The Nine Lives of Christmas
Christmas is that time of year when one thinks of cat based romance tales (or tails), and finally someone has made a film about the thoughts that every normal person has during the season. The Nine Lives of Christmas is a nice fun film that lets the charisma of the actors and lead cat overcome a weaker script. At points things come together a bit too easily, which lessens the impacts of the personal insecurities both Zachary and Marilee are feeling. But those objections are largely inconsequential as the film is charming enough to rise above that to deliver some holiday cheer.
The best part of The Nine Lives of Christmas is that it is pretty much a reverse Garfield movie. Instead of a sassy fat cat, Ambrose is a sweet friendly cat. Instead of a dorky cartoonist, Zachary Stone is a dreamy firefighter. Instead of a vet who constantly rejects his advances, Marilee White is a vet student whose life goals give her the excuses she needs to reject a social life. And the cat doesn’t talk. Before I knew anything about the film except for a rough plot outline, it was already the film from Hallmark’s 12 Movies of Christmas event that I was most interested in.
When you think of Christmas, you think of cats and firefighters and television movies that resemble the Garfield Movie. Thus, Hallmark delivers again with The Nine Lives of Christmas! Yes, a hunky firefighter adopts an orange cat and begins a love affair with a vet, even though neither of them will be dating for most of the duration of the film. Sadly, the cat does not appear to talk or do humorous things like hate Mondays or eat lasagna, but the firefighter is Superman – Brandon Routh!
Besides Brandon Routh as cat-adopting firefighter Zachary Stone, The Nine Lives of Christmas stars Kimberley Sustad (Super Buddies) as Marilee White, Stephanie Bennett (Leprechaun: Origins) as Jaclyn, Chelsea Hobbs as Blair, Sean Tyson as Rey, Dalias Blake as Mark, and Gregory Harrison as Sam.
The Nine Lives of Christmas is directed by Mark Jean (Finding Mrs. Claus), and is written by Nancey Silvers (who wrote two films with amazing titles –> Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy and Love at the Thanksgiving Day Parade!)
Fireman Zachary Stone (Routh) is a confirmed bachelor who doesn’t believe in love or commitment. When a stray, tabby cat named Ambrose shows up at his door, Zachary takes him in and slowly starts to see that a little companionship might not be so bad after all. Zachary’s commitment to solitude is further challenged when he meets Marilee (Sustad), an animal lover and veterinary student who teaches Zachary how to care for his new feline roommate. Chemistry immediately develops between the two, but Marilee has vowed not to date until she graduates and Zachary is not ready to jeopardize his independence, though he senses Marilee is special.
With Christmas rapidly approaching, Marilee’s sister Jaclyn (Bennett) convinces her to add romance to her nose-to-the-grindstone life of work and school, while fire chief Sam (Harrison) encourages Zachary to understand the importance of love, marriage and having someone special with whom to share the holidays. When Zachary’s model girlfriend Blair (Hobbs) pressures him to get rid of Ambrose and has Marilee fired from her job at a pet supply store that her father owns, Zachary sees the light, realizing he is in love with Marilee and that life is better if shared with someone special.
The Nine Lives of Christmas is an entry in The 12 New Movies of Christmas, part of Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas. It premieres November 8th on Hallmark Channel! Weirdly enough, this is the Hallmark Channel movie that I am the most excited about. So bring it on!
Photos by David Owen Strongman and Katie Yu via Hallmark Press
Christmas comes earlier each year, where soon Christmas will be year round and we will have a cure for overpopulation as millions kill themselves after the 5000th replay of Baby, It’s Cold Outside. On that note, Hallmark Channel has announced their two month long Christmas movie extravaganza! In September! Which sort of makes sense, because the first movie is on November 1st. Normally these cable channels are pretty bad at doing publicity for the film events on their station, so when a big press release gets dumped on their site as a news story, it’s my duty to copy it here (with commentary!), and then bring up each film again as their premiere dates get closer. It’s also a big reveal which one of the 12 movies Hallmark is pushing the most, because one film already has its own section on HallmarkChannel.com! Can you predict which one it is based on the 12 movie descriptions? You just might be surprised!
One Starry Christmas
Saturday, November 1, 8/7c
Starring: Sarah Carter, Damon Runyan, George Canyon, Paul Popowhich
An aspiring astronomy professor finds unexpected Christmas romance when she meets a charming cowboy during her holiday travel. As she decides between this new cowboy and her practical boyfriend, she must decide whether it’s better to play it safe in love, or let an adventurous cowboy steal her heart.
Wait, is this the plot of Back to the Future III? Will that cowboy have a secret weather experiment somewhere? Sadly, no. But it does have white people in love!
The Nine Lives of Christmas
Saturday, November 8, 8/7c
Starring: Brandon Routh, Kimberley Sustad, Stephanie Bennett, Chelsea Hobbs, Sean Tyson, Dalias Blake, Gregory Harrison
With Christmas approaching, a handsome fireman afraid of commitment adopts a stray cat and meets a beautiful veterinary student who challenges his decision to remain a confirmed bachelor.
