In Which We Discuss Recent Attempts to Gruber Kirk Cameron

A few weeks ago, I wrote briefly on Saving Christmas here, but I reserved a few extra things to say until after the movie released. It has now released, reviews are coming in, and lots of people have seen it. So here we are.

Let me begin with a proposition to discuss: Saving Christmas is a very successful fillintheblank. I want to say this proposition is manifestly true, but this is clearly going to depend on how I fill in that blank. Obviously this proposition could be made false if you fillintheblank with espionage thriller, or cinematic haiku. So how do I fill it in?Saving Christmas

The reviews from the secular establishment have been really negative, and the reactions on social media from the world inhabited by tubby organizers of slut walk parades have been savage. But this is because they are incapable of recognizing what Saving Christmas actually is. This may be due to ignorance, or it may be due to hatred, but they are applying all the wrong criteria in their evaluation. This movie is a nationwide Christmas pageant, up on the screen for everybody. The basic elements are there — a Christmas theme, a Nativity family without a speaking role, surrounding vignettes, a narrator, and so forth. This is all presented in an unpretentious and straightforward way, and in reaction people who hate Christmas pageants give voice to their hate — which should surprise nobody.

For example, The New York Times review by Ben Kenigsberg says this about Kirk: “With a smile so wide and laughter that sounds so forced you half-expect the camera to pull back to reveal hostage takers, Mr. Cameron explains how several facets of the holiday — the tree, Santa Claus, gifts — have roots in religious tradition.”

Now that line about hostage takers is admittedly clever, but it is a clever lie. Anyone who knows Kirk knows that the smile and the laugh are absolutely genuine, and one can only conclude that Kenigsberg lives in a world clearly unable to recognize sincerity. It is hard to fault people for this, though, if they live in a place where they have never seen it — which is likely if someone writes for The New York Times.

For various reasons, to gruber someone or a group of people seems to me to show promise as an up and coming verb. It is a verb that has shown up just in time too — because that is what is happening right now to Kirk Cameron. To gruber someone is to dismiss the stupid peons out there with a supercilious arrogance, and with the critic blissfully unaware of the tiny bubble of self-congratulatory hubris he lives in.

And in the meantime, while doing publicity for his movie, Kirk has been conducting himself like an intelligent gentleman, which is exactly what he is.

After opening night, Saving Christmas was trending around #10 in the country, which is quite a respectable opening night. The next couple days will obviously show whether the opening weekend was as successful as opening night, but I would encourage all of you who appreciate Christmas pageants to make a point of seeing it this weekend. Prepare to enjoy yourself, and then prepare to be grubered. And if you know what that is, it can actually be enjoyable too.

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Kirsten Miller
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Kirsten Miller

My respect and admiration for Kirk Cameron grows every day. This brother is not the servant who hid his talent in the ground. He’s going flat-out for Jesus with everything he has. Men like this are a lightning rod for haters because they have their eyes on a better prize than the approval of the world.

Cindy Stockton
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Cindy Stockton

It was remarkable. I will be sure to buy this movies and watch it every year for a new tradition.

mekt75
Member

I know this will annoy some people. I think the most charitable thoughts towards Kirk. He mentioned purity. We need to differentiate purity versus virginity. It is estimated that 1/4 women and 1/6 men were molested as kids. If virginity equates purity, and in the minds of a lot of Christians that is so, then there are twelve year old kids in your church who don’t believe they have any purity to offer because their uncle used to come see them at night. How does your church teach children about this? This is important people.

David Trounce
Guest

Hi rls,

Thankfully, purity is not equivelant to virginity. I know lots of unclean virgins. Purity is the state someone is in when they have been washed clean by Jesus. And the 12 year olds with uncle’s can be washed white, right alongside the rest of us.

