Cheesy Christian Movies Month 4 – Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone. Hope your weather is better than mine.

Ah, Kirk Cameron. To say the least, he’s an interesting guy. He’s a well-known Evangelical Christian celebrity, who is part of The Way of the Master ministry, along with co-founding The Firefly Foundation with his wife, Chelsea Noble. His sister, Candace Cameron Bure, is also known in the entertainment industry. All three of them made their start in the entertainment business on TV in the 80s. They all at least appeared on Full House, with Candace being a main cast member. Kirk was a major cast member in Growing Pains, where he first met Chelsea.

Kirk clearly has good intentions with his ministries, and is often involved in Christian movies beyond acting. I’m sure that he’s a nice guy, and would be nice to meet and talk to in real life. With all that said, he’s got a reputation as a nutcase in mainstream culture. He appears not to care too much about what mainstream critics think about his work, and every now and then, he appears in a clip that goes viral for the wrong reasons. The below clip is an example.

Yeah, never mind that the most common yellow banana was specifically selected and bred widely. We’ll get a bit more into Kirk Cameron and his wife next week with Left Behind, but for now, let’s talk about Saving Christmas.

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas released in theaters in 2014. It’s specifically designed to be a faith-based comedy. It is a hilarious movie, but not necessarily in the way director Darren Doane intended. When the movie earned a rare 0% on Torren Tomatoes, Kirk became convinced that the low ratings from critics and IMDB users is the result of “haters”, “pagans”, and an atheist conspiracy hatched on Reddit. The only real conspiracy was that after Kirk asked for fans to bomb the movie with positive reviews, the internet responded in kind with a negative review bomb. As hilarious as that may be, it’s also why I don’t trust user ratings on any movie. Review bombs are far too common on both sides.

In this case though, the negative reviews are mostly accurate. On its surface, especially considering the name, this appears to be an anti-war on Christmas movie. The concept of War on Christmas is a whole can of worms I don’t want to get into, but that’s not what this movie is at all. In truth, of all the Christian movies about Christmas I’ve ever heard of, this is by far the most pro-consumerist. It looks at every aspect of today’s mainstream holiday festivities and forces a Christian history behind them … even the way Christmas presents are wrapped and stuffed under a tree. In short, the story is that Kirk is talking to the family Grinch who isn’t into Christmas that year (played by director Doane), who can’t see past the questionable origins of the modern day Christmas celebration. Oh, and there’s the fact that most of this movie is a conversation between Kirk and Doane’s character sitting in a car. That’s an exciting concept for a feature-length film, right?

The one part of this movie that is actually good.

There are some aspects of this movie that are true. For example, Santa Clause is based on the real life St. Nick. In truth, the earliest accounts of St Nick came centuries later, but he was known to be part of the First Council of Nicaea, being on the earliest known list of attendees. Some unsubstantiated claims state that he was temporarily imprisoned for slapping a heretic. At one point he was imprisoned during Emperor Diocletian’s rule, but was released after Constantine took over. The earliest and most famous story of his life involves rescuing three girls from being forced into prostitution by dropping sacks of gold coins through their windows so their father could pay a dowry for each of them, and that story is likely true. That probably where Santa Clause’s gift giving legend truly started. Saving Christmas doesn’t quite go into the dowry details and only talks generically about his generosity, but it doesn’t shy away from the slapping a heretic story interestingly enough. The section talking about St. Nick is the one part of this movie that actually works.

I won’t go into too much detail with the rest of the movie. With each moment where Kirk talks about how modern day commercialism with Christmas being Christian in nature, the movie feels increasingly hokey with a tacked on message. It’s fairly well known that the Christmas Tree is at least partly of pagan origins (the Saturn festival in particular), Kirk argues that the Christmas tree goes as far back as Genesis chapter 3. It’s a prime example of grasping at straws, if the straws are pure sugar that dissolve in water almost instantly.

You can tell the actor didn’t bother to memorize his lines when the audio completely changes as soon as he raises his mug.

Kirk’s sermon of sorts is broken up occasionally by cringe comedy moments. I’m not entirely sure which actor plays which character at this point, but there’s David Shannon and Raphi Henly playing the comedic characters. Bridgette Ridenour, Kirk’s other real-life sister, just stands there giving awkward stares for most of the movie. One of the comedy characters is a straight up conspiracy theorist, and the other is an exaggerated black man who always talks as if he’s DJ-ing some sort of hip hop event.

The main movie ends with a dance party. I say it sort-of ends, because they need to add a blooper reel and a post-credits “freestyle” rap to pad out the running time. Even after Kirk convinces Doane to embrace Christmas, there’s more preaching and slow-motion before said dance party begins. Be warned, the music and dancing are both cringe, even if Seeing Kirk do the worm is kind of fun.

Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas needs to be seen to be believed. It feels like you’re watching a crazy person giving a sermon, and the one person listening is dumb enough to believe it. It pretends that no aspect of the modern Christmas celebration has any pagan roots whatsoever. I’m not saying anything against our modern traditions here, but it at least makes for an interesting discussion to explore their history. Saving Christmas makes excuses for the reckless consumerism that has taken over a very important religious holiday. It’s not inherently bad to try to find significance in all of this, but to try to claim that everything about modern Christmas has roots in the bible is a bit … crazy. That’s what makes this movie hilarious.

Anyway, I’ll be closing this year off with Left Behind. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll only look at one of them, or the entire Kirk Cameron trilogy. Either way, I’m kicking off 2023 with Western Movies Month. In February, I’ll be looking at Back To The Future, and I’ll figure out some sort of filler movie for the off-month. March will once again be hilariously bad movie month, followed by April’s Box Office Bomb month. I have scattered ideas for the rest of the year, but nothing’s decided just yet.


About healed1337

I am a relatively new comic book fan writing this blog for other new comic book fans and/or people who are interested in comics but don't know where to start. I've always been interested in writing, to the point where I have a college Creative Writing Certificate and I'm currently a year 2 Journalism student. I also have another blog where I mostly make fun of bad movies - As for how I got into comics, I've always had a passing interest in superheroes: most notably Batman, Spider-man and the X-Men. Until February of 2011 (I think,) my only experience with any of these franchises came from the movies and video games. Shortly after I bought Marvel Vs. Capcom 3 however, I decided to check out X-23, Wolverine's female clone. I ended up reading her Innocence Lost origin story and enjoyed it. From there, I started reading various X-Men comics and it quickly exploded into my newest hobby. My other interests/hobbies include video games, movies, music, playing sports, my dogs and weird news.
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