Christmas Bad Movie Club Extravaganza: Not Just Another Christmas Movie

2012 church movie

Bad Movie Rating: 3/5 (Josh: 3/5; Mark: 3 or 4/ 5)

Rating: 3/20 (Mark: 1/20)

Plot: Some adults try to make a Christmas movie that will reflect the true spirit of Christmas (something about Jesus) and impress their boss.

This really isn't fair, and I hate to poke fun. This was created by the First Alliance Church in Lexington, Kentucky, a church which either has more money than it knows what to do with or has no idea what it should be doing with its money. It shouldn't be making movies that nobody outside of the congregation and a Bad Movie Club in Indianapolis would have any interest in.

Oh, it was difficult to find information about this. There's no poster, so I used one for Elf for reasons that I'll explain below. The copyright at the end of the credits says 2012. I couldn't find a director, so I had to assume it was like the Old Testament and pretty much written by God Himself. Actually, I have to assume that the director's last name is Williams and he or she is the father or mother of Melanie Williams, the little girl who starred in this.

Did I mention that this movie has a cast of children? Children playing adults? Children talking about their jobs and driving cars?

Here's the thing about kids. When you watch them perform in little school Christmas plays or kindergarten graduation ceremonies, it's kind of cute, especially if they're your children. But a very small percentage of those children would inspire adults to leave the gymnasium or auditorium and say, "My God! That kid's got some talent!" Give me children playing shepherds in a church Christmas story or playing actual kids in some silly play, and we'll have a cast that gets by on being cute but are probably not natural performers.

Now imagine a cast of children in a 70-minute movie. And now imagine that those children, probably because they're being homeschooled, can't memorize their lines and then can't read them very well either. And now imagine those kids playing adults with adult problems and stresses. What you're imagining is probably pretty stupid, isn't it? Well, you're got some idea of what's going on with Not Just Another Christmas Movie.

Again, I realize this isn't fair, and the production values are impressive for what has to be a very cheap project. The music's loud enough, the picture is clear, I only spotted two boom mics, and the stunt work (children driving) was incredible. However, the movie barely had a story, the characters weren't anybody I cared to spend any time with, and the child actors stuttered their lines. When you've got very young actors with the wisdom of your typical 10-year-old, there's just not enough world experience for these youngsters to have any idea what they're talking about. The sentiments fall flat. The pacing is dreadful. The story goes nowhere. And you leave the experience wanting to take the beliefs about Christmas spirit of these people who would write something so terrible and then make children act it all out and believing the exact opposite.

As I said, a parent of Melanie Williams must have directed this because she got to star. It's not that she's any worse than any other performer in this or even worse than any child performer in the history of movies, but there's a lot of movie hoisted upon her little shoulders. She stutters through her lines, painfully, in every single scene. The other children do, too, but you watch Melanie Williams and wonder what made her stand out so that she'd be acting her little heart out in virtually every scene. It's enough to make anybody who watches this a little uncomfortable. It's like watching a man with no arms trying to drink a glass of water or something.

Wow. I think my blog has reached a new low. I'm criticizing the performance of a poor little girl whose parents forced her to act in this movie. I hope she doesn't Google herself. Luckily, she's got a pretty common name. Additionally, I've stereotyped homeschoolers and for no reason at all brought up people with no arms. I want anybody reading this to know that I'm not really proud of myself.

Our favorite character was Wilbur, a much bigger kid. Proportionately, I guess he's have to be around 8 feet tall. He mumbled his lines--intentionally, I believe for comic effect--and kept putting things on his head for reasons that are probably in the book of Leviticus.

Other highlights:

--every time a kid looked into the camera, often epically breaking the fourth wall in a way that only Beelzebub could support
--the copyright infringement, for I'm sure they didn't get permission to use sound bytes from movies like Elf (oh, and since I couldn't find a poster for this movie, I just went with Elf since it was mentioned twice in this one)
--the boss character only owning one ill-fitting suit
--the inclusion of an autistic character in a way that is not tacky at all
--"I was just talking to ducks. I think I need to talk to God now."
--a priest played by Ben Lewis, a kid who apparently wanted to go full Parkinson's with the character
--a Lynchian dream sequence
--product placement from the exact company you'd figure might throw money at something like this:

--a bad-movie-within-a-bad-movie that nearly made my head implode
--the bizarre Ruth Goldberg-esque way that the bad-movie-within-our-bad-movie made it from a dump to the hands of that kid playing the boss

I really feel bad about this. Half of me wants to delete all of this and just forget I watched it.


Anonymous said...

a 3 out of 20? where did you give this 3 points? also amazed where you found christmas with the kranks 6 points. 2 of the worlds most worthless movies. i would watch the one with kids a dozen times before watching kranks again. they were adults and should have known better, had 100 times the bunch+, and came off as more propaganda can a christian movie.

Shane said...

It got a boost because they did very little with next-to-nothing which is 3 times better than doing nothing with next-to-nothing. Christmas with the Kranks was twice as good. Neither movie was offensive enough--aesthetically or thematically--to get lower ratings although NJACM was close aesthetically and CwtK was close thematically.