Saturday, December 17, 2016
How did I miss this one from PureFlix?
For those of you who lucky enough never to be exposed to the wretchedness of PureFlix, a film company co-founded by fundamentalist actor/director David A.R. White whose catalog includes such cinematic gems as God's Not Dead (student uses Bible and strawman arguments to defeat evil Atheist professor,) God's Not Dead II (teacher uses Bible and strawman arguments to defend her right to preach the gospel in in a public classroom) and War Room (emotionally abused woman saves her marriage to an abusive, cheating criminal of a husband by locking herself in a closet and shouting prayers,) a film like The Christmas Angel might look like a piece of innocent, dumb fluff and a way to keep your kids occupied for a few hours during the holidays. As someone who HAS plumbed the almost bottomless depths of inanity and preachyness that these films represent, I urge you to stick to the DVDs of Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph.
I haven't seen this particular film, but I can glean the entire plotline from the trailer (it doesn't take a genius- go ahead and watch it yourself if you want to, and tell me where you disagree.) There's a creepy old house in a neighborhood made up entirely of Christians, all of whom except one family is white. The kids in this neighborhood have gotten the idea that if they make a wish and break a window in the old house, it will come true.
One day Kevin Sorbo (who played the Evil Athiest Professor in God's Not Dead but is still going to spend the rest of his life being That Guy Who Played Hercules) moves in to the house and, not being particularly religious, gets unreasonably irritated that kids keep breaking his windows (like I said, he's not religious, otherwise he'd understand perfectly.) His complaints against the innocent behavior of the Very Christian young vandals (who after all are just trying to get God's attention so they can have new bikes and such) are so unreasonable, it creates a wall between him and the community- especially when he goes so far as to use police tape to show that his house is a crime scene (which it is, but man what a jerk, he must hate God or something.)
Gradually, Kevin Sorbo's hard heart softens, probably because of the widowed mom of adorable, rock-weilding children who lives next door (surprisingly not played by Roma Downey or Valerie Bertinelli,) and maybe he's visited by a Might Be An Angel character played by Dela Reese (who else? Hector Elizondo?) The kids stop throwing rocks and write their wishes on pieces of paper to place in a box instead. What happens when these wishes don't come true? My guess is that this never comes up because, well, PureFlix.
Unlike the other PureFlix films I listed above, this one was made for television (Hallmark Channel- what else?) so it's hard to say how well it was received. The other films received wide release and made huge profits on small budgets (War Room, for example, made $70 mil on a $4 mil production budget, and was even the No. 1 film on a very slow weekend.) I wonder if David A.R. White isn't a little irritated with himself for not rolling the dice and putting this on the big screen. But I'll be sure to catch it on my small one now that I've seen the trailer. It looks treacly enough for some good snark, at least. Merry WTF-ever.