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    Here's Every Inexplicably Bizarre Moment From The 2003 Live-Action Adaptation Of "The Cat In The Hat"

    I wasn't prepared for this, and quite frankly, neither are you.

    Certain movies have the privilege of enjoying a second life through online infamy. Bee Movie, The Room, The Last Airbender, all those YouTube videos where Bee Movie is sped up every time they say "bee" (and if Bee Movie counts as a movie, so do those videos). But I believe one film is missing from this unfortunate pantheon.

    The Cat In The Hat escorting two children in his weird car
    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    That's right. Gaze into the face of a man that no amount of makeup could turn into cat, and embrace your destiny. 

    We all know that the 2003 live-action The Cat in the Hat is the Citizen Kane of movies that star Mike Myers in a giant furry cat suit. Still, I worry that somehow, it's faded from our collective memory.

    Universal Pictures /

    That's why I've made it my mission to rewatch this absolutely inexplicable movie for the first time since I was 5 years old. I'll journey into chaos to document every single bizarre, haunting, and straight-up offensive thing that The Cat in the Hat has to offer, because no film the late, great Roger Ebert described as "the ritual sacrifice of a big star to a high concept" ought to be forgotten.

    The cat in the hat wreaking havoc on the family home.
    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    I don't remember anything about the plot of this movie, other than "hey, there's an anthropomorphized cat here now." But what I do recall is the fact that Dr. Seuss's widow hated it so much, she banned any more live-action adaptations of her husband's characters. 

    (And while we're on the subject of Dr. Seuss, it should be acknowledged that earlier this year, six of his books — not including The Cat in the Hat — were pulled from publication because of "racist and insensitive imagery.")

    And right off the bat, Peacock's letting me know I'm in for the time of my life.

    Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat, with a 9% Rotten Tomatoes score

    If you're curious, the Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus reads, "Filled with double entendres and potty humor, this Cat falls flat." So we're off to a strong start. 

    1. First of all, the city of Anville looks like this.

    A pastel pink city with large symbols attached to the front of buildings advertising what they sell
    Universal Pictures

    This is a dystopia, clearly. 

    I get the schtick of attaching giant versions of the things you sell to your store, but what does this place on the left sell? Exclusively globes? Seems like a money-laundering front to me.

    Stores that sell globes, ice cream, and books
    Universal Pictures

    Also, what's that ice cream seller doing right in front of the ice cream store? Sir, that's not your turf. 

    2. Do you think hand sanitizer jokes are funny, The Cat in the Hat? DO YOU!?

    A bulk order of hand sanitizer
    Universal Pictures

    3. This "joke" is an insult to wordplay and a crime against punnery. Also, it gives us the deeply unpleasant phrase "baby leavers."

    Joan says: What do you mean you're leaving? You're a babysitter, babysitters don't leave...they sit! Baby leavers leave!
    Universal Pictures

    I just want to make it clear that while I have oodles of problems with this dialogue, I have literally no problems with Joan's outfit. She looks great, and I have no notes.

    4. Seriously, what the hell, movie?

    A line of sinks with note, "employees must wash hands constantly"
    Universal Pictures

    This is starting to feel personal. And why would a movie marketed to children make washing your hands seem like a bad thing? 

    5. The gentleman in the green suit is Joan's boss, a realtor by the name of Mr. Humberfloob, and it's becoming increasingly clear that he's an opportunity for this movie to make cruel jokes about OCD. So that sucks.

    Mr. Humberfloob fires someone for shaking his hand
    Universal Pictures

    Here, he's firing a new employee for shaking his hand. I would say this hasn't aged well, and it hasn't, but also, to be clear, this was still deeply shitty in 2003.

    And what's going on with the fired guy's hair?

    The fired guy has one piece of hair that sticks straight up
    Universal Pictures

    6. Here, we have Humberfloob's hand sanitizer holster.

    a bottle of hand sanitizer attached to his belt
    Universal Pictures

    This movie took a million dollar idea and turned it into another mean-spirited jab, and I cannot and will not forgive it for that. 

    7. Terrible jokes aside, Humberfloob is clearly the worst, and he makes his employees host monthly events for his business in their own homes.

