What?! Tom Brand (Kevin Spacey) is a high powered business man who only cares about one thing: his brand (get it?). After getting a cat as a present for his daughter, a freak series of events leaves his body in a coma and his spirit trapped in the cat! What a cat-astrophe! Can he learn to love and live as a cat before his business is sold and he loses his family forever? Nine Lives!
Why?! The primary impetus in the film is that Tom Brand is a shitty guy and needs to change. He loves his family, but doesn’t show it very well and appears to love his business and himself more than them. So the mysterious pet store owner, Mr. Purrrkins, turns him into a cat to teach him lesson. Basically, if he can’t learn to live as a cat in his own house, then he can’t learn to love and will remain a cat forever.
How?! It isn’t really made particularly clear how being a cat will teach Spacey to love or what he had to do to be free. He is just told to act like a cat. However by the end of the film you come to understand that it’s more about being there for the people in his family when they need him (just like a cat is… or whatever). He plays with his daughter and comes to understand that simply being there is what she needs. He snuggles with his wife and comes to understand that he needs to be a comfort for her when she needs comforting. And finally he comes to understand that he needs to recognize his grown son for the skills and loyalty that he has ignored for so long. Throughout the film the son is dealing with a fairly complex business scheme that the COO of Brand’s company has undertaken in the absence of Tom (just what the kiddos are craving in a film: intricate business talk). Only by truly understanding his son’s contributions to his success is he finally able to be free.
Who?! I’ll give a little shoutout to Talitha Bateman, who played the daughter of Tom’s first wife from a new marriage. Not only is she already a BMT veteran (playing Teacup in The 5th Wave), but she had one of the better running gags in the film. It becomes clear that she is a minor internet celebrity and posts amusing videos to a youtube-type channel. It’s an unacknowledged subplot of the film and even initiated my favorite joke of the film (where a security guard tasers his partner in the testicles while trying to catch Tom as the cat… can’t go wrong tasering testicles).
Where?! Pretty standard New York City fare. We get direct confirmation of the setting, numerous license plates, and even some GPS map visuals. However it is definitely not integral to the plot. Could have been Chicago pretty easily. C+.
When?! There is nothing that explicitly tells you the date. Did I give up? No! Scouring the film I found a scene on a bus with an extra reading a New York Times. The front cover clearly indicates that it was the April 2nd, 2015 issue. A vast majority of New York City dwellers will be reading the current issue so we can say that the film takes place on or around April 2nd, 2015. I’m the best. D-.
One last quick note about Nine Lives. It is the newest edition of Chris Klein’s Number Line, where we try to collect integers that appear naturally in a film’s title. This is the 17th such title that we’ve watched (Patrick’s Note: We watched the 17th title a mere week before the beginning to 2017? Coincidence or a sign from above?). It’ll end the day that Chris Klein himself makes a number line title… so it’ll never end. Hooray! I’ll also make a visual for this game for the site at some point. For now you just have to trust me.
‘Ello everyone! Nine Lives? More like Weak Try (haaaaaaalf-rhymes. Nine Lives is a surprisingly hard rhyming trick). We watched Nine Lives, a movie where Kevin Spacey is a cat. I slide head first into second with the lowest of low expectations, let’s go!
- The Good – This movie isn’t as bad as you would think. Merely by not having Kevin Spacey act like a cat and instead put him in a movie-long coma it was a major win. Things are a bit fun, but it’s a kids’ movie. Do you like kids’ movies? I don’t. So I didn’t really like this movie. No skin off my back.
- The Bad – Basically this movie immediately jumps in the middle of a very adult story of corporate power brokerage. It is boring to me, let alone kids who just want to see a cat run around. The CGI cat looks terrible. This is also not a body switch movie. Kevin Spacey does not run around acting like a cat. That was definitely in the original script, but they clearly cut it in order to get better talent all around. He is in a coma during the movie, and thus never acts like a cat. Mistake for entertaining Patrick, smart move in making this movie tolerable.
- The BMT – There are a ton of things going for this movie from a BMT perspective. It has a terrible CGI animal; to the point where Kevin Spacey was probably on set for two days, and in the studio for two more, and that was his shooting schedule. They definitely made back their money from LG and Lexus in product placement. And this is a classic example of mixing two genres: why are kids interested in high level corporate sabotage again? Oh yeah, they aren’t, why is that literally half of this movie then? It is BMT, but just by being a great example of: (1) Body switch that isn’t body switch, (2) mixing an adult storyline into a kids movie, (3) product placement, (4) star power that was on set for fifteen seconds total. It is solid. But not as bad as you would think.
Obviously let’s go for a Prequel/Sequel/Remake and obviously we are doing a sequel. I will call it Ten Lives. The cat from Nine Lives is living out his ninth life with the Spaceys when sadly it is time to say good bye. But nay, after winning in the business world and winning with his family, there is only one last thing Kevin Spacey needs to conquer … the afterlife. Travelling through hell Kevin Spacey learns exactly how much his earthly success means for his soul. Spoiler alert: Not much!! Upon finding Mr. Fuzzypants can he convince Cat St. Peter that their furry friend deserves a tenth life? Find out in Ten Lives!