53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on 24 July 2004
I have to strongly disagree with the reviewer who found no redeeming qualities in this magnificent, hard-edged comedy. Sure, it's not for everyone - if you can't get past some well-constructed profanity, then you're not going to enjoy it - but if it's not for you, why not simply accept that fact, and let others enjoy it, rather than run it down?
But enough live-and-let-live. The movie deals with the sort of weird, real-life comedy that actually happens ... not contrived Hollywood cutesiness. Story may seem to meander a little, but that's more to do with the realistic tone of the movie than any lack of plotting; au contraire, Blackadder, it's superbly scripted. The acting throughout is faultless, and the comic timing is spot-on. It couldn't have been better made. But the bottom line ... it's very, very, very funny, in a realistic, bitter way that will strike chords with anyone who lives outside of a coccoon. It's a million miles from the smug, safe, self-aware gloop of most Hollywood comedies; more Amelie than American Pie. A wonderful breath of not-politically-correct fresh air.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2008
For those of us who can't quite get into the Christmas spirit, "Bad Santa" is a massive preemptive strike against all of the insufferable sentimentality we're going to be subjected to a few months from now. This movie is every bit as entertaining and funny as "School Of Rock," but where "School Of Rock" succeeded through the overwhelming weight of its good intentions, "Bad Santa" (its moderately heartwarming ending notwithstanding) is all about bad intentions. This movie, especially in its powerhouse first half, displays such a commitment to mean-spiritedness that you can't help but love it.
Billy Bob Thornton's safe-cracking department-store Santa Willie is the epitome of ugliness, all the more so because he commits much of his mayhem in his work outfit. Early on we see him getting drunk and throwing up in an alley, and from there he remains in the gutter for much of the movie. He chain smokes, he wets himself in his chair, he fornicates in a dressing room, and above all, he swears. I don't find profanity inherently funny, but Thornton's acid tongue manages to turn four-letter words into weapons of unimaginable destructive power. More than anything I've seen since the "South Park" movie, "Bad Santa" manages to elevate nasty language into an art form.
Even in its moments of humanity, the movie doesn't aim too high. Willie does have a love interest, but not quite in the conventional sense: intead, it's a young bar waitress with a Santa fetish who demands that Willie wear his stocking cap during coupling. Willie also finds some meaning in his life by striking up an offbeat friendship with a fat, bullied kid named Thurman, a bond that manifests itself in one unforgettable scene when Willie beats the living hell out of the teen skateboarder who gave Thurman a black eye.
Even though it's Thornton's show, "Bad Santa" also benefits from a top-notch supporting cast. In his last film role, the late John Ritter is the picture of ineffectualism as the mall manager; Bernie Mac is admirably slimy as the self-interested security chief; and the three-foot-tall Tony Cox belies his small size with a scene-stealing performance as Willie's "elf" and partner in crime.
"Bad Santa" doesn't have an enormous level of plot development, but then it doesn't really need much. What's really important is the way the movie's cynicism slices and dices the sugary "cheer" (which is often cynical itself) that typically accompanies the holiday season. Christmas isn't all about irritating songs and people rioting in department stores over cheap presents, and we all owe a debt to "Bad Santa" for dumping a little snow on the parade.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The concept of making a Christmas film that flies in the face of the "normal family Christmas film" was a slightly risky plan, but this has become a firm favourite for many viewers keen to depart from the usual proceedings.
"Bad Santa" is just that, the film opens with a rendition of Chopin Nocturne Op.9 No.2 a very well known song and you'd think out of place for a film like this, but the opening scene showing a camera slowly panning down to a bar..moving through the happy customers we see a half drunk Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) drinking shorts in his Santa outfit on his own away from the festive fun and others. What follows is a "commentary" by Billy he's been to prison, had his eye socket punched out. The film title comes up just after Thornton "throws up" outside the bar, it's a fantastic opening sequence and sets the pace for the entire film.
The story is a bit more interesting than some might think Willie isn't just a Santa for fun or for a bit of extra money it's a cover for a well organised "safe breaking" operation. Willie is joined by his "elf" partner Marcus (Tony Cox) both begrudgingly do their "Santa" act only to get to know the layout of the store (and security codes) a short period of work at a few places and they've made enough money to last them for the year with their "heists"
Cast wise we also have Sue played by Lauren Graham (Billy's bartender girlfriend whom he meets one night complete with a hilarious in the car Santa sex scene) The late John Ritter who plays Bob Chipeska the store manager. Gin Slagel (Bernie Mac) is onto the duo and is the security manager for the shopping centre. Brett Kelly has a significant role as Thurman Merman the overweight and somewhat less tuned in than he should be "kid" who thinks that Willie is the "real Santa"
The story isn't to be taken too seriously (but the plot works quite well) neither is the entire film it's at times crude with fairly strong language and some mild sex scenes. Thornton is magnificent (his downbeat no enthusiasm vibe is perfect in this role) as Willie the drunk foul mouthed no manners Santa who is, rude, tasteless and downright ignorant at times (he even wets himself, is nasty to most of the kids) he is everything a Santa shouldn't be and plays the part perfectly. I would say though I like the ending despite being a "bad guy" there is a heart to Willie and this shows in the closing scenes the down and out robber does have some affection for "the kid" Thurman and I think it breaks up the film nicely.
