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Cats Review: A Truly Horrific Failure and the Year’s Most Essential Film

“All movies choose their moment. It’s called a release date. Some moments, however, choose their movies.” – Wesley Morris

Christmas 2019. That’s the moment Tom Hooper agreed to when he embarked on adapting Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical Cats for the big screen to the tune of 90 or so million dollars. Cats, like most of Webber’s career, was the best-kept dirty secret of Broadway. Provided no one asked questions about intent or authorial voice, his tone-deaf and deeply embarrassing musicals could run ad infinitum on the Great White Way. Webber all but invented a new diction, a unique idiom in which new (read: post-Thatcher) musicals were allowed to exist. The bargain was simple: you provide enough spectacle to blind blue hairs and no one of note will come for you. Webber was allowed to write one dreadful musical after another because no one ever asked questions of the entire apparatus of Broadway.

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