womens timberland boots ‘Bad Santa’ a Christmas classic
I know I going straight to hell for this but submit Bad Santa as my favourite Christmas movie and not just because it is transgressively hilarious and a work of unbridled bad taste ( plain wrong, sums up my friend Bill Brioux, a fellow admirer of the film).
In fact, on closer review, it has all the elements of a classic Christmas film most notably a bitter lost soul in need of redemption, and a poor unfortunate whose predicament touches the previously untouchable heart of said misanthrope.
It transcends classics because it offers a true fixer upper of human wreckage to root for. It A Wonderful Life George Bailey was never anything less than a nice guy, albeit one defeated by his setbacks in life. And A Christmas Carol Scrooge? There are plenty of media outlets now who hire him to editorialize against raising the minimum wage. His jaundiced lack of empathy toward those least fortunate is utterly unremarkable today, a box you tick off in the voting booth.
But Billy Bob Thornton part time Santa Willie T. Stokes THAT is a character that has had anything resembling the milk of human kindness utterly flushed from him with a vodka enema.
For those who haven seen it (no one who has needs reminding), Bad Santa is the tale of a criminally minded St. Nick, whose annual yuletide scam is to team up with his short statured buddy Marcus (Tony Cox) to land a gig at a mall. There, they case the place for an eventual burglary, acquiring cash to live the rest of the year.
Except that Willie alcoholism and out of control sex life has made him a liability in Marcus eyes, and, as Santa begins soiling himself to the horror of the mall manager (John Ritter, in his last role), a double cross forms in the minds of Marcus and his wife.
Willie salvation (though he doesn know it) lies with Thurman Merman (Brett Kelly),
a chubby, bullied and apparently delusional kid who lives alone in a mansion with his dementia stricken grandma (Cloris Leachman) while his dad serves time in jail for embezzlement. Thurman seems to truly believe Willie is Santa.
Eager to take advantage, Willie moves in, with Sue (a fetching Lauren Graham), a woman with a sexual Santa fetish, there to empty the Merman liquor cabinet and have mad Santa sex in the hot tub.
Have I mentioned I going to hell?
Terry Zwigoff, the director of Bad Santa, may be best known for his amazing doc portrayal of the underground artist Robert Crumb and his pathologically dysfunctional family, and he something of an outsider artist in his own right. His Ghost World (with Thora Birch, Steve Buscemi and a young Scarlett Johansson) was a terrific adaptation of the graphic novel about alienated teens.
But even the R rated version of Bad Santa that played theatres didn satisfy his vision. There was an unrated version on video for those who couldn get enough of the mom on Gilmore Girls shouting, me, Santa! for all its scabrousness, I really did find Bad Santa a feel good movie. Like George Bailey, Willie tries to commit suicide when he hits rock bottom, and finds a reason to live. The ending is as happy as possible under the circumstances. And it a terrific way to remember two now passed comic pros Ritter and Bernie Mac (who played the mall detective Gin,
obsessed with taking Willie down).