I’m not sure what the cat has to do with the plot, except for the fact it made me care about the film. And will be a guaranteed better Christmas cat movie than The Grumpy Cat movie. Superman is a firefighter and has a cat, and loves a vet lady, this will be ratings gold. It’s also unofficial Garfield fan fiction!
A Cookie Cutter Christmas
Sunday, November 9, 8/7c
Starring: Erin Krakow, Alan Thicke, David Haydn-Jones, Miranda Frigon, Laura Soltis, Genae Marie Charpentier
Two longtime rivals and elementary school teachers duke it out during the holidays in a Christmas cookie bake-off, but their real feud ignites over a shared interest in a handsome single dad. With both determined to win the prize and the romance, their competitiveness could jeopardize what matters most this Christmas season.
This sounds like an episode of a sitcom, but could make a funny romance film. Or at least make me want to get cookies!
Saturday, November 15, 8/7c
Starring: Tiffani Thiessen, Josh Hopkins, Bailee Madison, Max Charles, Candice Glover, Robert Wagner, Jill St. John
Northpole, the magical city where Santa and his elves live and work is in trouble. Families around the globe have gotten too busy to enjoy the season together, and Northpole depends on their holiday happiness to keep running. In the hopes of turning things around, a determined young elf befriends a little boy with a lot of spirit. His skeptical journalist mom doesn’t have room in her heart for anything but the facts, so it’s going to take a little nudge from his charming teacher to create an unbeatable Christmas team to turn around this town and share the importance of the season with the whole world.
People are too burnt out about Christmas to enjoy Christmas, brought to you by a two-month long Christmas movie marathon advertised in September??
Angels and Ornaments
Sunday, November 16, 8/7c
Starring: Jessalyn Gilsig, Sergio Di Zio, Graham Abbey, Samantha Espie, Roger Doche
Corrine’s holiday season gets an unexpected dose of romance when she meets the mysterious Harold, who is on a deadline from a higher power to help Corrine find her true love by Christmas Eve. As the clock ticks down to Harold’s deadline, Corrine must decide if she will open up to Christmas love.
It’s not Christmas unless someone is doing a riff on It’s a Wonderful Life. In fact, there are THREE films on this list that involve angels finding love for people on Christmas. That almost makes up for there being no version of A Christmas Carol. Almost.
A Royal Christmas
Saturday, November 22, 8/7c
Starring: Lacey Chabert, Jane Seymour, Stephen Hagan, Katherine Flynn
A young working girl with a blue-collar background is surprised when her new fiancé announces he is actually a prince of a small sovereign country in Europe. After the couple quickly takes off to spend the holidays at his family’s sprawling, royal castle, she must work hard to win over her disapproving and unaccepting future mother-in-law—the Queen—and find out if love truly can conquer all.
Congrats! You’re now a princess and the media will hound you until they kill you, and the monarchy is an obsolete and ridiculous system in the 21st century. I think I’ll pass this one, even with Jane Seymour as the disapproving Queen.
The Christmas Shepherd
Sunday, November 23, 8/7c
Starring: Teri Polo, Martin Cummins, Jordyn Olson, Jill Teed
A successful children’s book author and Army widow loses her late husband’s German Shepherd, Buddy, only to later find him adopted by a new family – a single father and his daughter. Each finds a sense of Christmas spirit as they struggle to decide with whom the dog really belongs.
Yeah, yeah, they’re gonna get married. But there’s a dog, and maybe funny dog antics. And possibly scenes where Teri Polo and Martin Cummins hate each other before they love each other. But I’m mostly here for the dog.
Debbie Macomber’s Mr. Miracle
Saturday, November 29, 8/7c
Starring: Rob Morrow, Michelle Harrison, Britt Irvin, Sarah-Jane Redmond, Andrew Francis
Heavenly angel Harry Mills is sent to Earth on a trial assignment to intervene in the life of a woman who needs help getting her life on track after the death of her father. With a deadline of Christmas day, he attempts to help her heal in order to embrace a new future, and an unexpected love, just in time to celebrate the miracle of the holiday season.
Debbie Macomber is Hallmark’s golden goose, their films based on her romance novels score record ratings, and their first ever original series is based on her work. So it is only natural there is one of her stories in this huge batch of films, even if it is yet another angel romance Christmas film.
Christmas Under Wraps
Sunday, November 30, 8/7c
Starring: Candace Cameron Bure
When a driven doctor doesn’t get the prestigious position she planned for, she unexpectedly finds herself moving to a remote Alaskan town. While she meets the locals and even starts a new romance, she has to learn to let the life she planned for give way to a love she never could have imagined, and finds this festive small town is hiding one big holiday secret.
Gender-swapped Christmas Northern Exposure???
Christmas at Cartwrights
Saturday, December 6, 8/7c
Starring: Alicia Witt, Wallace Shawn
With Christmas approaching, a struggling single mom finds herself working as a department store Santa Claus, as a real-life angel delivers good fortune and the possibility of holiday romance.
