Jamie awakens to find himself hanging by his feet in the rafters of the old mansion. “I know it’s a shock being a vampire and all,” says a voice. Turning to his side Jamie sees a young vampire smiling back at him. “But don’t worry. The name’s Odin and I’ll help you learn all the coolz vampire rulez at Dracula School.” Jamie does love rules, but he also knows that the librarian could be back at any moment to squeeze his twinzo powers out of him. “I’ll pass bro,” he says, pausing momentarily to turn his hat backwards, “I gotta find my brother, Patrick.” “Well maybe I can help you,” Odin replies, “you see we’re both Larbagios, those are vampires made by other vampires. We are mortal enemies of Hedgermias, those are vampires who made themselves vampires. There are also Royeldrums, those are vampires that were always vampires. We all fight and can never love unless bound by the Oaths of Keldronia, for otherwise our blood lust will overtake us and we will become Hedgermias. Thus we must be pure and remember that the flesh is sacred…” Rolling his eyes Jamie interjects, “Wish I could stay but look at the time…” As he turns to leave Odin suddenly transforms before his eyes into a large dog. “I didn’t get to the useful part yet,” the large dog says, “Larbagios can also transform into animals.” Oooo, that is helpful. With such a power Jamie will be able to sneak right by that librarian and start figuring out where Patrick is. Concentrating real hard he feel himself transform. Looking down he sees a mass of orange hair and black stripes. Great, a big ol’ fat orange cat. Not super inconspicuous, but it’ll have to do. That’s right! We’re (finally) watching Garfield and Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.
Patrick is mesmerized by the terrible teenage witch rap dance, unaware of time slipping away from him. Days pass, his lips cracked with dehydration, his mind lost in the glorious inanity he is viewing, his body dying. All of a sudden the door explodes, splinters showering Patrick and awakening him from his daze, bullets zip and crack, raining down on all manner of teenage witch and wizard. “LAPD! You have the right to remain dead,” a grizzled officer growls. Another officer, dressed in overalls with no shirt, shakes his head, “Gosh dern it Sticks, this was supposed to be an easy in and out job, just grab the kid and let’s get outta here!” The grizzled officer grabs Patrick roughly. “You’re welcome punk, Stones and I just saved your mind.” They drag Patrick through the front door and … onto another set? This one is dressed up as an alleyway. They drop Patrick into a pile of garbage, Sticks and Stones look at each other and nod, “Light’er up” says Stones. As they gleefully firebomb the witch’s house set, black doll eyes gleaming, Patrick’s mind begins to clear. Just then an alley cat walks by. “You don’t belong here” the cat says with a wink, and walks off. Wait … A talking cat!?! What is this place? That’s right! We’re also watching A Talking Cat!?!!
We move forward in the Bring A Friend cycle to watch two films that involve talking cats. That’s because Garfield is in fact a talking cat!?! We used to avoid films like Garfield (and the BONUS Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties) thinking they were “just for kids” and not worth our time. We eventually realized that that was patronizing and decided to give them a chance… and they turned out to mostly be not worth our time. But sometimes they can be fun. Here’s to hoping! As for A Talking Cat!?! It’s is a film!?! The verdict is still out. It certainly exists and it will play in front of our eyeballs, but it’s hard to say how or why this film(!?!) has become something of a cult classic. Even leading to a podcast A Talking Cast!?! Which broke down the film minute-by-minute. Jesus. What a week. Let’s go!
Garfield (2004) – BMeTric: 66.2
(Nothing super interesting. Kind of fun seeing a film that goes all the way right back to when the internet archive started. Was very stable for about a decade, but has started regressing up towards the mean a bit. A 5.0 is absurdly low though.)
Leonard Maltin – 2 stars – Murray is an ideal voice for the world’s laziest (and hungriest) cat in this innocuous, uninspired comedy combining computer-generate animation and live action. Meye is Garfield’s hapless owner, who tries to woo attractive veterinarian Hewitt by adopting Odie, a homeless mutt, which spurs Garfield into defensive action. Based on Jim Davis’ comic strip and animated TV series. Followed by a sequel.
