Oh boy, we’ve really crossed a threshold which we never thought would be crossed. Kirk Cameron was a teen heart throb in the 1980s-1990s, and Gray’s mom thought he was cute. You’d think all was going good for him, right? However, somewhere down the line, Kirk kind of lost his mind and became the guy who rambled about weird conspiracy theories and compared homosexuality to bestiality. In 2014, he came out with his magnum opus: Saving Christmas!
We open up with Kirk Cameron sitting in front of a fireplace talking about how much he loves Christmas (and hot chocolate). Then he goes on some tangent about how atheists are destroying Christmas and that Santa is a Christian. The film cuts to a Christmas party hosted by Kirk and his sister. Everyone seems to be having fun, however, Kirk’s brother-in-law, Christian (who looks suspiciously like Gordon Freeman), is not having fun at all. Christian then goes to sulk in his car and Kirk follows him. Christian begins to rant about how no one understands Christmas anymore and that it’s all about greed and material goods, instead of giving to the poor.
Kirk agrees at first, but then says that everything Christian said is wrong. He then goes off on a story about how Christmas trees are trees from God and that God decorated trees with fruits and nuts. Kirk says that every tree is a Christian cross, or something. When Christian goes on a rant saying that Santa is secretly Satan because Santa replaced Christ for Christmas. Kirk then says that Santa was a saint named Saint Nicholas who taught heretics not to spread heresy by beating the shit out of them. Yep, you heard right: Santa beats people up for disagreeing with him. We get to see this in all its glorious detail. Kirk adds that since God took material form, it was necessary to celebrate that fact with the finest material goods money can buy. Christian agrees with Kirk’s stories and has a change of heart as he goes back in the house and conducts a huge dance party.
Aside from the weird messages of this film, let’s take a look at the production value. The film was shot on a budget of $500,000 and it really looks like it was shot on a tight budget. About 90% of the film takes place in a car, between two people talking, and the rest of the film has a long, awkward dance sequence and the cast feasting. Oh and let’s include two random people spouting some nonsense comparing the “War on Christmas” with conspiracy theories about radio waves or something.
The opening scene in Kirk Cameron’s massive home is meant to be heartwarming and homey, but the lackluster framing and awkward acting makes it sterile. Plus the film has a weird dissonance from its tone: several scenes that are supposed to be heartwarming instead look more like a horror film. This is true for literally every scene involving the Santa that appears in the story segments. He looks terrifying and is absurdly aggressive (‘smite on the cheek’ equals beatdown). The last of these scenes embodies this idea, with the psycho Santa suddenly deciding to give out gifts, which is as believable as Vladimir Putin coming out and marrying Kim Jong Un to unify their countries (and if anyone decides they want to write that, hit us up, please).
Now onto the themes of 2014’s Saving Christmas. According to Kirk Cameron, we should be as materialistic and greedy as possible, since God took on material form. First off, what the hell?! I don’t know about you guys, but I was told that Christmas was a time for giving and helping others. But apparently, I’m wrong! Maybe I should follow Kirk’s advice instead! Secondly, what is the message that Kirk is trying to send home with the Santa bit? That you should beat the shit out of people who disagree with your opinions? I’m pretty sure kids will have a wonderful experience when they go visit Santa at the mall next time.
Then we have the “War on Christmas” bit, which only manages to confuse me as to how seriously we are supposed to take it. And then we have the religious stuff, which is being overly generous towards the film’s theological understanding. Kirk Cameron really seems to want Christmas to be fully Christian with no other influences (aside from money) to the holiday. So bad in fact, that he presides to become the religious equivalent of a JFK conspiracy theorist. He cherry-picks the Bible, looking for any thread to help, even if those threads make literally no sense whatsoever with less than a minute of thought, let alone actual scholarly examination.
Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas (2014) checked off all the requirements for a bad movie, and introduced so many more than I couldn’t have even imagined. It has bad writing, bad acting, bad cinematography, and bad pacing to say the least. This in and of itself would be enough of a crime, but the ham-fisted ideology and pandering to the hardcore Christians in the audience (who, let’s be honest, are the only ones watching this movie unironically) turns it from confusing to grating. If you don’t already agree with everything Kirk Cameron believes going into this movie, you’re definitely not gonna be convinced by any of the flimsy arguments that Cameron makes as to why the commercialization of Christmas is good and what Jesus actually wanted. If Christmas is actually in danger, maybe someone other than Kirk Cameron should try to save it.
Co-Written By: Gray Kruse & Owen Gonzalez