Bad Santa is not a film for those easily offended, however it does manage to be genuinely funny, and makes a welcome diversion (for adults)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Amazon have a habit of dumping all reviews into all film formats. So please note that this review is for the Blu-Ray version and so quality and features may vary.
The picture quality of this film is exactly what I would expect from Blu-Ray, sharp lines, good definition, clear and colourful. I can't comment too much on audio quality as this was playing through standard TV speakers, but what I heard was fine.
This is a very funny film, but if you are likely to be offended by the overuse of bad language, course sexual humour, a Santa that hates children and makes his feelings known to them and glamourising drunken behaviour, then you may want to steer clear of this film.
For those not familiar with the film the story centres around 2 burglars who, every year, scope the security of a department store in the run up to Christmas and then when the safe is full, they break into it and steal the money.
Willie (Billy Bob Thornton) is a safe cracker and gets employment in a stores Christmas grotto as Santa. His side kick and brains behind the operations is Marcus (Tony Cox). He dresses up as an elf and due to his size is able to traverse the ventilation ducts and bypass security. It is a brilliant plan that pays dividends every year, but there is one major flaw; Willie is a drunk who is filled with hatred for everything and everyone.
In Bad Santa they pick up a job where the store manager Bob Chipeska (John Ritter) is a socially awkward boss who relies upon store detective Gin (Bernie Mac) to sort out the day to day problems that drunk Willie is causing for the store. Unfortunately, Gin is a bit corrupt and so Willie is able to get away with swearing and shouting at children, have sex with larger ladies in the dressing rooms, turn up so drunk he urinates himself and falls asleep on the floor.
In the build up to this burglary Willie cons his way into a 10 year old Thurman's (Brett Kelly) home who is looked after by his confused grandmother. Slowly a relationship builds between the 2 helped along with a bartender, Sue (Lauren Graham) who has a thing for Santa after meeting him in a bar.
The film is filled with unrepeatable, yet memorable moments. A timeless kind of humour that has the film being replayed year after year. When you get a bit fed up of all the softer Santa stories of love, joy and happiness and you feel like you need an escape into the darker side of Santa, then pop this into the player.
The blooper reel had me in hysterics especially the scenes between the now both deceased John Ritter and Bernie Mac. The scene with Gin making Bob Chipeska feel uncomfortable spelling out what Willie has been getting up to was in itself a very funny moment in the film, but the outtakes of this scene had me rolling on the floor.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2009
As gritty and offensive as parts of this film may seem to be to the unsuspecting viewer, this really is a thoughtful and intelligent movie and just perfect to watch on a quiet evening, no matter what time of year.
The story and dialogues are still refreshing when watching for the second time, the characters can be related to (even although there may be quite a bit of over-acting here and there) and the way this film manages the balance between the old friendship-story and rather explicit jokes really is something. Oh, and the picture and sound quality of the Blu-ray are just fine as well (Did I mention the surprisingly classy soundtrack?).
So, if you are grown-up enough to see beyond the sticky surface, be ready to find one very fine film indeed with this one!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 December 2012
This 2003 production from the director Terry Zwigoff who in 2001 had directed "Ghost World" comes this irreverent take on the festive holidays, Billy Bob Thornton is perfectly cast as the title character who somehow makes this wholly unsavoury figure likeable in a dark and twisted way and his little helper played by Tony Cox is the perfect comic foil, this is the late John Ritter's last film and is dedicated to him as he passed away in September and this movie opened in November 2003 in the U.S.
Comparing the Blu-ray which was released 2008 in the U.K. to the 2005 version on DVD is like night and day the red of the Santa suit jumps out of the screen the soundtrack of this film is re-born with greater clarity in all the audio departments, the extras included are in standard definition they are the same as the DVD from 2005 this includes the documentary "Not your typical Christmas movie" a blooper reel and deleted scenes, this Blu-ray is encoded using Mpeg-4 in full 1080p resolution in the original 1.85 aspect ratio and the audio track is in English, French, Italian and Spanish 5.1 Dolby True HD and there are a range of subtitles including English for the hard of hearing, Arabic, French, Hindi, Italian, Mandarin and Spanish this is all on a Region Free 50GB disc a perfect cure for when you feel overwhelmed by the Festive Holidays'.
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2004
If you were ever curious to find out how unapologetic and raw a movie can be, then you won't have to wonder much longer. Because, here comes "Bad Santa." No, this isn't your cute and cuddly Christmas movie that'll make you feel good inside. This is a movie that is so vulgar and relentless that you can't help but laugh all the way through it. There is not a single second where this movie is tamed or surrendering, and that alone is something to admire.