So many angels will be getting their wings thanks to Hallmark Channel, that the resulting trillions of bells ringing will crack the Earth open and cause a mass calamity! I’m guessing Wallace Shawn is the angel, though it’d be hilarious if he was the love interest.
Best Christmas Party Ever
Saturday, December 13, 8/7c
Starring: Torrey DeVitto, Steve Lund, Linda Thorson and Harmon Walsh
With the holidays approaching, a young party planner arranges a special Christmas party for a New York toy store. When a powerful corporation threatens to shut her down, she decides to follow her heart, moving forward with the party plans and finding true love in time for Christmas.
Why is a powerful corporation picking on a poor party planner? I don’t know, but this will be the best Christmas party ever if it is the party that starts the revolution that puts the capitalist pigs against the walls! ¡Viva la Revolución!
The Christmas Parade
Sunday, December 14, 8/7c
Starring: AnnaLynne McCord, Jefferson Brown, Drew Scott
A popular network morning host finds herself humiliated on the air by her fiancé and disappears to a small town. While there, she helps a budding artist save a community art center for the town’s kids, by helping them with their float for the annual Christmas Parade.
Wait a minute, one of the Property Brothers is in this? I didn’t even know they had careers in made for tv movies! But is he the new love or the jerk ex-boyfriend? And will he get run over by a parade float? That would be a Christmas miracle!
Did you guess which one of these film Hallmark is already pushing with extra promotion? If you said Northpole, you are correct, though I have no idea why that one is getting the bump. I’m definitely most interested in The Nine Lives of Christmas, but I’ll give all these films their dues as their air dates approach and their trailers and promotional images begin to appear.
Categories: Movie News Tags: Alicia Witt, AnnaLynne McCord, Bailee Madison, Brandon Routh, Britt Irvin, Candace Cameron, Candice Glover, cats, Chelsea Hobbs, Dalias Blake, Damon Runyan, Drew Scott, George Canyon, Graham Abbey, Gregory Harrison, Hallmark, Jane Seymour, Jefferson Brown, Jessalyn Gilsig, Jill St. John, Jill Teed, Jordyn Olson, Josh Hopkins, Katherine Flynn, Kimberley Sustad, Lacey Chabert, Linda Thorson, Martin Cummins, Michelle Harrison, Movies gone to the dogs, Paul Popowhich, Rob Morrow, Robert Wagner, Roger Doche, Samantha Espie, Sarah Carter, Sean Tyson, Sergio Di Zio, Stephanie Bennett, Stephen Hagan, Steve Lund, Teri Polo, Tiffani Thiessen, Torrey DeVitto, Wallace Shawn
Confessions of a Go-Go Girl
Lifetime Channel is a gift to the movie world. It’s been constantly creating and showcasing an array of original dramas and has one of the most prolific content creation legacies of a channel in history. Of course, most of their film output is despised by critics if they even bother to think of them, because most critics wouldn’t know a good film if it married them while after the suspicious deaths of its three previous wives. TarsTarkas.NET is not afraid to do whatever it takes to find cinematic gold, even if we have to watch a channel for….women! I kid, I kid. But people who have an aversion to Lifetime films are just missing out on a whole barrel of fun! From Cyber Seduction to Social Nightmare, Lifetime is magical. Their films are so popular they got their own spinoff network! Even SyFy can’t boast of that feat. Thus, in celebration of Lifetime, we shall now watch this film about go-go dancing.
Confessions of a Go-Go Girl has an amazing title and an amazing plot, following innocent rich girl Jane McCoy as she’s lured into the increasingly sleazy world of go-go dancing, parts of which correlate with your favorite stories about women becoming strippers. But this isn’t stripping, it’s go-go dancing. It’s totally different. Go-go dancing can be shown on tv!
This go-go movie has the decency to be partially self-aware, sections which I’m guessing are legacies from the stage play it’s based on. Because huge other chunks are not self-aware at all. As the play “True Confessions of a Go-Go Girl” by Jill Morley sounds biographical, things were probably enhanced for television dramatics, much as a character attempts to enhance her chest via a character named Dr. Double D. As we shall see, neither option turns out too well, but Confessions of a Go-Go Girl does manage to entertain in a schlocky way, and you can see it as how Jane McCoy gains her confidence. Part of the fun is wondering just when her family is going to find out what she’s doing, and how bonkers their reactions are going to be. Because her family is pretty terrible. Not terrible in a dysfunctional way, but terrible in an afunctional way. Dad is overly controlling and angry, Mom is upper crust oblivious, her brother is a puritanical tyrant, and her boyfriend would faint if he saw a woman in a short skirt. Jane needs these stereotypes as family members, which allows her to set out on her journey where she meets all the other stereotypes in the stri– I mean, go-go dancing world. Jane even becomes a stereotype, but that’s for a purpose. As Jane is in acting school, she creates a character persona that becomes her dancing persona. Soon the lines blur, which is Jane, and which is Dylan? Better keep dancing until you figure it out…