A couple of months back, Adam Johnston of YourMovieSucks fame uploaded the following film review to his YouTube channel, initiating a cult following for the remarkably child-loving furry hero known simply as “Cool Cat”:
In case you’re too frightened to click that thumbnail, Cool Cat is basically the favorite creation of Hollywood-based filmmaker Derek Savage, and his entire concept with the Cool Cat character is to teach valuable lessons to children about gun safety, bullying, crimes, and other things that the movie in question seems to have an at best vague understanding of. Nonetheless, Savage seems at first glance like he’s just a nice and friendly old chum who, in spite of how stupid and low-budget (and often creepy) his film comes off to some, really just wants what’s best for kids and hopes that they’ll grow to love his “groovy 90’s kid” feline character. It especially seemed that way when his response to the YMS review was befriending Adam and letting him be in his next movie (I have a feeling it is about gun self-defense and women). He probably doesn’t take it too seriously if grown-ups make fun of his work because his heart is just in such a gosh darned good place, right??
Hoo boy howdy, just you guys wait, ‘cuz that’s only what happens if your review results in Savage getting a vaster following and getting to sell more Cool Cat merchandise thanks to the exposure your review gets him, even if your review is still technically negative and all of Cool Cat’s new fans are mostly ironic. However, if your review allegedly only sends a bunch of trolls Savage’s way, or just critiques the movie in a way that’s more obvious in its negativity, be prepared to get the same treatment this poor sap got:
YouTube rant extraordinaire I Hate Everything has lately been running a series called The Search for The Worst, in which he looks through the worst rated movies on IMDb and aims to find the shittiest one of the bunch. This was all going swiftly until he reached a little movie called Cool Cat Saves The Kids, which he was encouraged to review by mutual fans of his and Adam’s. He posted his review and accompanying reaction video a week or so back, and it all went downhill from there.
Somehow, Derek Savage came upon the video and it is as of yet unclear to me precisely what happened. Either he started being harassed by IHE’s fans after the video came out (his claim) or he simply found that this one review in particular wouldn’t ensure him the same amounts of dough that Adam’s video ultimately got him (the more likely truth). Whatever the case: Savage filed a copyright strike against IHE’s channel, accusing him of pure theft and forcing him to take down the video. Stay with me, it doesn’t end here.
Now, anyone who remembers the debacle that occured between Tommy Wiseau and The Nostalgia Critic after the latter’s video review of The Room was taken down for “copyright infringement” knows that there’s a thing called “Fair Use”, which allows critics to use footage from a copyrighted work so long as they provide some manner of commentary or perhaps parody the work. IHE, for instance, knows this, so he decided to contact Savage directly about it. Savage ignored his emails at first, mainly talking shit about IHE to his followers on Twitter and being all around butt-hurt but he eventually wrote IHE back, seeming more uncharacteristically salty and threatening than ever, definitely not in a way you’d expect from the cheerful father from Cool Cat Fondles The Kids.
In the end, Savage vowed to take severe legal action against IHE’s channel if he not only (A) re-uploads his Cool Cat reviews but also (B) REFRAINS from deleting his perfectly legal vlog videos related to the incident, such as the one I’ve linked to below, basically implying that he’s not even allowed to speak Cool Cat’s name at this point. If there’s any proof that this is about petty censorship as opposed to copyright, I’d say that was it.
Here is IHE’s summary of everything that went down after Derek “Daddy Derek” Savage came across his review and the shitstorm started:
Note also the showcasing of Savage’s apparent blindness to when his new “fans” are actually joking. If he can’t tell when someone’s using his character to make 9/11 jokes, what makes you think he’s gonna be able to grasp that the YMS review also mocked his film and that IHE isn’t actually doing anything wrong? It’s getting harder to tell if the reason Savage still gives Adam a pass is all the money he’s been getting from his irony-fueled fanbase or that he’s genuinely deluded himself into thinking that they’re all totally serious about loving his body of work. It doesn’t matter, of course, since neither of those things are a determening factor to whether or not people are allowed to talk about your movies, but still.
