Saturday, November 06, 2004


Holidays are bummin’

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Cast: Billy-Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, John Ritter

Tagline: He doesn't care if you're naughty or nice

Bah Humbugger. Surviving Christmas and Christmas with the Kranks are inoffensive fun for all the family and they star Ben Affleck and Tim Allen respectively. The Polar Express is nothing more than an extended Coke ad. The Elf 2-disc DVD seems positively gritty in comparison to this year’s jolly fare. As my favourite Christmas movie is probably Die Hard, I take great pleasure in seeing a Christmas tale so consistently immoral as Bad Santa.
Billy-Bob is at his subtly disturbing best as a drunken scumbag with a sweet centre whose idea of good deeds include beating up young children and indulging the fetish of a bartender in love with the real Santa Claus by screwing her senseless. His misdeeds make the Grinch look like Jesus Christ as he revels in booze, burglary, buggery and booze like it was cookies. The Coens’ touch is highly apparent, with traces of The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona and, obviously, The Man Who Wasn’t There present among the yuletide debauchery, but the whole thing is held together by the same steady coolness which made Zwigoff’s Ghost World so unique.
Dialogue is key and the best of it comes from the trash talk between Uncle Willie and severely disconnected only child Thurman Merman where a delightful bond is built on a web of lies, extending Saint Nick’s lore into extremely perverted territory. The scenes between Bernie Mac and late great John Ritter are often equally brilliant as Willie’s foulness is very slowly translated into a sensitive, politically correct equivalent.
The movie’s big lesson is that when you get any distance away from Christmas in America, everyone starts to look like a sap, or just plain weird, but that there is always something beautiful to be found within all those magnified emotions. With some of the most profoundly wrong, yet hilarious dialogue of the year (‘Fuckstick?’), quality slapstick, particularly when our weird kid learns to box, and a neat surprise for anyone expecting a Falling Down-style ending, Bad Santa is the ideal, superbly bleak alternative to the flood of family-size bumper-Xmas-treats on their merry way.


Blogger Dude said...

Falling Down should be a good film, but it fails miserably by being too corny.

5:29 AM  
Blogger Dude said...

Having said that, the film in question should've ended on the steps without the cornball ending. However the line "you ain't gonna shit right for a week" will remain with me for years to come (ahem).

Booze, bullshit and buttfucking. The three Bs.

3:12 AM  

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