    Humberfloob: Joan, let me make this perfectly clear. If your house is as messy as last time, you're FIRED!
    Universal Pictures

    I guess this is the plot: Joan and her kids have to keep the house clean, or else Joan loses her job for the heinous crime of "too much dust at the cocktail party." 


    a neighborhood of pastel colored houses that all look the same
    Universal Pictures

    Everyone drives the same lime green car! Did the movie make a sweet marketing deal, or is this a society where all citizens must abide by the Sameness, lest they anger the Council of Conformity? 

    9. It's in one of these pale lavender nightmare homes that we meet Joan's children, 12-year-old Conrad and 8-year-old Sally.

    Conrad and Sally
    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

    Here's what you need to know about the dynamic duo. Sally is too serious for her own good...

    Sally checks off items on her PDA
    Universal Pictures

    Note the fourth item on her PDA's digitized to-do list, "be spontaneous." 

    ...and Conrad is a demon.

    Universal Pictures

    Conrad's morning plans include "wrecking the kitchen," "wasting a bunch of food to make impromptu armor," and "flinging himself headfirst down the stairs, thus colliding with his mother's car and letting their dog run away, which no one seems that bothered by, actually." 

    10. The dog gets returned by Alec Baldwin, but for some reason everyone calls him Lawrence (or Larry, in Conrad's case).

    Alec Baldwin, holding the dog, with his teeth glinting
    Universal Pictures

    Larry is the family's neighbor and Joan's boyfriend, but none of that distracts from the fact that Alec Baldwin is somehow in this movie. 

    Larry wants to send Conrad to a military school that's eight hours away, but Joan isn't so sure about it. When she leaves the room and Conrad confronts him, Larry straight-up tells this child (who, while demonic in nature, doesn't deserve this) that he hates him and wants him gone.

    Larry holding the brochure for the military academy
    Universal Pictures

    The threat of being sent to military school was a really big thing in early 2000s kid's media, but I never understood if it was a real thing or not. Do they allow 12-year-olds to go to boot camp? 

    11. There's an entire scene dedicated to this non-joke.

    A man introduces himself as Kate of Kate's Catering to a confused Joan
    Universal Pictures

    We have arrived at our third category, "jokes that are more ideas than jokes." I guarantee that whoever wrote this woke up one day and read on the notebook beside their bed, "Man...woman's name, funny," and decided, yeah, that's good enough to go in the movie. 

    12. Joan has to go back to work, so she calls in the elderly Mrs. Kwan to babysit. Mrs. Kwan promptly settles in and turns on "Z-Span," where she watches members of the Taiwanese Parliament physically fight each other, so I think it's probably for the best that we start an "Offensive Jokes" counter now.

    Mrs. Kwan watches the Taiwanese Parliament, where people are physically fighting, and says "no more big government. rip his heart out."
    Universal Pictures

    Offensive Jokes: With this entirely random joke about Taiwan, plus everything that happened with Mr. Humberfloob, let's start the count at 5.  

    13. Folks, the Cat has arrived.

    The kids scream and run while avoiding the Cat
    Universal Pictures

    Just to refresh your memory (or make your nightmares more vivid): The Cat easily clears 6 feet and speaks in a thick Brooklyn accent for reasons only known to Mike Myers, who's entombed underneath all that fake fur. 

    14. HOW is a CHARACTER from a RHYMING BOOK "not so good" at RHYMING?

    The cat says he can't think of a rhyme, because he's not so good with the rhyming
    Universal Pictures

    15. Regrettably, we've arrived at the moment when The Cat in the Hat decided to take on sex education.

    Sally asks the cat where he came from, and the cat responds "when a mommy cat and a daddy cat love each other very much, they decide to...
    Universal Pictures

    The Cat also reveals here that he's lactose intolerant, which I'm sure isn't information this movie will put to extraordinarily gross use at some point. 

    16. I hate to use hyperbole, but this scene robbed me of my will to live, perhaps permanently.

    The Cat's hat jumps up in response to seeing a photo of Joan
    Universal Pictures

    Just in case this isn't gross enough, the Cat then sticks the photo...somewhere in his cat suit. 

    It is weird keeping a framed glamour shot of yourself in your home, though. Almost as weird as placing it next to a bust of William Shakespeare. 

    17. This movie thinks it's getting way more comedic mileage out of the word "babysitter" than it really is.

    The Cat asks if they pay the babysitter to sit on babies, then says, I'd do it for nothing!
    Universal Pictures

    The Cat sticks the still sleeping Mrs. Kwan on a coat hanger in the closet, and for her sake I hope she's able to snooze her way through this mess. 

