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Steve Rudzinski is responsible for three of my favorite movies you’ve never heard of. See Captain Z and the Terror of Leviathan, Super Task Force One and CarousHELL immediately if you enjoy wacky, independent cinema. He never fails to surprise me with his outlandish ideas and I firmly believe that we need minds like this to make this world a more exciting and joyous place. I sincerely mean it when I say that a new Rudzinski joint is a highlight of my year and his movies never fail to make me smile.
Of course, you should also fully understand that these types of films aren’t for everyone. Some of you won’t be ready for this type of shoe-string budget fare, but what these types of movies lack in resources — when they’re good, anyway — they more than make up for in heart and passion. There’s a charm to that in and of itself, but you’d be surprised to find just how many films of this ilk are actually pretty impressive. Rudzinski’s filmography is a good starting point to see this breed of cinema at its most entertaining, especially if you seek originality and surprises.
His latest, A Meowy Christmas, is a mash-up of hard-boiled detective noir, political satire, absurd comedy, and a good old-fashioned family fun featuring talking animals. The story follows Ms. Whiskers (Amie Wrenn) — a cat who spends her days watching InfoWars-esque conspiracy videos online — and her rat friend Chuck (Aaron Fletchersmith) as they take on burglars the former believes to be lizard aliens. Rudzinski, meanwhile, plays their owner Wally Griswold, a dim-witted detective out to save Christmas and stop the criminals before they steal anymore gifts from people’s houses.
It’s like Home Alone, but instead of a 10-year-old boy we get a talking cat and her rodent counterpart. And the burglars might be lizard people. What’s not to love?
It takes real smarts to make good dumb movies, and Rudzinski and his co-writer Bill Murphy’s script is loaded with witty cat puns and satire of pop and internet culture, from the aforementioned “news outlet” to Youtube trends. The performances are all self-aware and fun, and Rudzinski once again proves that he has just as much prowess in front of the camera as he does behind it. That said, everyone brings their A-game here, and if you’re familiar with the rants and ravings of Mr. Alex Jones, you’ll be pleased (or horrified) to find a character whose similarities to the chest-pounding news anchor are hilariously and frighteningly uncanny.
I highly recommend renting this one for your children — especially if they like sitting on Youtube all day watching InfoWars — but all in all, this is perfect holiday viewing for the whole family. It’s a weird movie, but it’s also cute, easy-going, and another prime example of how you can surpass budget limitations with a little bit of heart, creativity, crazy ideas and enthusiasm for your material. Bruce Willis could learn a lot from this.
A Meowy Christmas is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime.