Bad Santa (1/10)
2003 by Tony Medley
One of the happiest
moments of my year in movie theaters occurred during this film when I
looked at my watch and discovered there were only 20 minutes left before
I could leave. Even though
those 20 minutes seemed nigh on to eternity, I’m thrilled to report
that it does, indeed, end.
Please remember the
names John Requa and Glenn Ficarra. They are the writers and apparently
the only word they can spell is the “f” word, because that’s every
other word from virtually every character. If it’s not the “f”
word, it’s another scatological four-letter word. These guys must have
been educated in the hood, although none of the dialogue rhymes.
Willie T. Stokes
(Billy Bob Thornton) is a dirty, foul-mouthed, drunken bum who gets a
job each year as Santa (hey, this is Hollywood!). His buddy is Marcus
(Tony Cox), his three-foot tall “elf” who gets him his gigs. They
have a scam, which is that they end up robbing the stores, so they
can’t go back to their former stores.
The idea that
someone as loathsome as Willie could get a job as a Santa, much less
hold it for more than five minutes, is ludicrous.
The Kid (Brett
Kelly) is a fat “loser” who’s picked on by bullies and who somehow
pictures this loser of a Santa as someone to look up to. Yeah, sure.
This movie isn’t
funny, poignant, touching, interesting, uplifting, involving, and has no
premise. The ending is ridiculous. It’s a low-class movie about
low-class people with no redeeming social value. There’s no nudity or
sex, but this is as pornographic a movie as you’ll ever see.
There is, however, a
bigger issue, and that’s the integrity of the people who made it. For
the most part, they’re minor leaguers who probably need the money.
That’s not the case with Billy Bob Thornton, who’s a well-known
actor who gets lots of gigs. The assumption must be made that he read
the script, and concluded, “Yes, I want to do this.” As far as I’m
concerned, someone who could say yes or no to this script without any
financial consequences and says yes has made a statement as to the
quality of his character. Can you picture Paul Newman in this role? Cary
Grant? Anthony Hopkins? There are roles that people with integrity
refuse. This was one.
The last scene is
The Kid riding away from the camera giving us the finger. I interpreted
this as a signal from Director Terry Zwigoff to his audience. However, it
wasn't enough for Zwigoff to actually give the finger to his audience.
He compounded the outrage by using Habañaera from Bizet’s Carmen, one
of the greatest pieces of music ever written, as the background music
for the final credits. Bizet must be turning over in his grave as a
result of this affront to good taste.
understand the reason for making this, greed. There’s no reason to see
it. Bad Santa isn't just a bad movie; it's a disgrace.