    18. The Cat uses a "Phunometer" to measure how much fun Sally and Conrad are.

    Universal Pictures

    After briefly being outed as a serial arsonist, Sally is determined to be a control freak, while Conrad is a rule breaker.

    The Phunometer "serial arsonist" section
    Universal Pictures

    The version of this movie where Sally is a serial arsonist is, without a doubt, an Oscar winner. 

    The Cat then charges them $700 for their exams, because if there's anything kids love, it's jokes about America's broken healthcare system.

    The cat says "that'll be 700 dollars, who's your insurance carrier?"
    Universal Pictures

    19. I almost don't want to give any context to this image, because nothing I say to you will make it less haunting.

    The cat holds a giant syringe
    Universal Pictures

    Here's the context anyway, though: The Cat wants to cure the kids of their flawed fun habits, so he suggests either a series of "painful injections" or a musical number. Unfortunately for all of us, he decides to go with the latter. 

    20. The musical interlude kicks off with a castration reference, and I would say that's representative of the song's overall tone and execution.

    The cat sings "there was this cat I knew back home where I was bred, he never listened to a single thing his mother said, he never used the litter box, he made a mess in the hall, that's why they sent him to a vet to cut off both his ba-
    Universal Pictures

    21. I saw this, so now you have to, too.

    The cat has two watermelons for butt cheeks
    Universal Pictures

    22. The Cat briefly becomes a bullfighter. Why, you ask? There is no why. There is only Cat.

    The cat as a bullfighter, with a bull charging at him
    Universal Pictures

    23. During the grand finale, the Cat drinks some milk and this happens. He then burps hairballs all over Sally and Conrad, and they are not nearly as infuriated as they should be.

    The cat's stomach gets huge after he drinks milk
    Universal Pictures

    Honestly, it's just really disgusting, so let's focus on the positives: What's with that painting of a radioactive squirrel on the left? That's kind of fun. 

    24. For reasons that are no longer topical enough to understand, the Fish goes straight for MTV's jugular.

    I think these children are smart enough not to fall for your MTV-style flash at the expense of content and moral values
    Universal Pictures

    Also, the Fish talks. Did I mention that? I don't know — it's all getting a little fuzzy. 

    25. The Cat makes the kids sign a contract before they start having fun, because of course he's been sued before.

    The Cat surrounded by lawyers
    Universal Pictures

    This is tucked into the pages of the contract, because two minutes have passed since the last spaying and neutering joke, and this movie doesn't want you to forget what it's all about.

    The Cat holds a "spayed and neutered" certificate
    Universal Pictures

    26. Here's my theory about The Cat in the Hat: It's trying to achieve the same sort of chaotic improvisational brilliance of Robin Williams as Aladdin's Genie...

    The Cat dressed as a gas station attendant
    Universal Pictures

    ...but it's really, really bad at it.

    The Cat has plumber's crack
    Universal Pictures

    27. Remember that hypothetical writer from before who scribbled down the joke about the male caterer named Kate? On the next page of their ideas notebook, they wrote down, "Clowns + hepatitis = comedy gold."

    The cat says jumping on the couch is just like being in the circus, but without those tortured animals or drunken clowns that have hepatitis
    Universal Pictures

    Offensive Jokes: 6. 

    28. Sally wants to make cupcakes, so naturally the Cat turns to violence.

    Universal Pictures

    Why did Mike Myers even do this? Didn't he have so much Shrek and Austin Powers money already? 

    29. You could probably make another movie about the focus group that was forced to see the Cat in the Hat threatening to murder a blonde version of itself with a meat cleaver. I wouldn't watch it, but it could be made.

    The Cat accidentally chops off his own tail while threatening to "end" the television host with a meat cleaver
    Universal Pictures

    I looked it up: Mike Myers "backed out of starring in a movie based on his Saturday Night Live character Dieter" and agreed to star in another film for Universal Pictures to make amends with the studio (and avoid getting sued). 

    Me looking horrified at this movie
    Universal Pictures

    30. The murder cupcakes explode and splatter purple goo everywhere, and the Cat decides to clean it up using the dress Joan was going to wear tonight. When Sally accuses him of ruining it, he responds, "Honey, it was ruined when she bought it." Then he snaps his fingers like this for the longest seven seconds of my life.

