Bad Santa (2003)

Thurman Merman.  Thurman fucking Merman.  Jesus Christ.

Here’s another older review of mine for one of my favourite movies of all time.  I’m not talking just Christmas movies here.  I could watch this movie any day of the year.  I originally gave it a 4, and while it isn’t a perfect movie, it has grown on me greatly.  Strangely enough, this was the first time I watched the Director’s Cut, and I have to say that I like the Badder Santa Unrated Version better.

I’ll say this for Terry Zwigoff, the director of Bad Santa: you can’t make two more different films than this one and Ghost World. This one doesn’t pull any damn punches. If you’re a lover of Christmas, stay the hell away from this one. There are no sacred cows un-victimized in Bad Santa.

Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) is a department store Santa Claus. Except he’s the worst fucking Santa I’ve ever seen. Coming to work reeking of booze, smoking, swearing in front of the children. His elf helper, Marcus (Tony Cox), is exasperated pretty much all the time. See Marcus needs Willie to be as nondescript as possible, because every Christmas they loot the joint where Willie played Santa on Christmas Eve. They’ve been doing this for quite some time, and every year Willie gets worse and worse. He can still get the job done, it’s just all the baggage he brings to the gig.

John Ritter – in his last role – plays the store manager, Bob Chipeska, who is looking for any reason he can find to get rid of Willie. Bob’s head of security, Gin (Bernie Mac), is looking into the situation very carefully. There’s also a weird, weird fat boy (Brett Kelly) that does his best to befriend Willie, despite all the cussing and drunken carousing Willie does.  Then there’s my favourite, Sue (Lauren Graham acting as far from a “Gilmore Girl” as imaginable), who is a Santa-groupie basically. She’s dirrrrty when it comes to Santas, oh my yes. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, if you’re wearing a Santa suit, she’ll give ya some.

Willie is probably one of the most unsympathetic characters ever conceived on celluloid. It’s a testament to Thornton’s acting ability and inherent charm that you actually do give a damn about what’s going to happen to him. Or it’s funny watching a person self-destruct in such a spectacular fashion.

Like I said, it doesn’t pull any damn punches, with most of Thornton’s swearing and verbal abuse taking place right in front of children. I haven’t seen the regular version of Bad Santa, because I’ll always take the unrated version of a movie over its more than likely, tamer counterpart. It’s a pretty fucking funny movie, good for any time of the year, except Christmas.

Top notch funny here folks. Thornton’s awesome in a different way than you could ever imagine. Tony Cox is excellent as his helper elf, pushed to the limit by Thornton’s self-destructive sensibilities. MMmmm Lauren Graham, if there are truly Santa groupies out there, I might have to switch careers for a month or so during the year.

5 / 5

Classic Santa

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About SkoochXC
Long-time blogger, Canadian, cine-snark-aphile, Tweeter and generally lonely hearted guy.

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