Cool Cat Saves the Kids is a 2015 direct-to-video educational film directed by and starring Derek Savage, a man who once posed for Playgirl magazine and appeared as an extra in Back to School, Fatal Beauty and other films before turning his attention to writing and filmmaking. Its aim was to teach kids about bullying and the dangers of guns. It was patched together from three short films Savage worked on before.
It gained massive notoriety thanks to a two-part review by YourMovieSucks.org and other reviews from the likes of Bobsheaux and I Hate Everything, which Savage attempted to take down as copyright infringement.
A recut of the film called Cool Cat Kids Superhero was released in late June 2018, after months of changing and unclear release dates. While many believed it would be a remake or a sequel, the finished film is nothing more than a re-release of Cool Cat Saves The Kids with a few minutes of additional scenes. In November 2021, Savage announced another recut called Cool Cat Saves the Kids: Director's Cut, which was released in early 2022.
Following the Parkland school shooting, another sequel, called Cool Cat Stops a School Shooting, was announced by Daddy Derek, and it was meant to be a PSA specializing in school shooting/active shooter scenario education. However, despite receiving a Colbert Bump from Mumkey Jones (who would've also starred in the film), it became clear that the film's fundraising project would not be getting enough money in time for the deadline. Daddy Derek reformatted the fundraiser for a smaller backup project tentatively titled Cool Cat: Stranger Danger Alert. It was released as Cool Cat’s Crazy Dream in 2019, which was mostly just unused footage from the Hollywood parade segment of the first movie.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, Savage announced plans to release a short called Cool Cat Fights Coronavirus. It was released to his Kickstarter supporters on March 24, 2021, as an unlisted video, with the DVD release coming later on.
Now has a work-in-progress character sheet!
No relation to a late-1960s Warner Bros.-Seven Arts character of the same name.
Cool Cat loves these tropes!
- Adaptation Species Change: In the Cool Cat Stops Bullying book Daddy Derek is a cat. In the movie, Derek Savage takes on the role As Himself, while Cool Cat and Momma Cat are played by actors in a cat suit (the same suit, in fact). Left unresolved is the question of why a human adult male is married to an anthropomorphic cat.
- Advertised Extra:
- Vivica A. Fox is only in the film for one scene and Erik Estrada only appears in the same scene and the Hollywood Christmas Parade scene but are featured on the DVD cover.
- Cynthia Rothrock has a voice-only role in the recut version Cool Cat Kids Superhero, but is billed with her face on the DVD cover. An older version of the Director's Cut covers has both Rothrock's face and Momma Cat (the character she voices) at the same time.
- Aesop Amnesia: One scene has one of Cool Cat's friends nearly get hit by a car, which of course leads to a lecture about how you should always look both ways when crossing the street. Then, in the very next scene, Butch the Bully appears on the other side of the street with candy that he just stole from babies, and Cool Cat runs after him across the street without looking both ways.
- Affectionate Nickname: Cool Cat refers to Derek as "Daddy Derek".
- All-Loving Hero: Cool Cat. He loves everyone (including you) and wants to make sure you know it.Cool Cat (showing off famous cars at the parade): It's Herbie the Love Bug! AND I LOVE YOU!
- Anachronism Stew: In Crazy Dream (released in 2019), as Cool Cat is waving to the people while driving home, a poster for Last Resort (which ran from 2012 to 2013) can be seen, which only makes it even more obvious that the whole thing is nothing but reused footage.
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: The cast gathers together to share an anti-bullying Aesop with the audience after the closing credits.
- And That's Terrible: During the Spinning Paper opening:Derek: We have terrible news. Bullies have been picking on children everywhere and it is tragic.
- Also there's this...Maria: Oh no! This text says that I'm fat and ugly! Am I fat and ugly?
Cool Cat: No, and that's TERRIBLE! You're very, very pretty!
- Also there's this...
- Angry Eyebrows: When Cool Cat finally stands up to Butch the Bully, his eyebrows are suddenly placed down at the bottom of his forehead. The brows are still in that position in the wide shot before Butch walks up, making it look like◊ Cool Cat is royally pissed off about building sandcastles.
- Arc Words: As documented in this video, "cool" is said an excessive number of times in the film, as part of Cool Cat's name, and as part of his constant reminders to do "cool" things and to avoid doing things that are "not cool".
- Artistic License – Education: This film makes you question if Derek really knows all that much about youth bullying.
- The film presents Butch as an outcast in school, and repeatedly states that he, and bullies in general, "never have any friends". In reality most, if not all cases of bullying, the ones without friends will be the ones being bullied, while the bullies are almost always the more popular children who work in packs to pick on the kids who are different, not entirely unlike Cool Cat and his group.
