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?
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.