I’ve always disliked Christmas. I mean, all holidays designed to coerce perfunctory behavior make my shit list, but Xmas is the worst.
Of course, if you celebrated, I hope your Christmas was awesome! …*cough*…
No, seriously. I ain’t hating on whatever it is you do this time of year.
Anyway, today found me browsing movies on ye olde Amazon Prime. Seeing Bad Santa, I remembered it being good, and treated myself to a viewing. Billy Bob Thornton’s portrayal of Willie ‘Tugboat’ Stokes ain’t high art, but it is funny as hell. There was a touch of sadness watching the flick as it was John Ritter’s last. (Side note: while fact checking Ritter’s death, I learned of the Thornton Death Curse.) Another beloved and now-dead comic actor, Bernie Mac, also appears. Because Mac died five years after the film’s release, the Thorton death curse wasn’t suspected. But I’m not ruling it out…
A pair of crooks have a scheme to do one big heist a year. Every Christmas, they get jobs at a major Department store as Santa and Santa’s helper, and then rob the place on Christmas Eve. This particular year’s going to be their biggest score. The problem is Santa, who’s always been a womanizing, self-destructive drunk, is now in a tailspin and completely out of control.
What makes Bad Santa a good film is that it doesn’t give into the urge of becoming a feel-good holiday movie. Instead, it remains relentlessly crass, bleak, banal, and gratuitous to the very end. It took balls to make this film.
One of my favorite exchange’s occurs between Willie (Santa) and Marcus (Santa’s Helper). Willie has become a reluctant pseudo-father figure to a kid and stomps some pre-teen bullys for giving said kid a shiner. Cut to the mall’s employee locker room where Willie and Marcus are taking off their costumes:
You know, I think I’ve turned a corner.
Yeah? You fucking petites now?
No, I’m not talking about that. I beat the shit out of some kids today. But it was for a purpose. It made me feel good about myself. It was like I did something constructive with my life or something, I dunno, like I accomplished something.
You need many years of therapy. Many, many, many fuckin’ years of therapy.
I’m not going to spoil the movie and tell you everything, but if you’re looking for a film about redemption and hope, this ain’t the flick. If you like dark comedy, Bad Santa‘s definitely a must see.