- Shouting really loudly at a bully will not make them go away. If anything, they will just harass you even more now that they know they will provoke a reaction from you, which is exactly what they want.
- In both the book and film, the scene where Butch bullies Maria and Cool Cat at the sandpit is happening in full view of adult supervisors, and in the book is happening at Cool Cat's own house. Childhood bullying happens at public areas like schools and playgroundsnote , and bullies will actively avoid tormenting their victims in front of adults specifically to ensure that they're not seen or punished for it.
- As Himself: Derek Savage, Vivica A. Fox, and Erik Estrada all appear in the movie playing very cheesy versions of themselves. Eric Roberts and Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse also appear in a bonus feature to give gun safety PSAs.
- Author Avatar: Daddy Derek is obviously one for Derek Savage. Cool Cat himself is also one as he was essentially created as a mouthpiece for Derek.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animal:
- Cool Cat wears a shirt and shorts but no footwear.
- Mama Cat wears a dress, but no shoes.
- Big Bad: Butch the Bully. His vile list of crimes include kicking sandcastles, vandalizing the neighbourhood and attempting to bring a gun to school because he wants "fat time".
- Bleached Underpants:
- The actor who plays the police officer who arrests Butch the Bully, Steve Crest, has previously appeared in a number of porn films.
- Derek Savage himself both posed for Playgirl and wrote a novel dealing with the life of a male stripper in the past.
- Broken Aesop: The movie has enough of these for its own page.
- The Bully: Butch the Bully likes to send mean texts and emails, and kicks down sandcastles, all for the fun of being a bully.
- Carpet of Virility: Daddy Derek likes to wear partly-unbuttoned dress shirts and low-cut t-shirts that show off his chest hair. In a kids' movie.
- Clueless Aesop:
- The morality concerning why bullies do what they do comes across as this due to a stilted delivery. Cool Cat tells every bully he encounters that they do what they do simply because they have no friends, forgetting that most of the kids that generally get picked on are the ones with few friends/supporters. (Hence why bullies often target them in the first place) As YMS put it, "it's bullies themselves that travel in packs." While feelings of loneliness can be a factor in lashing out, the movie presents it as the sole reason bullying exists.
- The film obviously can't say guns can kill someone if mishandled, making it unclear why kids should tell an adult if they find one. Butch also intends on using the gun to take other kids' lunch money, something he could probably do by intimidating them with his fists, since the actual function of guns can't be addressed.
- In the recut versions, Cool Cat tells Maria that she shouldn't open messages from people she doesn't know, but she can in this instant because he's there with her. Then, when Maria suggests that the message could be about winning money in a contest, instead of warning her that it's likely a scam designed to steal personal information, Cool Cat instead cheers that they can go on a trip together. The message comes across as "don't open messages from strangers, but it's okay to give information to said strangers if they've told you that they're going to give you something". note
- Coincidental Broadcast: There are several radio bulletins about Butch's candy-stealing spree, which also crosses over into Worst News Judgment Ever.
- Compilation Movie: The film was stitched together from three separate Cool Cat short films on different topics (Stops Bullying, In the Hollywood Parade, and Finds a Gun), and the Director's Cut version adds footage from the unreleased Cool Cat Flips a House. This explains why the movie is so disjointed.
- Cool Cat: Take a guess who it is...
- Cyberbullying: The movie attempts to address this issue. Butch sends mean texts to Maria and mean emails to Cool Cat, but Cool Cat decides to feed the troll on the second instance, and he encouraged Maria to open the unsolicited text.
- Damned by Faint Praise: The cover blurb ("Cool Cat is Cooler than Barney the Dinosaur!") is an unintentional example. Even funnier since it's actually a quote from the film's producer (who, according to Jason Johnson, got that title simply because he was Savage's roommate at the time).
- Department of Redundancy Department: The posters in Cool Cat's room say things like "Cool Cat is the Coolest Cool Cat".
- Deep South: Derek Savage's accent strongly implies he is from here.note And in the original cut of the movie Momma Cat also speaks with a distinctive Southern accent, though loses it when her lines are re-recorded by Cynthia Rothrock for Cool Cat Kids Superhero re-cut.
- Did I Mention It's Christmas?: Although a good chunk of the movie is devoted to Cool Cat's appearance in the Hollywood Christmas Parade, the season isn't otherwise really even mentioned. There is a Christmas tree plus some indoor holiday lights at his house.
- Flat Character: Pretty much everyone. Butch the Bully is a cliche bully with no reason or backstory for doing the things that he does in the movie, Maria exists solely to be Cool Cat's friend, and more.