Willie T. Stokes isn't your ordinary mall Santa. He's a foulmouthed alcoholic who loathes his own life more than anything else in the world. He's also a successful thief and uses the "Santa" guise in order to help him rip off the department stores, but all of the abuse of booze has taken its toll on him. Things are a little different this year, as a kid who absolutely believes that he is the real Santa takes a liking to him, giving Willie a great hide-out at his own house. Not to mention he meets a beautiful bartender who has a sick "Santa" fetish that's uncontrollable, but he doesn't mind that one bit. Yes, it is shaping up to be a year full of profanity, booze and depression for Willie, and isn't that what Christmas is all about?
I don't think even Kevin Smith and Quentin Tarantino combined can match up to the usage of profanity in this pleasantly dark and off-the-wall comedy. Did it bother me? Of course not, but then again it never really bothers me. I knew exactly what to expect from this movie, so I was very well prepared for what I would witness. I have no problem telling you that I thought this movie was downright funny. Billy Bob Thornton is hilarious as a bitter and depressed Santa. Call me demented, but I thought it was pretty funny when he swears at all of the little kids. He never fails to dish out a few "colorful" words here and there. Bernie Mac and the late and very much missed John Ritter are also very entertaining in their roles. The script was very well written and accomplishes what it wanted--and that is to be funny, and nothing more.
This is not a movie for those who easily get offended. If you hate profanity, then you will loathe this movie. That is a fact. Don't even attempt it if that's the case. This is one of the few movies where it never chickens out. It's raw and brutal from beginning to end. It's not a deep film, and it's not trying to be one. This is a movie that is completely character-driven, so don't expect a fabulous story or a complex plot. The movie's only goal is to be funny and entertaining, and I think it does just that.
"Bad Santa" is a vulgarly good time and it doesn't try to pretend to be something else. It is what it is. It's not for those who are offended by non-stop usage of profanity. While it's no cinematic masterpiece, I found it to be highly entertaining. If you're looking for a dark comedy that refuses to take itself seriously or make any apologies, then this is something worth looking into. A very funny and crude comedy with great performances from an extremely funny cast. -Michael Crane
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
When I recently wrote a review for Cameron Diaz's 'Bad Teacher', I made reference to - and comparisons with - this, Billy Bob Thornton's Bad Santa.
Both are deliciously crass and deliciously dire human beings and as such, we can revel in their animosity and loathing for all things decent and their twisted antics fuel a gross and profane humour, that I find are both a real tonic and irresistible.
Many won't - and indeed, don't but that's personal choice for you. Bad Santa is as an antidote as you'll ever get to syrupy, cloying and very annoying precocious normal Christmas 'family' movies. Willie T Stokes (Thornton) always says what we'd love to as brat after brat line up with their overbearing parents, but wouldn't dare, of course, cos we'd be arrested, or at least barred for life from the shopping centre!
His alcoholic antics are surprisingly realistic and that means they're both gross and funny, often at the same time. Thornton easily turns from condescending snarl to deadpan jet-black humour with skill and at a turn of a hat. He's also a randy old son of a and is always eyeing up what he shouldn't and quite often can be found in cahoots with his black dwarf assistant Marcus (Tony Fox) staying on after department stores close and liberally helping themselves to the merchandise. Bernie Mac also features in one of his last films.
Meanwhile a wonderfully ever-questioning chubby young boy befriends Willie and takes him to stay with him and Grandma. Willie's reaction to the advent calendar that the kid opens to him is beautifully first class non-reactionary, whilst barmaid Lauren Colman who has a fetish for Santas gives this Santa some good old rumpy pumpy action.
Like Bad Teacher, Bad Santa is best served post-pub, late evening and with some mates around. Take it for what it is - a cleverly and vibrantly scripted wicked adult comedy and not for what it isn't and what it doesn't try to be.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2010
Billy Bob Thornton plays 'Willie', a department store Santa who drinks on the job, swears in front of children, wets himself in his Santa suit, and has sex with customers in the changing rooms on his coffee breaks. As if all that wasn't bad enough, when his annual Christmas stint is finished, he turns around and robs the very stores that hired him. Willie's partner in crime is 'Marcus', a dwarf who works with Willie as one of Santa's little helpers, but in reality is the brains of the operation.
The best thing about 'Bad Santa' is its total irreverence and complete indifference to every standard and tradition associated with Christmas. While familiar carols play endlessly on the soundtrack, Thornton acts out a black comedy that literally rips to shreds the most cherished holiday, and utterly without shame. Even the choice of the films setting, Phoenix Arizona, with its searing hot pavements and fully blooming foliage in the dead of midwinter reflects the skewed, surreal tone of the film. 'Bad Santa' is certainly not a movie for children, but then it was never intended to be, but If you like your comedy dark and your sentiment genuine then this is a must see movie!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 22 January 2009
A real funny film - full of comedy and adult humour. This film was much better than i was expecting it to be. NOT FOR CHILDREN though!