“Saving Christmas,” a film-based campaign from actor and evangelist Kirk Cameron that seeks to convince Christians that some Christmas traditions, such as Santa Claus and Christmas trees, aren’t pagan and have a biblical basis for their observance, has received the lowest rating ever in Internet Movie Database (IMDB) history.
Although the movie has grossed $2.2 million at the box office and showed for a fourth week at 200 theaters nationwide, those rating the film have given it low marks, causing “Saving Christmas” to fall to the very bottom of IMDB’s “Bottom 100” chart. After being scored by over 4,000 users, the film received a 1.5 out of five stars, a mark that is lower than any other in movie history.
As Cameron received a zero on Rotten Tomato’s “tomato meter,” and also only received a 32 percent audience score, in an effort to boost his ratings, the “Growing Pains” and “Left Behind” star called upon his social media followers in recent weeks to help his ratings. But the scores remained low.
While he has received national support for the film, which allowed it open in 10o new theaters last week, Cameron has also received opposition from both atheists who desire for God to be removed from society, as well as Christians who believe that he holiday should be avoided because of its pagan customs and its institution by the Roman Catholic Church. It is the latter of which that Cameron seeks to convert with “Saving Christmas.”
In the movie, actor Darren Doane plays Cameron’s brother-in-law Christian, who believes that Christmas traditions are pagan and often materialistic and should therefore be avoided. During the film, Cameron seeks to win Christian over to his side, and eventually succeeds in doing so. Christian then slides into a pile of presents and hops up on Santa’s lap, since Cameron has now convinced him that such traditions were permissible for Bible-believing Christians.
As previously reported, in a video clip released last month entitled “Do You Love Santa Claus,” Cameron stated that “maybe someone like Santa Claus is actually on our team.” He then released a second video providing the history of the figure of Santa Claus, whom he characterized as a “devout Christian.”
“[T]hey even ‘sainted’ him—that’s why we call him St. Nicholas,” he said, although not mentioning that the “they” is the leadership of the Roman Catholic religion. “He became legendary in his time and beyond his time. He became larger than life and reached mythic proportions.”
Cameron told hundreds of students at Liberty University recently that the use of Santa Claus, who had developed from the person of St. Nicholas, was therefore not so bad after all.
“So the guy that many of us think is distracting from the birth of the Christ child, is really the defender of the faith you and I want to be,” he asserted. “So now that you know who the real Santa Claus is, you want to take a picture with him at the mall this Christmas? I do.”
Reviewers have had a variety of opinions about the film, with some stating that the best part of the movie is Cameron’s heart for the gospel.
“He knows how to transition average conversations into spiritual conversations that present the gospel,” wrote Carl Kerby of Apolomedia. “While the viewer may not agree with everything he has to say, he is certainly passionate about sharing his faith, and that is commendable.”
But others expressed concern about some of the assertions Cameron made in the movie, and the manner in which he sought to present his arguments.
“Cameron’s lectures reek of condescension,” wrote Chris Williams, movie reviewer for the Advisor and Source in Michigan. “Cameron poo-poos any of Christian’s concerns and utters a series of ‘here’s why you’re wrong’ declarations.”
“What are they going to do next?” Cameron asks in the film. “Tell us hot chocolate is bad? That the Druids invented it?”
Although those who have noted Cameron’s low ratings state that atheists are likely “rejoicing at the critical response to the movie (and no doubt contributing to it),” reviewers opine that it wasn’t Cameron’s Christianity that was the problem with the film, but his forced delivery in attempting to defend the holiday’s traditions.
“Had ‘Saving Christmas’ run any longer, Cameron would no doubt have found a way to find the divinity in Frosty, Rudolph, the Grinch, peppermint bark, the Elf on the Shelf, [and] frosted cranberry hand soap,” wrote Alonso Duralde of The Wrap.
“He’s made a movie to say, ‘Stop complaining about something I like,’” said Williams. “‘Saving Christmas’ is a self-indulgent mess that ignores legitimate concerns in favor of saying, ‘Don’t spoil my party.’ Instead of pausing for soul-searching or real discussion, it gives us a smarmy lecturer justifying his position and ignoring any complaints.”