Written by Stephen King and directed by Lewis Teague, Cat’s Eye (1985) is among the greatest anthology movies of all time. It’s been 32 years and yet we still love everything about it. Let’s go into some reasons why!
First but not least, you have that darn cat, General. Cat’s Eye wouldn’t be the same without him. Sure, two of the stories weave around him only tangentially, but we know right from the start that General represents heroism against adversity. As he enters each story, we root for him at least as much as the human characters. Go, General!
Then, obviously, you have the stories themselves. Each has its own unique charm and its own unique villain.
1. “Quitters, Inc.”
This is some people’s favorite story from Cat’s Eye, and why wouldn’t it be? As Dick Morrison (James Woods) joins a controversial program to quit smoking, it turns out to be a bit too controversial. Dr. Vinnie Donatti (Alan King) does a marvelous job as both a motivation coach and villain, as his unique and threatening methods are so often carried out with a bright, confident smile.
Another great aspect? You have to feel for Mr. Morrison, at least a little. He is doing his very best to overcome a powerful addiction, and one must wonder if the addiction is even worse than this prescribed treatment.
The fantasy sequences in Quitter’s Inc. are golden moments, too. They could make someone laugh out loud or feel really disturbed, or a quaint combination of both. They really put us in the headspace of someone trying to quit, yet constantly surrounded by temptation. Also noteworthy: The Police’s “Every Breath You Take” will never sound the same to you after seeing Quitter’s Inc. (nor will “96 Tears” by Question Mark and the Mysterians).
2. “The Ledge”
Another great story, The Ledge is a simple, classic revenge tale about a man forced to walk a tall building ledge in a desperate wager. Johnny Norris (Robert Hays) is kidnapped by a man named Cressner (Kenneth McMillan), who knows that his wife is cheating on him with Norris. Being a criminal-type, Cressner is willing to frame Norris by planting drugs in his car and alerting the authorities. By also being a casino owner and gambler, Cressner is willing to divorce his wife and let Norris go — if Norris can circumnavigate that stubborn ledge!
Kenneth McMillan does an excellent job as Cressner, seeming giddy as a schoolboy at times as he harasses Norris safely from inside the building. One gets the impression that, deep down inside, he probably doesn’t even care so much about his wife’s infidelity. Instead, he’s probably just looking for excuses to be sadistic and to satisfy his gambling ways. And so, if you ever need an example of wagers going a bit too far, you could do worse than watch The Ledge. Just don’t try this at home, and never trust pigeons again!
The final tale of Cat’s Eye, General focuses largely on the cat itself, and what appears to be its mission: Protecting a little girl named Amanda (played by a young Drew Barrymore). What must she be protected from? Why, a little trickster troll who wishes to steal away her breath as she sleeps, of course!
Being more of a fantasy piece than the previous tales, General is a different shade of the Cat’s Eye, but great fun. Amanda’s parents also supply a little drama regarding whether or not the cat is a menace. When all is said and done, we the viewers know he is not.
In summation: Meee-yow! Which story in Cat’s Eye do you love the most? Let us know!