Saving Christmas, Part 1
Okay, guys, we all know I’ve been thinking of this one for awhile now…since last Wintermas, when it came out in theaters, actually.
But I’m too much of a cheapskate to pay theatre prices for this crap, and I couldn’t find it in a dollar theatre near me in time, so instead I waited a year and paid for the DVD.
Not that I can be blamed. After all, now I have the FAMILY DISCUSSION GUIDE to help us as we watch!
Now, we’ve all heard the stories behind the horror that is Saving Christmas: how Kirk Cameron begged Christians to upvote the movie on Rotten Tomatoes (which didn’t work), and how it was nominated for six Razzies, winning four (including Worst Picture!).
And now there’s this: here is the poster:
And here is the DVD box art:
Kirk appears to have RENOUNCED OWNERSHIP OF HIS OWN MOVIE.
Hell, it’s kinda strange that it was ever “Kirk Cameron’s” anyway. Darren Doane wrote and directed.
Now, I’ve been calling this a “movie,” but I’ve been using the term very, very loosely. Because this…thing barely qualifies as a movie. See, most movies have plots. A bit of story. A few ideas going on.
But this is just Kirk talking at us for four minutes, then taking us to his family Christmas party…which he immediately leaves so he can go talk to
his brother-in-law us in a car.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with pushing the boundaries of what a movie can be. But if you’re going to do that, you might want the result to be good. Or at least interesting.
Instead, we are greeted by Kirk, sitting on a set that vaguely resembles a living room that Christmas threw up on. I’m talking the let’s-not-leave-one-single-bit-of-space-un-Christmassed school of decorating. And look, I’m no expert (like, at all), but should he really be wearing a red sweater while sitting on a red chair, while “sipping” from a red mug? I dunno, just looks a bit weird.
“Welcome everyone! I am SO GLAD you’re here! I love Christmas. I admit it—I love everything about Christmastime. I love the cookies, I love the fire, I love the presents, I love the stockings, I love the tree, I love the fudge, I love the lights. It’s a great time to try winter beers!”
Okay, I swear I thought that’s what he said! And I thought, “Holy shit! Kirk Cameron and I actually have something in common!”
But no, I see on repeat viewing that he said, “It’s a great time for growing out the winter beard.”
Yeah, dude, you’ve got a real Santa look going there.
Astonishingly enough, though, Christians ACTUALLY DRINK ALCOHOL in this movie.
Man, Michael Murphy and Paul Stepola and Rayford Steele would be very disappointed, Kirk. Very.
But he loves hot chocolate way more, methinks. He declares so as he fake-sips from an obviously-empty mug.
I started noticing something here, too: Kirk’s forehead is almost constantly contracted. Hmmm…
On he goes, talking about the spirit of giving, and the “something big” that happened, which means that “everything is going to be okay.”
Kirk then tells us about two different groups of “wet blanket” people, the ones who want him to “tone it down” (presumably he means the “haters and atheists” here) and the ones “on the inside” who are hating on the partying and imagery, because “it’s all wrong.”
Hard to argue with that. But Kirk will try. Not that he’ll succeed.
After all, I haven’t seen his lucky crocoduck picture around.
Kirk blathers on and on, as he does, making no real point but at least eating up some screentime to get them to feature length!
Cut to the producer’s logo (over four minutes into the movie?), and then some old-timey scene with a teenage girl telling some scraggly old dude that “He’s here.”
Bet the old scraggly dude isn’t Santa Claus!
Then, because we haven’t heard Kirk babble on enough, he starts babbling about stories, and how we’ve toned them down for kids, taking out the scary parts. This one minute after scolding us that the “bickering” around the meaning of Christmas isn’t nice for the kiddies.
Now, this really all amounts to a lot of nothing, except for one line that I want to note, which will become important later:
“The stories we hear and the stories we tell shape us. They teach us how to live by showing us how to live.”
Then we cut to the end of the movie! The shot we’ve all seen from the trailer—Darren Doane busting through the door in Christmas Awe.
Cue the opening credits!
Wow. All that bullshit took up almost ten minutes, guys! We’re gonna make length for sure!
We’re finally at the Christmas party that we will shortly leave. It’s being thrown by Kirk’s sister. And now we’re introduced to another little quirk of this movie: See, Kirk isn’t playing anyone. He’s Kirk. And that’s not some actress playing his sister. That’s his real sister. Never named, just “my sister.” Writer, director, and ACTOR Darren Doane is the only one here actually playing a part: he’s not really Kirk’s sister’s husband…he is merely ACTING.
Of Kirk’s sister, we learn…
“She’s throwing the party. NO ONE loves a Christmas party more than her.”
Yeah, she looks thrilled:
(Actually, she has the look that will be shared by countless moms this Christmas: “Why am I still here in the kitchen, three hours into the party, drying dishes? Is it really too much to ask that I be able to talk to friends for even one minute? I DID NOT EVEN HAVE TIME TO FIX MY HAIR.”)
Kirk’s Sister reveals to Kirk that her “husband,” Christian, is “just not into Christmas this year.” Kirk gets a look on his face that says this situation is only slightly less dire than learning that a loved one has cancer, and responds to this horrible revelation by…pouring the kids some hot chocolate.
Because we know how much Kirk LOVES invisible hot chocolate!
Nice intro to Christian here, btw:
In order to see inside Christian’s head, horror movie music plays over the playing kids and decorations. And seriously, this house battles the “living room” from the beginning for Most Overdecorated Space. I can’t even begin to imagine how much this all cost, and this is a big house. Christian White and Kirk’s Sister appear to be doing alright for themselves.
Oh yeah. Christian’s last name is White. And that’s no accident!
Now, it almost seems for a moment like we’re meant to have some sympathy for Christian, but Kirk immediately informs us that “SOME PEOPLE are determined to see the worst in even the best of things.”
Yeah, haters and atheists! Stop being so determined all the time!
Then, shock of shocks! ‘Tis another named character! Since Kirk is obsessing over the hot chocolate, Deandre gets in a conversation with Christian instead.
Now, “conversation” is another term I’ll use loosely, because Deandre likes the sound of his own voice almost as much as Kirk.
Sure, it might seem just a tad racially insensitive to have The Black Guy be a loudmouthed boor who represents Annoyance to our main character, and who says things like “My people have been through enough,” but I can assure you that Deandre is a multi-dimensional character. After all, he doubles as a bad guy in a “St. Nick” scene later, and then he leads the singing and dancing at the end of the movie!
White Christian tires of Black Deandre quickly, and festive, frenetic music plays over Deandre’s voice. As happens.
Kirk, his hot chocolate lust momentarily sated, finally tracks down White Christian, who has retreated to his car.
And now the movie truly begins, when Kirk will (according to the back of my DVD case) provide us “with a biblical basis for our time-honored traditions and celebrations.”
(Trust me, I’ll get through this by Christmas. The real story is starting now, at the 15-minute mark, and end credits (with outtakes!) begin at one hour, ten minutes…and last ANOTHER TEN MINUTES.
Feature time achieved!