    Universal Pictures

    Yes, I counted. What else was I going to do? Regret that I chose to write this instead of that list of bizarre facts about US presidents? 

    31. The kids are pissed that the house is such a mess, so the Cat brings in an enormous red crate and reveals the Things, two magical gymnasts whose wide grins can't mask their clearly menacing nature.

    Thing 1 and Thing 2, in red jumpsuits with blue hair
    Universal Pictures

    Thing 2 has some self-esteem issues when it comes to his name. Naturally.

    Thing 2 clarifies that he's not inferior to Thing 1, and the Cat provides a list of alternative names, including Thing King, Super Thing, Kid Dynamite, Chocolate Thun-Da, or Ben
    Universal Pictures

    32. The crate that the Things emerged from apparently contains a high-concept sci-fi third act, and the Cat understandably wants to keep it contained.

    The Cat tells Conrad not to mess with the crate, and when he points out it was made in the Philippines, the Cat says "yes! but not this philippines."
    Universal Pictures

    The Cat clearly seems like he's lying when he says it wasn't made in "this" (as in Earth's, I guess?) Philippines, but Conrad doesn't question him, because lest we forget, he still has that meat cleaver hidden somewhere. 

    33. Story update: The Things wreck the house, and Conrad picks the magical lock that the Cat uses to lock his crate of plot devices. The lock, being magical, attaches itself to the dog's collar, and the dog makes a run for it. Something bad will happen if the crate opens, and the only thing that will stop the crate from opening is the lock, so the Cat suggests murder.

    The cat, playing piano and suggesting murder
    Universal Pictures

    He's only joking, but also, is he

    34. Alec Baldwin update: He's secretly a slob, and his TV just got repossessed.

    Alec Baldwin holding the repossession notice
    Universal Pictures

    Larry wears a girdle and dentures, and the movie really wants you to know how icky that makes him, so let's go ahead and add it to our tally.

    Offensive Jokes:

    35. Who is the intended audience for this joke?

    The cat calls a literal gardening hoe a dirty hoe, then says "I'm sorry, baby, I love you"
    Universal Pictures

    "The Cat may be weirdly sexual, but on the other hand, at least he's a homicidal maniac." —Parents, probably. 

    36. I'll wait for a moment while you try to guess what could possibly be going on in this sequence of images.

    The cat hanging from a tree like a pinata, waving a white flag, and then dressed in a weird colonial outfit while swinging with a white horse in the background
    Universal Pictures

    Any guesses? No? That makes sense, since this doesn't. 

    Anyway, the trio ends up at a birthday party, the Cat disguises himself as a piñata, and a kid hits him in the cat crotch with a baseball bat. Somehow that leads to the glittery final image, but I don't know how. 

    I think I'm starting to lose my grip on reality. 

    37. This is sort of funny. I guess. It's more cute than funny. And is it just product placement for Hummers? That's not good. I don't know anymore. Where am I?

    The cat has a hummer dustcover for his cartoonish car
    Universal Pictures

    Also, Larry has the dog now. 

    38. I like to think that this is the moment where a young Dakota Fanning realized her parents and agents made a terrible mistake in signing her up for this.

    The cat says: GPS, check. DVD, CD, check. Someone from Czechoslovakia is a Czech.
    Universal Pictures

    She's staring directly into the camera, and it's clearly a cry for help. 

    39. Apparently we've entered the "random geographical humor" portion of the film.

    before running into a truck, the Cat sees that it has a Rhode Island license plate, and says "you never see those"
    Universal Pictures

    Wouldn't this have made more sense with a Hawaii or Alaska license plate? 

    40. Nope. I refuse.

    The cat wearing dreads and holding a petition
    Universal Pictures

    I could tell you that the Cat dresses like this to distract Larry into giving him the dog, but would that information make it any more bearable?

    Offensive Jokes: 8.

    41. With Larry in pursuit, the Cat leads the kids to a secret underground Cat in the Hat-themed rave...

    The kids at the rave
    Universal Pictures

    ...where they encounter Paris Hilton.

    Paris Hilton at the rave
    Universal Pictures

    Here's a picture of them in the same frame to prove to you that I'm not lying (and prove to myself that it's real).

    Paris Hilton and the cat dancing together
    Universal Pictures

    No jokes are made about this. Paris Hilton doesn't even speak. She's just...there. Why? WHY? Every moment of this movie is a riddle I'm not equipped to solve. 

