Writing for CHUD these last few years has made me less actively cynical – ‘You soulless corporate bastards!’ – and more passively cynical – ‘It’s a business, what do you expect?’ – but every now and again something so egregiously awful comes down the pike that I find myself getting the old dander up. Such a thing has happened today, when I saw that Lionsgate has made a deal to adapt a painting of a house.
The painter is Thomas Kinkade (“Painter of Light”), a guy whose work is essentially Muzak on canvass. It’s the sort of shit that anyone with even a shred of taste would see as schlock, so of course his work is found in 1 out of 10 Americans homes. Kinkade is especially popular with evangelical Christians – this is one side of the culture war, folks. If these people win, we’ll all have these paintings – which make the generic paintings in cheap hotels look edgy – hanging on our walls.
Variety says the painting being adapted is “The Christmas Cottage” – I went to Kinkade’s website and saw his whole ‘Cottage Collection,’ and while there were some with Christmas names or settings, I didn’t see one called ‘The Christmas Cottage’* – and that part of the story will be based on Kinkade’s life, especially about how he decided to become an artless panderer to the lowest common denominator. Lionsgate has a second Kinkade project in the planning stages as well.
You can thank Mel Gibson for this kind of movie. The Passion of the Christ brought out a Christian audience who avoids the movies, and the studios, lusting for their money, have been trying to figure out ways to lure them back ever since . Lionsgate production chief Michael Paseornek actually told Variety that part of the reason they’re making a Kinkade movie is because of the guy’s massive mailing list.
*Scratch that. I did find it on a site called – I shit you not – www.christcenteredmall.com.