Kevin Starbuck
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Kevin Starbuck

I love this blog and enjoy reading what you have to say on a wide range of topics, but when it comes to Kirk Cameron and his films I’m closer to the opinion of Kenigsberg. Notice he wrote that Cameron’s smile and laugh sounded forced, not that they were forced. Kirk Cameron is like Mitt Romney, who, just seems fake, but is actually quite genuine. I have not seen Saving Christmas and may not see it. But from the other Cameron films (Left Behind, Fireproof, Mercy Rule) I’ve seen, I don’t think he’s a good actor or filmmaker. He does… Read more »

Nate Fleming
Guest

First, I’m a big KC fan. I respect the man on multiple levels, and I wasn’t even a Growing Pains fan growing up. But this is my problem… if people who don’t know Christ continue to be turned off by our attempts to put the story of Christ up on the screen, how are we possibly succeeding? The sad thing for me with regards to Kirk Cameron is this – he has the means, the name, the experience, the ability – to make a movie that would blow everyone away – Christian or not. And yet he continues making movies… Read more »

mekt75
Member

does your pastor tell the twelve year olds this?

Wendy Sensing
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Wendy Sensing

What Kirsten Miller said!

Denise Torres
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Denise Torres

My family drove an hour to see Saving Christmas , because no theaters in our county was showing it. It was well worth the trip! We all liked it and learned a lot from it. Glad we went, even my kids enjoyed it. Gave us a great time of discussion over dinner last night.

Mary Brewer
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Mary Brewer

I have not seen Saving Christmas yet….. But I plan on going and taking my family (all eight of us) over Thanksgiving weekend. I know we will enjoy it because I have watch everything Kirk has done to date and I know from past experience he does not disappoint. God has anointed him to tell his story and to help bring us all together. He lifts up the name of Jesus every chance he gets and he stands by the word of God no matter what. That’s why I know I can trust him to deliver the message in Saving… Read more »

Eric
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Eric

Doug,

Thanks for the review. Us Southern Californians are very thankful for the hard work of our family up in Moscow.

Regarding the secular establishment and their clever reviews; it seems that Grendel will always find a way to crash the parties of the faithful – with our wide smiles and loud laughter. Cain’s seed has always been a party pooper.

Thanks again.

-Eric

Rache
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Rache

I know Kirk might not be the greatest actor in the world but honestly nowadays who is really a GREAT actor? We pay for movies to see actors we think are cute or funny or whatever. To me the fact he is a Christian & is willing to put his heart & soul into these movies & if we who are christians want to support other Christians should then go to see the movies. My mom loves Christian Bale & Chris Hemsworth & she always makes it a point to see their movies opening weekend so that they have good… Read more »

Jonathan
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Jonathan

Ah reminds me of this critique I read a while back of Thomas Kinkade’s paintings, which, according to Joan Didion, “typically feature a cottage or a house of such insistent coziness as to seem actually sinister, suggestive of a trap designed to attract Hansel and Gretel. Every window lit, to lurid effect, as if the interior of the structure might be on fire.”

Carol
Guest
Carol

We saw Kirk’s movie yesterday after Church. Wow! What a let-down! It was kind of like a bunch of families put together a movie, and then needed a Christian celebrity to star in it. May-be Kirk Cameron just needed some extra Christmas money for his family, like we all do. The movie was short, and not very well done. We have done some great Church drama productions that were almost as good. I guess we expected more from Kirk Cameron. This turned out to be a waste of time and money. We love Christmas, and really wanted to get into… Read more »

rob howard
Guest

Darren, I’ll just assume you’re reading this. Saw the first 35 or so minutes of this last week at a theater here in Kansas City. Honestly couldn’t take any more in one sitting, but for what it’s worth, I’d say the shot at an acting career (if you decide to go that way) would probably work. You held your own in the car with Kirk, and I’d say there was some truth to your performance that he just wasn’t tapping into. I may buy another ticket at some point and see if I can get all the way through it.… Read more »

Duells
Guest
Duells

Oiy Carol,

I’m getting accustomed to seeing the spirit of Judas, along with the spirit of Christ during Christmas. Should we not be generous in what we do??

Ted
Guest

I don’t dislike Kirk Cameron. I think his willingness to boldly share his faith in Christ is commendable. But I saw the trailer for Saving Christmas, and the movie looked bad to me. Not because a critic or anyone else told me to think or feel that way. This was simply my immediate response to the trailer.