Movie Review: Bad Santa (2003)

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We all remember christmas as a cheerful time to have fun with you family, eat a bunch of great food and of course presents. And as kids we were expecting the presents to be delivered by the one and only… SANTA CLAUS! Of course we learned that Santa didn’t exist and got a little disappointed… presents are still kinda neat though. But as a kid I thought Santa was a kind of cool thing to see. A large kind man with a fluffy beard and a bag full of awesome stuff… how could you not like the guy? Well that is a question we will get answered in the review you see here!

Boys and girls… “Bad Santa”.

Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) is a drunken, miserable con man. Every year around christmas he acts as mall Santa. But when everyone has left on christmas eve, he and his partner in crime Marcus (Tony Cox) turns off the alram systems and starts raiding the place. In this movie the main operation is in Florida where the mall is run by Bob Chipeska (John Ritter, R.I.P) and a man named Gin (Bernie Mac, R.I.P). But the entire situation gets a bit more complicated when Willie befriends a little kid (Brett Kelly). Yeah, I think you might understand what might happen. But the movie is still very unconventional with the story being pretty original in a way. “Bad Santa” is by no means a family film and should never be mistaken as such. This movie in it’s story aspect is very dark and very offensive (for a christmas comedy). And that is kind of why I like it because of how dark and weird it can get sometimes. I get that this type of story might not appeal to everyone, but I liked it.

The characters are pretty rounded and well-written. They are given enough to do that they never feel underused or overused. They were all given an appropriate amount of space and good dialogue that they became pretty enjoyable to watch. I would also have to say that the movie got some pretty good performances given the fact that it is a comedy. Most comedies have passable performances, but I would say that “Bad Santa” got some performances I could genuinely call good. Like Billy Bob Thornton, I thought he was great as this drunken mess who also happens to one of the most despicable human beings I have ever witnessed in anything ever… at first. Tony Cox was also pretty good in his role. Overall the characters and acting was above the standards of most comedies.

The soundtrack is something to just Marvel at. You know why? Because it’s made up of practically every fucking christmas song you have heard a thousand fucking times! I’m sorry, just getting a bit mad. Not only because I’ve heard these before a lot but also because I would love to hear some original tunes from this movie. I would also have loved it if they didn’t re-use so many of the same songs in several different scenes. I know it might sound a little bit picky, but I like variety in my music.

One funny thing to note is that while this movie is directed by Terry Zwigoff, it is also co-produced by the Coen Brothers. And when I saw that in the opening credits I had it in the back of my mind the entire movie and I noticed a few of the sort of Coen-isms throughout. Delightfully dark comedy, interesting characters and just the overall feel of the movie. The camera work? It was nothing special. The movie looked pretty good visually, nothing special to it.

This movie was overall received pretty well by critics and audience members alike. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 78% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And finally on imdb.com we find the movie with a score of 7,1/10.

“Bad Santa” is the very definition of bittersweet. It isn’t the most uplifting movie ever and it isn’t the most depressing thing ever. It is something that’ll give you a bit of both. It also got great comedy, good performances, good writing, a “good” soundtrack and just feels pretty cool. So now if Santa could just give me my fucking final score already! HNNNNGGG… There, got it! My final score for “Bad Santa” is an 8,67/10. While it is a bit from perfect, I would still say it’s worth buying.
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Review of “Bad Santa” has been let out of the bag.

Not you typical christmas story, that’s for damn sure. Another thing that is for sure is that soon Santa Claus will be coming to Town.

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