Believe the hype. “Saving Christmas” is one of the most bafflingly awful movies ever made. And while I can kind of see the distorted logic behind making this kind of movie, nothing about it makes any kind of sense. Every time you think the movie almost understands where it’s heading, it just completely flies off the rails and injects some truly remarkable moments of lunacy. Star and producer Kirk Cameron is so sure that his movie will finally convince people that Christmas is Christian and only Christian that he begins the movie with a monologue about his agenda for the movie. There are only about five characters in the movie, including one really creepy Santa, and they’re all portrayed by a truly horrific cast of performers.
“Saving Christmas” is much too certain about itself to be considered satire, and often much too campy to be taken seriously. Kirk looks dead certain he knows more than anyone about religion and Christmas, and doesn’t mind flaunting it throughout the film, but then he literally ends the movie on our cast break dancing during a Christmas party. In a slow motion montage. Again, I’m almost certain it’s meant to be taken with a tongue in cheek, but I’d wager Cameron intended the climax to be taken seriously, much like the message behind “Saving Christmas.” The movie is much too baffling and surreal to trash it completely, so I just couldn’t help but itemize five observations about this oddity.
5. “They” Want to Take Christmas Away
I’m not sure who “They” is, but They want to take Christmas away, and Kirk Cameron will be damned if they pull it off. Forget the fact that Christmas is the most popular holiday in the country, and that most people, even folks from other religions, celebrate it. “They” want to take it away from us! And we can’t let that happen, damn it! I’m not even sure whose idea it was to feature Kirk Cameron monologuing in the beginning of the movie for no particular reason, but it’s one of the most painful opening monologues, right up there with Criswell from “Plan Nine.” Cameron emphasizes what “Saving Christmas” is about. It’s pretty much about him saving Christmas. From them. They want to take Christmas, and destroy it, and keep people from celebrating snowflakes, and Rudolph, and hot cocoa. Cocoa is the elixir of life. Who is “They”? I guess only Cameron knows for sure.
4. We’re All Apparently Living a Story—Even if “Saving Christmas” Lacks One
Every story we’re in is our lives, and every story we’re living has a beginning, middle, and an end. The sad fact is that “Saving Christmas” really lacks anything resembling a coherent and cogent narrative structure at all. It has a scroll of the studio funding the movie, then features a prologue of Kirk Cameron rambling about Christmas, another scroll of a few studios that funded the movie, and then we’re subjected to what is essentially a documentary about how Christmas is a Christian holiday, and all the facts about it originating from Paganism is just misinformation perpetrated by them. I’m still not sure who “them” and “they” are, but they’re out there trying to hurt Christmas. Even our main character Christian lacks a really interesting character conflict, merely failing to display the Christmas spirit. That’s about as tough as life gets for the characters in this movie. “Saving Christmas” has a disjointed beginning, aimless middle, and an ending that just stops. It’s not a resolution so much as Kirk Cameron rejoicing in how much smarter he is than us.
3. Christmas is not a Christian holiday—And Kirk Cameron doesn’t Care
Christmas is really a Pagan holiday called Saturnalia which was outlawed by the Christian church, and then when they found it impossible to snuff out, it was adopted by the Christian church and turned in to what we know as Christmas. But those rotten Pagans are lying, says Kirk Cameron! Santa Claus is really a bad ass warrior who preached the word of God, and inexplicably devised the “ho ho ho” laugh out of thin air. The trees are really about new life since, you know, trees have a lot of appearances and cameos in Christian mythology. Cameron never really goes out of his way to explain what wreathes, mistletoe, and stockings have to do with the birth of Christ, but who cares? You’re just being a snob if you believe the real origin of Christmas. Rotten pagans.
2. Kirk Cameron Breaks Rule One in Making Movies
Never cast your family in your movies unless you’re a Barrymore, or a Sheen, or one of the many dynasties of Hollywood. And come on, the Camerons are not exactly a dynasty of Hollywood actors. Calling Kirk Cameron an actor is already stretching the definition of the word, but he casts his sister to co-star. And no, not Candace from “Full House,” either. He casts his other sister Bridgette, who is intricately placed in the background and given little to no dialogue. What dialogue she does have is wooden, forced, and you can almost sense she’s trying not to acknowledge the camera and crew. Darren Doane is no actor, either. He’s barely a director, if we’re going to get right down to it. Everything about “Saving Christmas” feels about as warm and wholesome as snow from a spray can. Doane spends most of his time fumbling through dialogue, and giving “oohs” and “aahs” whenever Kirk Cameron connects the dots for him about why Christmas is Christian, and awesome, and totally out of sight.
1. Kirk Cameron loves Hot Cocoa, a lot—almost sexually
I’ve never seen hot cocoa so fetishized in a movie, before. Hell, I love Hot Cocoa, but Kirk Cameron lives by it. He almost needs it. Apparently to Kirk Cameron, Christmas is reliant on the very essence that is hot cocoa. In the awkward opening monologue that feels more like a recruitment video for a Christmas cult, Cameron mimes drinking hot cocoa from what is an obviously empty mug, at least five times. During the movie people are constantly walking around drinking the beverage, two side characters place great emphases on Hot Cocoa by sipping it amorously and using the mugs to cover their mouths, and in the grand finale, Cameron serves up cocoa to a large surrounding of children, pouring them the hot drink with wide smiles, spraying whipped cream in to their cups, and even spraying whipped cream in to the mouths of children as they celebrate the confection that is heated chocolate drink. To be honest, I’m disappointed Cameron doesn’t include a long winded story about how Hot Cocoa is directly correlated to the birth of Christ, and the manger. That would have been a wonderful display of creativity. Though, I’m saddened there wasn’t a scene of characters splashing around in the hot drink like a mud slide at Woodstock.