Christmas with a Capital C: Movie Review
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In years past, Christians have spoken out about the use of words that do not contain “Christ” to describe Christmas. Stores have been on the receiving end of boycotts over their refusal to use the language, and the culture battle has become the subject of endless talking points.
From Atlanta to Reno and back to Chicago, city officials are trumpeting a respect for diversity as their rationale for changing the name Christmas tree to “Holiday” tree in the public square. And in the case of several towns, neither Christmas nor Holiday is being used to advertise their town tree this year. It is simply called “tree”, as in tree lighting ceremony.
This Christmas conundrum we find ourselves wrapped up in is widening in scope each year. First it was the singing of Christmas carols in public schools, then it was nativity scenes on public property, now it is 50 foot tall evergreens glittering proudly in town squares in baubles and beads.
This scenario sets the stage for a new DVD release from Pure Flix Entertainment called Christmas with a Capital C. Directed by Helmut Schleppi, the film is based on a song by Christian musical group Go Fish, which was inspired by comedian Brad Stine’s comedy act. Stine also co-stars in the movie.
The Movie in a Minute
Mayor Dan Reed (Ted McGinley) of Trapper Falls, Alaska, always looks forward to Christmas-time in his remote wilderness community. Along with his brother (Stine), Dan goes out of his way to make sure the town is decked out completely with Christmas spirit – a living nativity scene, community Christmas tree, and even a banner wishing everyone a “Merry Christmas” draped on the side of town hall.
The scene is warm and inviting, even idyllic, or so it seems. Trouble ensues when Dan’s high school rival, Mitch Bright (Daniel Baldwin), now a successful lawyer, returns to Trapper Falls after more than 20 years. He immediately takes offense to all the displays of Christmas around town and files a civil injunction to have them removed. It seems very likely that 50 years of tradition are about to be removed based on the complaints of one man. The conflict escalates into a town debate on whether Christmas should be represented in the public square at all.
When all hope seems lost, Dan’s wife (Nancy Stafford) and their daughter (Francesca Derosa) innocently launch a campaign called “Christmas with a Capital C”. Rooted in God’s love for mankind, the results are rather interesting.
The Good and Bad
Christmas with a Capital C takes the viewer through several of the key arguments that many towns face in the legal battle that is cropping up more and more across our nation. Based on the title, you would think the film would be heavily slanted toward the Christian point of view. But to his credit, Schleppi offers valid commentary from both sides.
McGinley gives a workmanlike performance in the lead role, but it is Baldwin who stands out. In the smarmy shadow of his brother Alec, Baldwin provides just the right combination of ruthlessness and debonair charm to keep viewers engaged in the debate at hand. At times, you might even start to side with Baldwin’s Mitch Bright character.
As Dan’s slightly goofy, bachelor brother, Stine fights for the cause of Christianity with several extended monologues on why Christmas should remain right where it is in the traditional public consciousness. For anyone who has seen Stine do his comedy act, it is clear he has toned down his rhetoric for the movie. His impassioned viewpoints are sometimes long and preachy, but still effective.
In the End
While questioning whether Christmas should be displayed in the public square has an easy answer among Christians, it not always that simple for people who are not deeply rooted in the Church. Christmas with a Capital C does a credible job of looking at both sides of the argument before arriving at its conclusion.
Christmas is a holiday for Christians to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. It is not intended to force anyone, regardless of race or creed, to convert if they do not wish to do so. It is a wonderful time of year to love our neighbors with kindness and compassion, a true demonstration of Christ’s love for us.
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