Bad Movie Boozing: Saving Christmas

Bad Movie #2: Saving Christmas

I’m officially renaming this series.  From this point forward, it’s going to be called Bad Movie Boozing.  Why?  Because these films have driven me to drink (a lot).  And they’ll do the same to you.

Saving Christmas is no exception.  I drank two exceptionally strong sunrises during my viewing, and I wish I’d had more.  I didn’t drink more mostly because I was either mesmerized by the madness of the artist formerly known as Mike Seaver, or because I was so totally bored that I felt like a nap.  Neither of these bode well for the overall impression of the film.


The History

This is not a movie I want to research.  I feel like it’s relatively self-explanatory.  When I tell you that Kirk Cameron created a movie called Saving Christmas, I’m confident you already know what’s coming next.  But hey, it’s December.  I’m in a giving kind of mood.  So here’s a snippet of context, because I’m just that kind of a nice gal.

Saving Christmas was received remarkably poorly, to the shock of Cameron.  It hit a perfect 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and Kirk’s surprise was so great that he championed his Facebook followers to change the rating.  The plan backfired, and a momentous outpouring of negative voting and criticism happened almost immediately on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB.  Cameron attributed this to an organized hate campaign on Reddit by “haters and atheists.”  He’s probably not entirely wrong.


The movie that nearly killed me

I’m going to breeze through this, because this really isn’t a traditional movie.  It doesn’t have a narrative or structure, and it doesn’t have characters (with the exception of two: 1) Christian, the victim of Kirk Cameron, and 2) Kirk Cameron’s own ego).  This is a lecture.  Go into this with the expectation of being lectured, and talked down to, and criticized, and you will be as ready as I can make you.  God speed, brave traveler.

I don’t even remember exactly which portion of the movie we start with.  There are three different segments, none of which fit together, or even make sense.  I turn this segment over to my partner, me, to clarify the opening madness.

Yeah.  Things only went downhill after this.

The basic setup for the movie is Kirk Cameron attending his sisters Christmas party, where he notices her husband (aptly named Christian) isn’t entirely possessed by the spirit of the season. It immediately becomes Kirk’s mission to change Christian’s mind, and (SPOILER ALERT) he does.

I can boil this movie down into three major complaints by Christian. His main argument is that Christmas is a series of manufactured traditions that are beset by corporate greed, material lust, and social obligation. He argues that the holiday is supposed to celebrate Jesus, but instead obliterates any of the Baby Jesus’s significance. His main points:

  1. Jesus is barely celebrated in major Christmas traditions
  2. Christmas trees were a pagan tradition, and have no place in the Bible
  3. Santa Claus is the focal point, not Jesus, and Santa is not in the Bible

 

Now, I’m not going to debate religious points or biblical history here. This is a movie review, not an analysis of Kirk Cameron’s brand of Christianity. But Kirk’s arguments are absolutely fraught with nonsense, and that’s fair game in my book.

To give very quick recaps before turning analysis over to Me, Kirk’s “rebuttals” are:

  1. Jesus was born in a crappy cave in a swaddling cloth, died and was wrapped in a shroud, avoided death as a baby, and ultimately died as a man. ???
  2. Jesus died on a tree–the cross. Using a Christmas tree is a reminder that Jesus died on a tree, and putting decorations on it is like the fruit on trees in the Garden of Eden.
  3. Santa as we know him is based on the hard fucking core Saint Nicholas, who beat the shit out of a bishop who said Jesus wasn’t the son of god and gave presents in secret.

 

So, Other Me, what are your thoughts on some of these points?

Indeed.

The movie wraps up with a dance number.  A. Dance. Number.  An auto-tuned abomination of “Angels We Have Heard On High” ends the suffering of the viewer, and apparently Christian is now convinced to see the New Jerusalem in Christmas presents, and cherishes the love of Kirk Cameron’s sister, and feasts on a roast beast.


The Problems

This was not Birdemic.  This didn’t get chuckles out of me.  This was rageful.  I have no qualms against religion, and while I don’t practice myself, I respect those who do, if they’re cool about it (i.e. not violent/crazy/domineering/etc).  Kirk Cameron’s opus is not cool about it.

His “rebuttals” to his brother-in-law’s very fair arguments are not actually rebuttals; they’re interpretations.  He’s interpreting aspects of his faith and shoehorning them into made up parallels in Christmas traditions.  Which is fine; interpret whatever you want, you delightful madman.  Just don’t tell everyone else they’re wrong when they disagree.

I honestly expected this to be a “War on Christmas” film.  It does have a small conspiracy theorist moment where someone proclaiming that there’s a war on Christmas rants about holiday celebrations, Muslims, and pink slime.  But it wasn’t.  It was a “this is why Christmas is awesome, and if you disagree, you’re just wrong.”  If you’re a Christian (or someone named Christian, or both, which Christian is), and you don’t agree with Kirk’s interpretation, you’re also wrong.  It’s madness, infuriating madness that confounds you in the illogic of it all.  You can’t take joy in this.  All you’ll do is get increasingly more angry as Kirk makes no sense in his attempt to prove Christian’s points wrong. 

