F.I.L.M. of the Week (January 8, 2010)

8 01 2010

This week’s “F.I.L.M.” is one of my most unconventional picks yet.  It is not independent, but it is most assuredly first-rate and little-known (at least relatively forgotten).

As soon as I finished my last grueling final in December, I plopped my behind on the couch and began watching a movie.  Scrolling down past HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, TMC, I finally found exactly what I needed as catharsis from the exams.

The movie was “Cats Don’t Dance,” a fun-loving musical that was a staple of my childhood.  I remember how much I loved it when I first saw it at the age of 5, and that passion has not faded a bit as I watched it for the first time in years.

The movie is a celebration of dreams as Danny, the singing cat from Kokomo, heads to Hollywood to light the world on fire.  But things are not what he imagined, and he soon finds that life isn’t easy for an animal actor – especially when his co-star is a tyrannical child actor who refuses to be upstaged. He refuses to be crushed, keeping his optimism while bringing together a large group of animals to recapture their dreams. There are some hilarious characters, including a hippo voiced by Jennifer Tilly and a surly goat voiced by Hal Holbrook, as well as some rousing musical numbers (thankfully all are easily found on YouTube).

It may be a movie for kids, but I think it has one of the most profound quotes I have ever heard in a movie of this style: “They can smash your cookie, but they can never take your fortune.” It’s a great helping of nostalgia for me, but I think anyone can enjoy “Cats Don’t Dance.” It really is that disarming.

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