped until then.
Asparagus “Gus” the Theatre Cat (Ian McKellen)
I was so close to crying during Gus’ number.
There was, admittedly, no dancing.
(Not like there has to be! Gus is a Theatre Cat, not a Breakdancing Cat.)
(Remind me again why there were breakdancing cats.)
Fine, I admit it. My reasons for loving this number are completely meta.
Ian McKellen is REALLY OLD. I felt like I was hearing him reminisce about his career.
I DON’T WANT TO LOSE THIS GEM OF A MAN.
Wouldn’t sending him to the Heaviside Lair be a great last hurrah?
Isn’t the Jellicle Choice the cat version of the Cecil B. DeMille award?
I really thought the movie was going Gus’ way! Old Deuteronomy lifted her leg up and everything!
Okay, okay, I’ll consider the other cats.
Magical Mr. Mistoffelees
Oh, Mistoffelees, you weird, hot beast.
His song is the “Hey Jude” of the show.
It’s a crowd-pleaser!
One that, regrettably, involves a lot of sing-talking.
Also, no dancing.
But Mistoffelees rescues Old Deuteronomy while wearing a fantastic jacket!
(I love this jacket. I want this jacket.)
I hate to admit this, but…I like Mistoffelees more for his personality and fashion sense than for this particular performance.
(Unrelated: WHY IS HE SO HOT??)
Sorry, Mistoffelees. You were so close.
Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat (Steven McRae)
…do you hear that funky bassline?
Could it be…?
It’s SKIMBLESHANKS, THE RAILWAY CAT! THE CAT OF THE RAILWAY TRAIN!!
Skimbleshanks’ devotion to punctuality and order make him my ultimate favorite.
He cleans compartments in his cute conductor outfit!
He pirouettes down from the skies!
He rids his train of mice! (Gross, now I’m never going to stop thinking about train mice.)
The dude is even on top of passengers’ morning tea!
How can any other cat compete?
Skimble is the only one deserving (sorry, Gus.)
ALL HAIL SKIMBLESHANKS THE RAILWAY CAT!!
IT’S MY BIRTH WEEK.
That means I’m going to post a bunch of nonsense AND take myself to Cats this afternoon.