If I move aside from the content and look at the film making, it’s bizarre.  It’s bizarre, and cheap, and lazy.  Slow motion is used consistently in this film, probably to both pad the run time and to give Kirk a chance to fit in longer voice over monologues.  Two sets are used for the Christian tale: his car and his house, I guess?  It looks like an office that was turned into a nice house set.  Kind of. 

The Santa segue way is horrifically off putting, with a level of intensity befitting a Christopher Nolan film dominating the story of Saint Nicholas beating the actual shit out of a bishop.  They play a song from a band I’m sure they didn’t credit, which is equal parts dubstep and orchestral.  It’s a maddening mess.

The acting is not acting.  This is Kirk Cameron just being Kirk Cameron, and his sister just being herself.  Kirk is charming initially, because he has that Mike Seaver pull.  Then the crazy comes out almost immediately, and you’re scared for Christian whenever Kirk gets too close to his face.  The level of insanity in Kirk’s eyes is zealous.

Christian is probably my biggest problem with the movie aspects of this “movie”.  He presents sound arguments, he really does, but the actor dives into the whiny brat territory to make him less credible than Kirk, to more effectively discredit any of Christian’s arguments.  He stumbles over his words, he mutters and rants and cuts Kirk off, and acts like an idiotic jerk repeating clickbait instead of someone educated enough in this topic to at least string two sentences together.  Oh, and he says this:

Yup.  We’re done.  Moving on.


The Other Reviews

IHE:

This is the one I’m going to focus on here, because my other review sites haven’t killed brain cells by forcing themselves to watch it.  This is one that he finds horribly uncomfortable even talking about, which I can sympathize with.  He does note that if the Christianity was taken out of this movie, there wouldn’t be much to talk about.

IHE is obsessed with Kirk’s beard.  I am too. 

One of his biggest sticklers is how the entire film is talking down to you.  If you really feel a different way, shut up and listen to Kirk.  Kirk is right.  Kirk is all.  Which is emphasized by how Christian doesn’t disagree with everything Kirk says once Kirk says it.

The movie didn’t make him angry at first, but once he thought about it, it became insulting.  It upset me immediately, because of how insulting it was at an immediate, surface level.  We’re both pissed off, we just got pissed off at separate times.

chart-saving-christmas


My Ranking

I hated this movie.  I hate it.  I will always hate it.  It’s offensive, and it’s dull while it offends you.  This is not as easy as saying Birdemic is bad because it’s shot poorly, and made by an inept but well-intentioned self-styled “director”.  This is something so much worse.

I was as bored as I was in Birdemic, but I was also angry.  This evoked emotion, negative and hateful emotion.  It was my mind’s reaction to repeatedly being told that anyone who isn’t exactly Kirk Cameron is ignorant, and wrong. 

This movie had no idea what it was trying to do as a film, and is formatted that way quite clearly.  It’s a vessel, not a movie.  It’s Kirk’s chariot into your Christmas hating heart, and he’s going to get there, whether you’re a member of his faith or not. 

Drink his hot chocolate.  Eat his candy canes.  If you don’t, you’re a hater, or an atheist.  Or you’re just plain wrong.

grade-saving-christmas

There it is.  We’re only two movies in, and I’ve already handed out my first 0/10.  Am I too harsh?  Is there something redeeming in this steaming turd?  Does it have some naivete, like Birdemic?  Was there at least an attempt to try?

Sure, I guess they tried to put a camera in a room.  I guess they tried to assemble extras into a scene.  And you know what?  They really tried to be fair, and just, and accepting of all different opinions. 

As long as those different opinions were exactly theirs, that is.  And by they, I only mean Kirk.  Seriously, this is not a movie for Christians.  This is not a movie for anyone except people who think exactly the same way as Kirk Cameron.  The character Christian was a Christian, a devout one, who wanted a little more Jesus in his Christmas.  And Kirk told him he was wrong, because Jesus was apparently actually there, hidden in the Christmas presents, and the ham, and the hot chocolate.  And in Kirk’s heart.

And now, for math.  Lack of Effort Points time:

My score: 0/10
IMDB: 1.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Critics: 1.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Audience: 1.9/5, or 3.8/10
Average Goodness: 1.75/10, so average badness: 8.25/10

The budget (per IMDB): $500,000.  So, our ultimate Lack of Effort Points: [(.825 * 500,000)] / 100 = 4,125.  An astronomical amount of lazy.  I don’t advocate destroying movies, but I do advocate you running from this one at all costs.  It is not worth the torture. 


To the next one!

I am exhausted.  That movie took a lot out of me, it really did.  So I perused the IMDB Bottom 100 for something that might lift my spirits.  I picked one that has a wonderful degree of infamy, and has street cred from two reviewers already.  Foodfight! is next on the list, and I think it’ll just be a gem.  A glistening gem.  Or turd.  I don’t know yet.  I’m delusional at this point.

About The Author

I'm a big ol' nerd, and I want to effuse that nerdiness for the rest of my life. I spend as much time as I can drawing and playing video games, and I've taken that to the career level now since I'm back in school to be a game designer. I'm the mom to three puppies and a fat kitty, and the wife to a fellow nerd.

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