Death of the Critic

Why Did I Watch That? - Nine Lives

Written by: Tom Blaich


I watched a bad movie today. It is sort of a guilty pleasure of mine. Watching bad movies that is. I revel in the terrible plots, paper-thin characters, cheesy effects, and wooden acting. It fuels me.
I love them in a way that I can’t quite describe, or feel about bad games or music. To me, bad films deserve to be recognized, talked about, and maybe occasionally ridiculed. This one is no exception.

There are some movies that I can’t bring myself to hate, no matter how bad they actually are. Nine Lives is one of these movies that inhabits a special place in the pantheon of awful cinema. My editor would probably disagree, especially after I made him watch this movie with me. Nine Lives is awful in a transcendental way, a true piece of terrible art that would be hard to match, even if you were trying to make the worst “film” possible. It is not often that a movie does everything wrong, and in a way that is so entertaining.

I have no idea how they managed to secure both Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Garner for this movie. They are better than this, and a part of me wonders what piece of blackmail the producers had on them to not only bring them on set, but keep them there throughout filming. To say that these two phoned in their performances would be an understatement, and the energy they brought to their roles couldn’t light a match. Yet with all that being said, I would watch this movie again in a heartbeat.

Kevin Spacey is a talking cat.

He gets trapped in the body of his furry feline companion after he is pushed off of the roof of a skyscraper by one of his employees. You see, Kevin Spacey is a bit of a dick who seems only to care about his building being bigger than everyone else’s. He’s slowly driving his family away, and his employees hate him. He has no time for his wife or daughter, and in a desperate bid to get his daughter to stop bugging him, he decides to buy a cat for her birthday from the mysteriously magical Christopher Walken. But after his fateful accident his body lies in a coma and he has to put his life on paws and try to learn the true meaning of family. Or he’ll be trapped as a cat forever.

Wacky hijinks ensue.

In general the entire production felt soulless, yet at the same time, I kind of loved it. This is clearly a movie meant for children, and not for adults who wish they were still children, and maybe that is why I can forgive its terrible CGI, wooden acting, poor script, and unfunny jokes. Maybe it was that Christopher Walken looks like he stumbled onto set and doesn’t know that he’s in a movie. Maybe it is the fact that watching Kevin Spacey being forced to play a cat that drinks scotch, pisses on everything, and yet remains perfectly sassy, pleased me on a spiritual level.

You should probably watch this movie. It is one of those “films” that will eventually be talked about it alongside other pillars of the awful film community like The Room or Troll 2. To call it filmmaking would be doing a disservice to someone, yet I loved it. Make sure to make one of your friends watch it for maximum enjoyment. They won’t thank you.



Tom has been writing about media since he was a senior in high school. He likes long walks on the beach, dark liquor, and when characters reload guns in action movies.

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