Watch Catwoman as an exploration of sexual blossoming, and this will be you walking into the bodega at 3AM.

Art

1.11.2016

Catwoman Revisited: Questions, Concerns, and Pussy Power

To say there’s a certain art to picking a film on Netflix to watch when you have a hookup come over is a vast understatement. Too many scenes of people crying or screaming can pull you out of the moment faster than a broken condom or a misplaced fart. Literally hundreds of movies are available, yet only a small handful can set that perfectly romantic, yet not overly engaging, tone that you want.

Trust me when I tell you that Catwoman is the absolute worst movie for Netflix and chill night. Through some haze of marijuana smoke, misplaced nostalgia, and a deep fascination with the film that nearly destroyed Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry’s film career, I decided it would be a fun movie to throw on before some bump and grind. I hadn’t seen the film since it came out in 2004, and I figured it couldn’t be as bad as the world makes it out to be. So what if it only has a 9% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and won four awards at the Razzies? It was far and away the best and worst decision I’ve made since eating Chipotle during the height of the E. coli scare. What happened with the trade is inconsequential: An hour and 45 minutes after the film started, I had achieved a sense of spiritual and sexual enlightenment that no amount of dick could’ve brought me.

Out of hundreds of confused and horrified thoughts, here are the top three questions I couldn’t stop thinking about while voluntarily re-watching the tragically bad exploits of a crazy cat lady’s big 2004 adventure.

I want to remind everyone that this woman is an award winning actress and Pitof made her do this.
I want to remind everyone that this woman is an award winning actress and Pitof made her do this.

How Was This Allowed to Happen?

There are some movies you know will be bad. Nobody walked into The Shaggy Dog or Because of Winn Dixie looking for an Oscar nominee—at least I hope not. The thing is, I couldn’t help but feel a deep sense of sadness when it started to sink in that this movie wasn’t as bad as I imagined. It was worse. Catwoman is the horrifying byproduct of a director named Pitof’s quest to make up for the fact that he chose to direct films under the name Pitof. If you hadn’t figured it out yet, our dear friend was never trusted to make a feature film again.

As if all of that wasn’t bad enough, someone convinced investors to give it a budget estimated at $100 million and had an all-star cast that included Hollywood goddesses Sharon Stone and Frances Conroy. That isn’t a typo. They were paid to appear in this movie and somehow salvaged their careers. The same can’t be said for Pitof or the CGI cat named Midnight, whose claim to fame is breathing magic Egypt dust into Berry’s mud-covered mouth.

Was Therapy Provided for the Audience?

People went into Catwoman with expectations as high as their blood pressure when they left the theater angry and disappointed. What may be even worse than how terrible this film was, is the fact that it’s the rotting middle of a shit sandwich of superhero films that became the blueprint for what not to do. I’m sure by now you’ve gone all Eternal Sunshine and wiped Daredevil and Elektra from your memory, but it’s essential to note that those movies came out a year before and a year after Halle Berry meowed her way into our nightmares. Those three years were as traumatic for the superhero genre as your middle school years were for the rest of your life. I’m not sure how people recovered from the disappointment of watching a comic book legend go up in flames in such a gloriously sad way but I did Google “did people receive free therapy sessions after watching Halle Berry act in Catwoman” just to make sure. No therapy was mentioned, but I did find out that she was named Miss Ohio in 1985 and went on to become first runner-up in the Miss USA competition. Meow, girl.

It’s hard not to compare Berry’s iteration to the iconic portrayals of the role by everyone from Julie Newmar and Michelle Pfeiffer to Anne Hathaway and queen Eartha Kitt. They’ve all slipped into the skintight leather bodysuit and brought a sense of charisma and flair to the role that was sorely missing in this adaption—with one small exception. There was one scene that allowed Halle Berry to show off her badass moves, but it’s squandered five minutes later. Her claim to badass fame in the movie should have been the scene where she takes down a group of armed gunmen but, naturally, she puts back all the jewels she stole. That’s not even the worst part. She puts the jewels back by leaving a paper lunchbag with “sorry” written in cursive inside the jewelry store. In that moment, I was more disappointed than Tyra after she rooted for Tiffany. The fact is that after an entire movie’s worth of missteps, no amount of professional help is going to help traumatized audiences. Hell, they probably didn’t even give therapy to the traumatized schoolchildren who had to watch Berry and Benjamin Bratt literally bump and grind on each other while playing basketball. Sex ed should come from the classroom—not the court.

As I laid in bed with a guy, desperately trying to take my attention away from the range of emotions I was feeling over the film, I couldn’t help but feel like I was missing something. Well, something more than the deep stares I could feel being lobbed at my cheek, waiting for me to make a move. Sexy time could wait, because I was more determined than I’d been in my entire life to find the silver lining that would lend salvation to a film I just couldn’t bear to quit watching. As legs intertwined and body heat began to rise, I finally asked myself the question that changed my perspective on Catwoman forever.

Is Catwoman Really a Feminist Exploration of Pussy Power?

I think the problem with the film is that we’ve been watching it all wrong. This isn’t the comic book superhero tale it was marketed as. But rather, this is an intimate portrayal of one woman’s sexual liberation when she finally embraces the power of her pussycat. This has all of the hallmarks of the BDSM epic that 50 Shades of Grey wishes it had been, because in this version, Halle Berry is in complete and total control of herself and her sexual blossoming.

Let’s face it, this girl is an absolute mess at the beginning. There’s no denying that her sex life is in the toilet—in a figure-of-speech kind of way, not in a toilet fetishist kind of way. She’s dressed like Anne Hathaway in the beginning of The Devil Wears Prada, without the comfort of knowing she has Adrian Grenier to go home to. Hear me out because this actually (weirdly) makes sense. Her best friend Sally’s unquenchable thirst for the D represents the inner sexual desires of Patience pre-sex kitten status. After getting bombarded by a flood of water, drowning, and being brought to life, she meets the Queen of the Pussycats, Frances Conroy, and then truly begins to harness her own sexual energy. Cue the leather bodysuits and the affinity for whips. You know who else loves whips and leather? People who are unleashing their inner freak with some good ole’ fashioned BDSM. This adaptation of Catwoman is truly about Patience Phillips harnessing her inner sexual energies and taking control of her feminist independence—we were just all too blind by a false narrative of super-heroism to realize it.

As for my own tales of harnessing my inner sexual energies that night, all I can say is that the best part of the evening was deconstructing Catwoman. I’m going to leave the whips and chains out for now, but with my newfound sense of enlightenment over Halle Berry’s leather escapades, I can’t wait to see what I’m feeling next time I watch Batman and Robin try to poke each other with their rubber nipples.

A little catscratch never hurt anyone. Just remember, the safeword is "meow."
A little catscratch never hurt anyone. Just remember, the safeword is “meow.”

Stay tuned to Milk for more Halle Berry evaluations.

Images and video via Warner Bros. Pictures. 

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