- Funny Background Event: Many unintentional ones:
- When Cool Cat confronts the graffiti sprayers: a man can be seen walking out of a house then slowly backing up when he realizes he's in the shot. If you pay close attention to some of the shots before this you'll notice that the house he's walking out of is actually Cool Cat's house, so he's probably a crew member, but one interpretation is that he's a random guy who lives in the same neighborhood and wants nothing to do with this madness.
- At one point you can see Cool Cat's tail get caught on a bush near his front door.
- Genre-Busting: The DVD cover describes it as "an anti-bullying kid's [sic] gun safety movie". In actuality, it's an educational film with some musical numbers and even a couple of attempts at intentional comedy (far outnumbered by the unintentionally funny moments, though).
- George Lucas Altered Version:
- Savage made a new version of the film in mid-2015 in response to YMS' review, with a few minor cuts and dialogue redubs (in response to some of the backlash against specific scenes), plus a couple new scenes.
- Cool Cat Kids Superhero (sic) is actually just Cool Cat Saves the Kids with the aforementioned changes, as well as 13 minutes or so of new footage and Cynthia Rothrock replacing April Ann Reese as the voice of Momma Cat. Also, the credits backdrop is changed into a movie theater, rather than a red carpet, and Maria's Title Drop is replaced with "We'll name it: Cool Cat is a Hero!" using audio from that same scene.
- Another new cut, Cool Cat Saves the Kids: Director's Cut, adds footage from the unreleased Cool Cat Flips a House and has Savage dub over Jason Johnson as Cool Cat; both the Saves the Kids and Kids Superhero introductions are used.
- Goofy Suit: Cool Cat (and Momma Cat) is portrayed by an actor wearing one.note
- Gratuitous Rap: "Cool Cat Boogie", which even starts out with "Yo! Yo! My name is Cool Cat." Cool Cat Kids Superhero adds a second one, "Cool Cat Rap Master", with vocals by Derek Savage (which puts it into Piss-Take Rap territory).
- Halfway Plot Switch: About halfway through the movie, they stop talking about bullying and just focus on how cool Cool Cat is. Then they go back to the bullying.
- I Shall Taunt You: In Cool Cat Kids Superhero, Maria taunts Butch about Cool Cat being in the Parade and she and Cool Cat going to a movie star's house later. Just earlier, she was complaining about being bullied by him, and now, there she is, doing the same thing to Butch.
- I Should Write a Book About This: After Butch is arrested the first time, Mikey tells Cool Cat that a movie should be made about him, and Maria thinks of a possible title: "Cool Cat Saves the Kids".
- Large Ham: Cool Cat constantly speaks in a very excited manner. There's also Butch the Bully, who acts more like a supervillain than anything else; Connor Dean (the child actor playing him) clearly enjoyed every second of the role. Then there's Erik Estrada.Erik: Did you see that!? That kid kicked sand in Cool Cat's FACE!
Vivica: And where is COOL CAT?!Erik: THERE HE ISSS!Vivica: (tilts head and gives a look of joy bordering on amazement and awe)
- Daddy Derek seems really excited in every scene he's in.
- Vivica A. Fox is no slouch either.
- Left Hanging: It is never elaborated on as to either why there was a gun in Cool Cat's backyard, or who left it there in the first place.
- Multilingual Song: The song "Cool Cat Loves to Rock" features verses in both English and Spanish.
- Mundane Made Awesome: A small-time Christmas parade, and Cool Cat's minor participation in it, is treated with the same weight as if it's a huge amazing spectacle.
- Parental Bonus: The scene where Cool Cat checks out cars from old movies and TV shows. At the time this movie came out, how many of the kids in the movie's target demo do you think had ever seen Magnum, P.I., Ghostbusters, or Smokey and the Bandit? Oddly, they completely ignore the Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo and the Turtle Van, shows that are actually for children.
- Poe's Law: After the YMS episodes with the film debuted, there was debate over whether it was, on some level, actually a Stealth Parody, since the over-the-topness of Cool Cat and the shoddiness of the production was so blatant. But Derek's later actions proved that the cluelessness of the film was genuine.
- Product Placement:
- The movie is promoting the existing Cool Cat novels and T-shirts. Derek also advertises his Kramer guitar signed by Van Halen. You can buy that, too, if you have $7,000 to spare.
- Cool Cat writes a story about Trolly the Trout, who just happens to be the star of another series of Derek Savage books.
- Random Events Plot: The story just meanders from one vignette to the next, with none of the events really relating to each other.
- Re-Cut: In addition to the original shorts, there have been at least four different cuts of this film:
- The original release, which was retroactively known as the YMS cut.