(Innocuous is the worst thing you’d want to hear with something like this I think. Translation is it is merely boring and not worth anyone’s time. Even the review is kind of boring.)
(Everything but the dancing seems fine to me. The dancing … well it is something people do. They straight Marmaduked it and there isn’t much we can do about it now is there?)
Directors – Peter Hewitt – (Known For: Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey; The Borrowers; Thunderpants; Whatever Happened to Harold Smith?; Future BMT: Zoom; Tom and Huck; BMT: Garfield; Notes: Not that old, it is pretty plausible the one-two punch of Zoom and Garfield killed his career. British, born in Brighton.)
Writers – Jim Davis (comic strip “Garfield”) – (BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Notes: His life is mostly identical to Jon Arbuckle, who also grew up on a farm in Indiana and was a cartoonist, although Davis has been married a few times. Also wrote the strip U.S. Acres, which was part of the Garfield & Friends brand.)
Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow (written by) – (Known For: Toy Story; Future BMT: Daddy Day Camp; Evan Almighty; Money Talks; Goodbye Lover; BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Cheaper by the Dozen; Notes: Nominated for an Oscar as part of the team that wrote Toy Story. They jointly directed a Monster Mash film in 1995 which looks … not super great.)
Actors – Breckin Meyer – (Known For: Clueless; The Craft; Road Trip; Can’t Hardly Wait; Rat Race; The Insider; Escape from L.A.; Go; Herbie Fully Loaded; Josie and the Pussycats; Kate & Leopold; Prefontaine; Dancer, Texas Pop. 81; Blue State; Future BMT: Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare; Rebound; 54; Caffeine; Touch; Tail Lights Fade; BMT: Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; Pinocchio; Ghosts of Girlfriends Past; Razzie Notes: Winner for Worst Actor for Pinocchio in 2003; Notes: Went to grade school with Drew Barrymore who introduced him to his first agent. At one point I knew him as that guy who had basically back-to-back one-and-done television series, Inside Schwartz, and Married to the Kellys.)
Jennifer Love Hewitt – (Known For: Tropic Thunder; Can’t Hardly Wait; Heartbreakers; Future BMT: Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit; Delgo; The Suburbans; The Truth About Love; House Arrest; Jewtopia; Telling You; BMT: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; Garfield; Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties; The Tuxedo; I Know What You Did Last Summer; Notes: Possibly most famous for Party of Five. She is in the new show 9-1-1.)
Stephen Tobolowsky – (Known For: Memento; Basic Instinct; Spaceballs; Mississippi Burning; Freaky Friday; Groundhog Day; Thelma & Louise; Robots; Buried; Sneakers; Adaptation.; The Insider; Single White Female; Mr. Peabody & Sherman; Great Balls of Fire!; Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!; Homeward Bound II: Lost in San Francisco; Murder in the First; Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael; The Grifters; Future BMT: Mr. Magoo; View from the Top; Little Black Book; The Glimmer Man; National Security; An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn; My Father the Hero; Black Dog; Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde; Bird on a Wire; You May Not Kiss the Bride; Memoirs of an Invisible Man; Calendar Girl; Peep World; Blind Dating; Funny About Love; Romeo Is Bleeding; Radioland Murders; The Pickle; Josh and S.A.M.; BMT: Freddy Got Fingered; Garfield; Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous; The Country Bears; Failure to Launch; Wild Hogs; Atlas Shrugged: Part III; Notes: Very prolific character actor, Ned from Groundhog Day. Had a very long running podcast, The Tobolowsky Files, although it looks like it may have ended last year.)
Budget/Gross – $50 million / Domestic: $75,369,589 (Worldwide: $200,804,534)
(Giant success I would say. For $50 million you might have wanted to break $100 on the home front, but certainly a good reason to make a sequel one would think.)
