Bad Santa

Bad Santa

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It takes a certain type of person to appreciate this dark take on the normally twinkly magical genre of Christmas movies. I’d say approach with extreme caution as this is as far from Miracle on 34th Street as you can get. Billy Bob Thornton plays the most reprehensible Santa Claus ever, a misanthropic reprobate with absolutely no discernible good qualities and certainly no morals to speak of. He and his equally foul-mouthed friend work as Santa and elf at department stores during the holidays, after which they rob the place blind and live off their ill-gotten gains until the next year when they do it all over again in a different city. The film shows in loving detail all the ways in which this is a very Bad Santa, my personal favorites being beer cans and booze bottles falling out of his (stolen) car door, and him roaring that he’s on his lunch break when a mother and son approach him at the food court. This is a Santa who is constantly falling down drunk, who pees in his own pants and likes to (I’ll borrow the up-tight store manager’s words here, played by John Ritter) fornicate with large women in dressing rooms. The obscenity, vulgarity and raunchiness are beautifully counterpointed by a gorgeous classical music soundtrack which serves to underscore (pardon the pun) just how loathsome the story is. I might never think of ‘The Anvil Chorus’ the same way ever again! Lauren Graham plays a barmaid with a Santa fetish and Bernie Mac is hilarious as the store’s unscrupulous head of security. If you can get past the appalling language, scatological humor, rampant sexual content and the relentless cynicism infusing the whole movie, it really is funny. There’s even some rather moving stuff involving a lonely little boy who seeks out Santa at the mall. But the movie is true to itself to the bitter end, so don’t expect there to be a moral to the story. If you thought Will Smith was funny in Hancock, this might just tickle your fancy, but it’s best to know what you’re getting into beforehand. You’ve been warned. – BETHANY

For more on cast and crew:

I feel like any comment I could put here would be interpreted as offensive.

Ho Ho Ho

I wonder if the mall pays for dry cleaning that suit?

Thurman Merman comes to visit Santa.  His parents did not do right by him.

Stuffy mall manager Bob Chipeska (John Ritter)

Canny head of mall security Gin Slagel (Bernie Mac) is slightly miffed at Willie Stokes (Billie Bob Thornton).

Sue (Lauren Graham), a bartender with a proclivity for Santa – it’s a match made in … in … well, a bar.

A wee bit of the ‘Anvil Chorus’ scene:

Photos courtesy of Columbia Pictures Corporation, Dimension Films, Triptych Pictures, Blixa Zweite Film Produktion GmbH & Co. KG and Mike Zoss Productions


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