Bad Santa

By J.D. Cook

Bad Santa Our #10 Christmas Film
Released: November 26, 2003
Directed by: Terry Zwigoff
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The raunchiest film on this list must be… Bad Santa! Sure this film is loud, crude and completely unqualified for this list but really that just means you are judgmental and not in the Christmas spirit man! Isn’t charity what this holiday is all about? Maybe you should take a look in the mirror before you go and cast the first stone at me! Just Kidding! It’s all true. This movie could almost be the antithesis of every Christmas film ever made. It certainly isn’t wholesome and isn’t filled with cheer or sequences that bring tears to your eyes but it is funny as all hell and it does have the Christmas heart buried under all those booze inspired shenanigans. The story is pretty simple; Con Man Willie (played by Billy Bob Thornton) very slowly gains an attachment to wimpy pre-teen Thurman Merman (played by Brett Kelly). This friendship results in a single act of kindness; Willie steals a stuffed elephant for Thurman. Beyond that this film is filled with Willie trying to hook up with various women and trying to outsmart mall security with his partner Marcus (played by Tony Cox).

An interesting little note to this film is that both the mall characters have now passed away. This was John Ritter’s last film; he played the mall’s manager. Bernie Mac played the Security guard. It’s sad that both of these hilarious men passed away fairly soon after this film. This film plays into the great Christmas trope of a man who doesn’t care about Christmas changing to respect or admire the day. In the case of Bad Santa Willie’s character comes to his one moral epiphany when he asks his partner Marcus if he even needs any of the stuff he steals. In some ways this really serves to paint Willie as a much better person. While Willie steals ever year around Christmas time; he really does it to survive as spends the next twelve months drinking away his money in cheap dives while Marcus lives happily with his wife and steals for no conceivable reason. Furthermore Willie pities the young Thurman who is bullied by kids his own age and ignored by his father who is in prison for embezzlement while living with his dementia affected Grandmother. Willie only really teaches Thurman how to kick a bully in the unmentionables but you really feel for their strange friendship.  Alright that’s about all I have to say about this film. It’s hysterical and it’s got heart watch it if you are ok with a lot of curses and crude humor.

The Twelve Film of Christmas