Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Darren Doane|
|Music by||Brian Popkin|
|Edited by||Postmill Factory|
|Distributed by||Samuel Goldwyn Films|
|Box office||$2.8 million|
Saving Christmas (also known as Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas) is a 2014 American faith-based Christmas comedy film directed by Darren Doane and written by Doane and Cheston Hervey. It was theatrically released by Samuel Goldwyn Films on November 14, 2014.
It stars Kirk Cameron as a fictional version of himself. In Saving Christmas, Cameron, after explaining his views on Christmas directly to the audience, tries to convince his fictional brother-in-law, played by the film's director, that Christmas is still a Christian holiday. The film combines a comedic narrative with educational elements, in order to "put Christ back in Christmas"; it says that most of Christmas' popular elements are biblical in origin, while criticizing the modern-day view of the holiday, especially from atheists. During the story, the film depicts some of the biblical events mentioned by Cameron, while he provides narration for the audience.
The film received a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was nominated in six categories for the 35th Golden Raspberry Awards and won four, including Worst Picture. It also reached #1 on the IMDb Bottom 100 List within one month of its theatrical release, and is now considered one of the worst films of all time. Cameron blamed atheists for the film's poor reception.
The film starts with Cameron sitting on a chair by a fireplace and talking directly to the audience, telling them of his love of Christmas but saying the traditional Christmas imagery is "all wrong" and having "nothing to do with Christmas", and blaming atheists for trying to take the holiday away from Christians; he also suggests that Santa Claus is a Christian.
Kirk goes to a Christmas party at the house of his sister (played by Cameron's real-life sister Bridgette Ridenour). While there he notices that his brother-in-law, Christian, isn't celebrating like the others. When asked why he seems so sad, Christian says he feels the holiday became too commercialized and consumerist. Kirk tells Christian that he is wrong and starts reminding him of the stories of the Bible. Meanwhile, two guests at the party discuss conspiracy theories.
As Christian complains that several elements of Christmas, most notably Christmas trees, are not biblical in origin. Kirk tells him that Christmas trees were God's idea, since he made the trees. He also says that each tree represents a Christian cross, and suggests the audience to see a cross each time they see a tree. Kirk's brother-in-law is convinced by his arguments, but then starts complaining about Santa Claus for he sees him as an obliteration of Jesus and noticed that "Santa" and "Satan" have the same letters, but Kirk tells him that the original Santa Claus (before being re-interpreted by western culture) was actually Saint Nicholas beating up non-believers and people who did not believe enough, thus making Santa a good religious figure; his brother-in-law is now convinced that "Santa is the man".
Christian is now convinced of Christmas' faithfulness to its religious roots, and the two return to the party. Kirk then explains that the presents at Christmas represent Jerusalem, and that Christmas is "doing what God does", as he always gave humanity many gifts. He then suggests once more to bring back Christianity in Christmas for our children. His brother-in-law, as a gift for his wife, organizes the same night a hip-hop dance representing his joy of celebrating Christmas, leading to everyone dancing and partying together. Kirk then tells everyone to feast, and suggests the audience organize the best dinner possible for Christmas, but not to forget this is a celebration of God.
Saving Christmas debuted on 410 screens on November 14, 2014.
On its first weekend, the film came in fifteenth place with ticket sales of $992,087, with a per screen average of $2,420. In its six-week run, the film grossed $2,783,970 at the box office. Based on a $500,000 budget, the film can be considered a box office success.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a rating of 0%, based on 13 reviews, with an average rating of 1.7/10. On Metacritic, the film received a rating of 18 out of 100, based on 9 critics, indicating "overwhelming dislike". New York Times film critic Ben Kenigsberg said that Cameron's acting "sounds so forced you half-expect the camera to pull back to reveal hostage takers". Billings Gazette named it the worst Christmas movie of all time in 2016.
In The Christian Post, an Evangelical Christian newspaper, Emma Koonse wrote, "[Kirk Cameron] dismisses theories that Christmas is derived in the pagan celebration of Winter Solstice in Saving Christmas, offering viewers a Biblical reference to items such as the Christmas tree instead. Furthermore, the film reveals Cameron's take on Santa Claus, the three wise men, and why Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25 each year... Although Cameron attempts to defend Christmas traditions in Saving Christmas, many Christians remain divided over what the Bible says about celebrating Christ's birth as well as where the varied Christmas traditions originated and what the customs mean in reference to Jesus."
On November 20, Cameron responded to the negative reviews by posting on his Facebook page. He wrote, "Help me storm the gates of Rotten Tomatoes. All of you who love Saving Christmas – go rate it at Rotten Tomatoes right now and send the message to all the critics that WE decide what movies we want our families to see." The attempt resulted in a severe backlash in which Internet users traveled to the Rotten Tomatoes page and condemned the film.
Three weeks after release, the film gained additional notoriety when it became the lowest rated film on the Internet Movie Database's bottom 100 list. Cameron later responded to the low rating, saying that it was due to a campaign on Reddit by "haters and atheists" to purposely lower the film's ratings.
|Golden Raspberry Awards||2015||Worst Picture||Won|||
|Worst Actor||Kirk Cameron||Won|
|Worst Supporting Actress||Bridgette Ridenour||Nominated|
|Worst Director||Darren Doane||Nominated|
|Worst Screenplay||Darren Doane and Cheston Harvey||Won|
|Worst Screen Combo||Kirk Cameron and his ego||Won|
|Soundtrack album by various artists|
|Released||October 27, 2014|