What: Catastrophe, an animated short about a cat’s struggle to dig himself out of trouble.
Why we care: When I was a small child, the Disney film The Aristocats was rereleased into theaters. The poster for the film bothered me, but the problem was mostly the title. I couldn’t figure out the pun, because I was 7 years old, and what little kid in the late 1980s knows the word aristocrat? I just kept staring at the poster, trying to telekinetically make it say The Astro Cats, a concept I could both understand and get behind. This tangent is all to say that Catastrophe is an elegant and unimprovable pun title for an animated short about a cat who is in deep shit.
Catastrophe opens the way most funny films do: with a bird lurching to its death. From this macabre beginning, we immediately move on to the real meat of the story—that this dead bird is now lying right in the house cat’s food dish. It’s a perfect accidental frame job, from which it would be impossible for the cat to evade blame. And because this short wants to entertain us, this particular cat realizes this and tries to fix the situation, rather than give in to his essential catness and chow down. Watching his struggle escalate the level of trouble this lovable cat is in makes for perhaps the funniest animated short about a dead bird you’ll ever see.