    42. Meanwhile, back at the house, this CGI goop is leaking out of the crate.

    Purple goop enveloping Mrs. Kwan
    Universal Pictures

    Stay asleep, Mrs. Kwan. You don't want to wake up in a world like this. 

    43. The Things dress up as cops so that the Cat and the kids can beat Joan and Larry to the house, lock the crate, and restore balance to the universe. Or something.

    The Thing dressed as a cop, speaking to Joan
    Universal Pictures

    44. And the family home now looks like what would happen if M.C. Escher sold out.

    A surreal and twisted version of the house.
    Universal Pictures

    45. The Cat, Sally, and Conrad use the sleeping Mrs. Kwan as a raft to journey through this house of cold digital sorrow, because every character besides this poor babysitter is clearly a sociopath.

    Everyone climbs on top of Mrs. Kwan
    Universal Pictures

    Offensive Jokes: 150*

    *You may have noticed a significant jump in this tally. It's because I added 142 more just to be safe, since I'm sure I missed some. 

    46. Didn't Mike Myers already do this product placement bit in Wayne's World?

    Conrad: This is amazing! It's like a ride at an amusement park! You mean like at Universal Studios? Cha-ching
    Universal Pictures

    Yup, he did.

    Mike Myers as Wayne holding up a pepsi can

    I don't blame the Cat for breaking the fourth wall, though. If I were in this movie, I'd want to get out too. 

    47. Conrad manages to close the crate, but the house gets destroyed in the process, and the Cat reveals that he didn't in fact lose his magic hat (oh yeah, the Cat lost his magic hat), but only pretended he did in order to teach the kids some sort of overwritten lesson. Conrad and Sally kick him out, because honestly, the Cat's a dick.

    The kids, standing in their destroyed home, point the Cat towards the door
    Universal Pictures

    At this point, I think Joan's reaction will be less "The house is a mess" and more "Oh my god, did my children survive whatever catastrophe has befallen our family home?" 

    But wait! Someone at Universal noticed that the movie didn't have a theme, so the Cat returns and tells the siblings they learned about having fun responsibly (or something), so he cleans up the house for them.

    The lawyers standing behind the kids with the contract
    Universal Pictures

    Sally and Conrad voided the contract (remember the contract? I didn't), but then they were nice to each other, so the contract un-voided. Maybe. I have no idea. I guess this is technically a legal drama? 

    48. Here's a Lovecraftian hand machine of terrors.

    A scooter with a bunch of hands sticking out of it
    Universal Pictures

    49. The Cat and the Things rebuild the house while Smash Mouth's cover of the Beatles' "Getting Better" plays in the background.

    The cat says, "we even managed to work in an uptempo pop song for the soundtrack, that's important."
    Universal Pictures

    Hey, it worked for Shrek

    50. Final Alec Baldwin update: Before the crate got closed, the Cat tried to murder him (classic Cat!) by pushing him off the ledge and into the river of sci-fi goo. Joan dumps him for being a purple weirdo, and the children rejoice.

    Conrad says to a paint covered Alec Baldwin: You look terrible, and my mom things you're insane
    Universal Pictures

    Joan's party is a hit, by the way, but she serves the purple cupcakes that the Cat made, so I can only presume that everyone who ate one only has 24 hours left to live. 

    51. The Cat in the Hat concludes by turning one of its few actually whimsical aspects — the rhyming narrator — into another cheap joke.

    The cat reveals he is the narrator when he starts talking about how approachable and attractive he is
    Universal Pictures

    And it's only right that it does, honestly. 

    Mike Myers standing next to the Cat, with text reading Final Thoughts
    Universal Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

    My opinion on this film can only be communicated in one of two ways: a rhyme, or the sound of my head hitting my desk over and over again. Since there isn't a way to include the latter in a textual medium, we'll have to go with the former. 

    "The Cat in the Hat (2003)"

    The Cat in the Hat is a movie from 2003

    And I’m sorry to say it almost killed me. 

    With Myers and Baldwin, and an unexpected Hilton,

    My utter confusion seemed already built-in. 

    I looked for the bizarre, and I found fifty-one,

    But when the credits rolled, I didn’t feel done. 

    Where do I go from here? Is there a way out? 

    Or is there only this film, and the Cat it’s about? 


    The things and the Cat walking down the street
    Universal / Courtesy Everett Collection

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