Bad Santa (2003)
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, John Ritter, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham
Directed by: Terry Zwigoff
Tagline: He doesn’t care if you’re naughty or nice.
Running time: 91 Minutes
Quick summary (from IMDB): A miserable conman and his partner pose as Santa and his Little Helper to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. But they run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid, and the security boss discovers the plot.
It’s December, which in our house means it’s time for Christmas movies.
Normally, we begin the holiday season on the Saturday after Thanksgiving by putting up the Christmas Tree, ordering pizza and watching Christmas Vacation. It’s a fine and fun tradition, mainly because I love both pizza and Christmas Vacation. Going to the attic and getting out the tree and decorations and putting them all up, not so much. But this year, for some reason, my wife decided that we needed to have our tree up a full five days BEFORE Thanksgiving. We ordered pizza and put the tree up and it was fine, but I stopped short of watching Christmas Vacation because November 22nd was just way too early. We’ll watch it soon, as it’s a tradition, but it won’t be the first Christmas movie of the season. That honor belongs to Bad Santa, which we actually started watching Thanksgiving Night.
Bad Santa is currently my favorite Christmas movie and it’s entirely because of Billy Bob Thornton. He’s such a dirty, gross and awful character, but almost every single thing he says is funny. I laugh over and over again every time I watch the movie. He plays that character so well that I think he might have actually just been drunk for the entirety of filming and just said whatever came to mind. That’s how ridiculous some of his lines and deliveries are in the movie.
Billy Bob’s not the only one who gets the great and memorable lines, though, as Thurman Merman gets quite a few quotes all to himself. The “Are you spry” line gets me every time. It's in the first couple of seconds of this clip (which is totally NSFW, by the way):
Even watching that clip by itself made me laugh. His earnestness and the way he delivers his lines, it’s fantastic. It must have been really weird to be around Billy Bob all that time when he was in character, being such an asshole and cursing so much all the time, but the kid (Brett Kelly) seemed to turn out okay.
I think Bad Santa was the first (and only?) time I’ve seen Lauren Graham outside of the Gilmore Girls, so it was kind of weird to see her as the hot, dirty bartender with a Santa fetish. When I asked my wife what her favorite things about Bad Santa are, she always says the scene from above and the sex scene between Thornton and Graham in the car. It’s so weird and off-putting and hilarious to hear somebody say the things she was saying. It’s so ridiculous.
The only scenes in the movie that don’t are as funny for me on repeat viewings are the scenes between Bernie Mac and John Ritter. They are really funny scenes, especially with how awkward and timid Ritter’s character is and the fact that Bernie Mac’s facial expressions almost never change no matter what Ritter says. They’re both great in their scenes together, but watching it now several years after both of their untimely deaths makes me feel weird for some reason. I don’t really understand it, because I never feel weird watching other movies with actors who have died, but for some reason, their scenes in Bad Santa bother me and I comment on it every single time we watch the movie. I still love the movie even though a few scenes bum me out.
I love when December rolls around because it means we get to finally watch Bad Santa and Elf and Christmas Vacation and Die Hard again and have it be seasonally appropriate.
4.5 out of 5 stars