#40 for the CGI Star genre
(Cutting edge! This plot just goes up and up … until it just becomes every film I guess. Highest BMT is Transformers: Age of Extinction and lowest is Transformers: The Last Knight … lots of Transformers I guess. Rocky and Bullwinkle will be fun.)
#20 for the Family – Talking Animal (Live action) genre
(Right in the middle of the talking animal live action family film boom it looks like. Highest grossing BMT is Zookeeper, although that will be trounced by Alvin and the Chipmunks at some point. Hot to Trot is very low naturally, back in the day when they did talking animal films the right way (shakes fist))
#19 for the TV Cartoon (Live Action) genre
(Right before a big boom in the mid 2000s (the Transformers franchise I guess). BRATZ and Dudley Do-Right back-to-back as our lowest BMT examples is fantastic. Although only BRATZ is really worth watching in any capacity.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (20/137): When the novelty of the CGI Garfield wears off, what’s left is a simplistic kiddie movie.
(I guess in our case it will be the morbid fascination with 2004 fully CGI characters … Reviewer Highlight – There’s nothing to recommend about this film except its sheer innocuousness. – Desson Thomsom, Washington Post (uh oh…))
Poster – This Cat is Morbidly Obese, Call Social Services (B-)
(I like the furriness and realism of Garfield and the unique font. Otherwise though this falls into the very bare-bones, mostly white posters that I generally dislike.)
Tagline(s) – Get ready for frisky business (D)
(No thanks. That is a crazy tagline with no real tangible connection to this film and should have been immediately thrown in the trash.)
Keyword(s) – cat; Top Ten by BMeTric: 94.7 Catwoman (2004); 92.4 Date Movie (2006); 88.9 Vampires Suck (2010); 86.2 The Cat in the Hat (2003); 84.4 Movie 43 (2013); 82.5 Inspector Gadget (1999); 82.5 Home Alone 3 (1997); 81.8 I Know Who Killed Me (2007); 80.4 One Missed Call (2008); 78.4 Nutty Professor II: The Klumps (2000);
(These are real deal cat films. I wonder if we will ever watch Home Alone 3. That is probably one of the most surprising “this actually genuinely qualifies, it was released to thousands of theaters” films we’ve never seen.)
Notes – Bill Murray named this film as one of his regrets in Zombieland (2009).
Bill Murray has said during interviews that he hates that he didn’t think to have Garfield say his famous Ghostbusters (1984) line “Dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!” (in the scenes of Odie being introduced to the house) until after all post-production had been completed, and it was too late to add it. (Decent point)
Jim Carrey turned down the role of Jon Arbuckle. (A tad bit too famous at the time I think, he ended up doing Mr. Popper’s Penguins seven years later)
In an interview, Bill Murray stated that he originally thought the script was written by Joel Coen. It wasn’t until the recording process, and watching dailies, that he realized that it was written by Joel Cohen, not the same person, of whom he was thinking. (Imagining a Garfield film written by Joel Coen is … an interesting idea)
Bill Murray and Lorenzo Music have both played Garfield and Dr Peter Venkman. Murray plays Garfield in this film and Dr Venkman in the Ghostbusters films, and Music voiced Garfield in Garfield and Friends (1988) and Dr. Venkman in The Real Ghost Busters (1986). (Yes, unfortunately Music died in 2001 otherwise I do imagine he’s be the voice in the film)
Joe Towne who plays a technician in the film (as Ariel Joseph Towne) was hired during production as the on-set voice of Garfield. (Oooooo fun fact)
In the film, Jon adopts Odie from his vet Liz’s animal hospital. In the comic strip, Odie was originally the pet of Jon’s friend Lyman. (Wow, some deep Garfield knowledge)
In the film, Nermal is a Siamese cat who lives on the cul-de-sac. In the comic strip, Nermal is a grey tabby kitten who originally belonged to Jon’s parents. (This is some great shit right here)
The license plate on Liz’s pickup is “Pet Doc”.
Jim Davis: Garfield’s creator has a cameo as the train conductor who makes the “all aboard” announcement. (Ugh)