According to IHE’s subsequent vlog videos, this isn’t the first time Daddy Derek has had reviews of his work deleted from YouTube solely because, again, unlike Adam’s review they’re blatantly negative in a way that Savage can actually wrap his head around and also won’t make him rich. In terms of “copyright crimes”, they are no more at fault than Adam was and whether or not they encourage people to check out your film and buy your T-shirts has no bearing on that fact, okay Derek? Criticism is going to happen; people don’t have to promote your merchandise first.
Really, from the childish way in which Savage apparently reacts when someone talks smack about his movies, he seriously comes off as even LESS self-aware and even MORE oblivious a filmmaker than the aforementioned Wiseau. He isn’t just the innocently friendly and caring old man who just wants kids to be taught good lessons in the end. He legitimately believes that he has created his own personal
The Room Citizen Kane with this crap and he’ll be literally gosh darned if anyone publicly disagrees with that.
Don’t believe me? Check out the following video in which Savage gives us his own two cents on this controversy and also confidently declares that we all know Cool Cat is “THE” anti-bullying film. He’s also kind enough to “explain” Fair Use and copyright to us (mainly using irrelevant and/or cherrypicked cases) since he, in his own words, has “studied låwl”:
EDIT: Predictably, ratings for this video have been disabled and he has been removing most of the negative comments. Mine’s still up, though, presumably since it’s more sarcastic, less direct and all around too complex for him to notice. EDIT 2: Re-upload. The original video was deleted by Daddy-o after he realized how silly this was. I hope.
Okay, so, here’s what Derek Savage’s understanding of “Fair Use” is according to my approximate interpretation of his rambling: “Comments on the YouTube page or comments on the Yahoo”. Now, as infinitely eloquent as that is, I don’t think that’s what people are trying to say to Derek when explaining why IHE’s video didn’t break any laws. But I guess it doesn’t matter either way since Derek seems 100% certain that everything we know about Fair Use is just something we’ve seen dumb teenagers write online and that it’s all just bogus. Yep, that must be it.
I do feel bad for IHE and I have no hopes of this ending in his favor, at least insofar as he doesn’t get to re-upload his Cool Cat video to YouTube. Tommy Wiseau, as bizarre and detached from humanity as he is, still understood that people are permitted to talk about his movies at the end of the day, meaning the Nostalgia Critic review is still available for all to see. When you manage to seem less open-minded than someone as seemingly beyond repair as the clueless ghoul who made The Room, you have made an achievement far greater than just writing and directing your own cinematic masterpiece.
As Adam of YMS would say: “Bravo, Savage” (yes, that WAS sarcastic and no, my readers WON’T buy your toys).
That’s all for now, folks! Always know where your cat nip is!
A NOTE: I decided to write about news on a smaller scale for this “News” post since I figured you’ve all heard enough people cover Paris and terrorism this past week. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go ask my Facebook friends why none of those ignorant fucks changed their profile pictures to the Galactic Republic’s flag after the Jedi Temple bombing. #PrayForCoruscant
UPDATE, 2015-11-28: The good guys win this round, folks! Even if both of these men have made mistakes (Adam honestly being the one that made the most sense), it’s nice to see that the side that’s ultimately in favor of free speech gets to triupmh every now and then. Here’s the final word, as posted on I Hate Everything’s channel:
And yes, as IHE stated, when Adam made his own video and explained in better detail why Savage was wrong and IHE was right, possibly being the one to put the final nail in the coffin of this debacle, Savage apparently revoked the cameo Adam was supposed to have in his upcoming gun-safety movie. Derek, in the unlikely event that you read this, I want you to know that I completely agree with you. Adam is too good for someone with such a loose grasp on why he’s actually famous and such a fragile ego. And since Adam was essentially the one who made you and Cool Cat a thing in the first place, thus directly hepling you sell more shit: well, good riddance.