Brian’s Exploratory Christmas Endeavor ’21: Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas

Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas (2014) - IMDb

Whether he was always this way, or whether it was a psychic defense mechanism Cameron evolved in order to exist as the Born Again Christian he became as a young man, Kirk Cameron’s singular defining trait is that he must always be the one who is right. In any situation or argument, he knows better than you do, and in fact, that is probably why he started talking to you in the first place. And while you’re speaking back to him, he’s smiling, nodding, arming his next arguments, and waiting for you to stop so that he can illuminate you on how he is actually the one who is right.

And he is so enthusiastically that way that he made a 78 minute movie about it.

This film challenged my preconceptions: the target demographic isn’t who you might guess. Your tip-off as to who it’s really for comes before the movie even plays, in the form of a disclaimer that it is a violation of licensing agreements to play this film for your church without paying Kirk Cameron licensing fees.

And while, sure, you might have imagined that the movie was targeted at believers rather than heathens, it is more granular than that. This movie is targeted at Christian fundamentalists who are so fundamental that they cannot get over the paganism and idolatry inherent in the modern Christmas celebration. Trees! Stars! Gifts!

The movie appears to be cast with Cameron’s real family members, which is the most enjoyable thing about it. His sister, in particular, is delightfully awkward throughout, and perhaps for that reason they didn’t give her many speaking lines. The conflict comes from her husband, Kirk’s brother-in-law, who just cannot get over how much he hates Christmas for not being well enough sanctimonious and biblically accurate.

Kirk takes him to a car, where two cool dudes just hanging out in a car in the dark parking lot of a cool party can just bro out and rap about the Christ child for a while. This, eventually, becomes our framing device, and from there, for the rest of the movie’s meager runtime, we are served a number of disjointed sketches about how St. Nicholas was a badass who beat a heretic merciless, the manger was actually a very cool rock in a dank cave, how trees are evergreen symbols of the endless love of God, and there might have been one or two other lessons in there.

There is also a black character who plays a sort of Stepin Fetchit role that is really uncomfortable to sit through, but you know that for the movie’s white, born-again audience this might be seen as the height of comic relief.

This isn’t a movie in the sense that it has characters or a story. I wouldn’t even call it an anthology or a sketch show. It’s more like a Powerpoint presentation. A self-important lecture. The only people who signed up to watch it of their own accord were people like me and some of YouTube’s more masochistic reviewers who embarked with the object of having a good laugh. Everyone else (the overwhelming majority of the film’s audience, I’d bet my life) were subjected to this in church basements and the living rooms of well-intentioned in-laws across the country. And who knows whether they paid Kirk Cameron his due licensing fees.

This is one that’s too bad to even enjoy. The pacing and editing make things much worse. It has a real London Mitchell’s Christmas sense of timing. You can’t even hate-watch it because for once in his life, Cameron isn’t even going after the great atheist Enemy; he’s just scolding other Christians, against whom he must appear to be somehow more open-minded and progressive.

This movie is an absolutely bizarre thing to happen, but you’ll do just as well to read about it here or watch one of the YouTube tear-downs as you would to watch the awful thing, and so you may as well skip it and save yourself the 78 minutes of slow-moving cringe.

I’m giving this “movie” a 1 out of 10 and calling it Unwatchable.

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