- Derek's recut in response to YourMovieSucks.org's review, which primarily focused on removing technical mistakes and correcting poor advice. Cool Cat is redubbed to warn Maria that the message on her phone could be dangerous, but that she should open it anyway. Another change was the removal a man walking out of his house in the background of a scene and then walking back in confusion.
- A later recut of the film was released under the name Cool Cat Kids Superhero (sic) in 2018. This edit changes some lines as well as adding additional scenes of Cool Cat doing more irrelevant activities, Maria bullying Butch and Butch watching Cool Cat during the Hollywood Parade. Momma Cat is now voiced by Cynthia Rothrock instead of April Berry. Also, the scene where it appears that Cool Cat is "pleasuring himself" is also axed from this version of the film.
- In 2021, Savage announced a "Director's Cut" of the film which reverts the title back to Cool Cat Saves the Kids and brings the runtime up to 100 minutes, in addition to Savage dubbing over Jason Johnson's performance as Cool Cat. The new footage is recycled from the unreleased short Cool Cat Flips a House.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: At one point a man comes out of his house across the street, takes one look at Cool Cat, and then walks back into his house.
- Serious Business: The movie treats the Hollywood Christmas Parade, which is a fairly minor event, especially compared to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Rose Parade, like it's one of the biggest spectacles in the world.
- Everything Butch the Bully does is treated like this, to the point where he's shoved into the back of a police car for literally taking candy from babies. Even the act of stealing candy is bad enough to warrant the news reporter to refer to the perpetrator(s) as "bad guys".
- "Sesame Street" Cred: Vivica A. Fox and Erik Estrada appear, for given value of "cred".
- The Walk of Fame shots show the stars of Elvis Presley and Alice Cooper. In the Director's Cut version, the shot of Cooper's star is replaced with a new shot showing the star of Chuck Norris.
- In the Director's Cut version, during the Flips a House segment Cool Cat says he feels like "a cat in The Wizard of Oz".
- Aside from the various cars Cool Cat encounters during the parade, there are several moments in the aforementioned parade in which Cool Cat is riding down the street while a Jokey Smurf balloon floats by. The recuts also add another scene of Cool Cat encountering a Elmo balloon.
- Species Surname: Momma Cat answers the phone with "Hello, this is the Cat residence" and Maria calls her and Daddy Derek "Mr. and Mrs. Cat", implying that all three family members have the last name Cat. But later in the movie, Derek says his name is Derek Savage.
- Spiritual Successor: The inept No Budget filmmaking, disjointed storyline, Big-Lipped Alligator Moments, Narm, hammy acting (especially by child actors) and the presence of a bizarre character in a Goofy Suit who's treated like some beloved icon make this seem like a modern-day Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny.
- Stock Footage: Lots of it is used throughout the film. For example, in the Hollywood Christmas Parade scene, actual footage from the broadcasts of the 2011 and 2012 events (which Derek and Cool Cat attended) is utilized.
- Team Power Walk: Used for some reason when Cool Cat, Maria, Mikey, and Daddy Derek walk to school.
- Third-Person Person: Cool Cat lapses into this from time to time.Cool Cat looooves to boogie woogie!
- Title Drop: Very blatantly meta.Mikey: They should make a kids' movie about you!
Maria: We'll name it Cool Cat Saves The Kids!
- Totally Radical: Derek thinks kids still say things like "punked", "groovy" and "exquisite", which are terms that haven't been used by kids in Real Life since possibly 1972.
- The Unintelligible: A lot of people in this universe seem incapable of speaking properly occasionally.
- Maria: "I made a work area with the blankey ass'em morse heinz plies!" note
- Butch: "I'n gonna pung gump!" note
- Erik Estrada: "Dat kit kik san in koo cat fayce" note
- Cool Cat "It's serially fantaaaaaa e! e! e! eeeeeeee!" note
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Nobody seems to think that it's strange that a giant bipedal sentient cat exists.
- Vague Age: Cool Cat. On one hand, he generally acts like a young child and apparently goes to elementary school. On the other, he's played by a grown man, shows interest in shows and movies most kids have never even heard of, and drives a car at one point.
- Villainous Glutton: Between stealing candy from babies and planning to use a gun to make kids give him their lunch money, it's safe to say Butch the Bully qualifies.
- Whip Pan: The camera quickly and blurrily pans to where Butch is revealed to be the candy thief.
- Younger Than They Look: Cool Cat is apparently in elementary school as evidenced by the fact that part of the movie's plot has him running for class president. But he is played by and is the size of a grown man, and he drives a car, so it's hard to buy into his apparent age.
- "And where is Cool Cat?"