on December 17, 2007
If you are a fan of Bad Santa, DO NOT BUY THIS DVD. I bought it expecting extended and restored scenes, instead I got a totally different ending and hilarious scenes cut out.
This version ends with the little boy outside trying to clean up the blood on his front steps rather than giving the bully a swift kick in the nards.
One of the scenes cut out is the scene in the gym where Willie and Marcus are trying to teach the little boy how to defend himself. That was one of the funniest scenes in the movie.
The packaging is deceptive. If they had said, "new ending" on the notes, I would have left it alone. It didn't and I wasted my money. I thought I would come on here and post a warning.
on June 16, 2004
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.
on March 7, 2005
Not only is this Santa bad, he is vulgar, crass, dirty, foulmouthed, loose-moraled - come to think of it, I can't imagine a worse Santa. In spite of this, Bad Santa is a brilliant dark comedy, full of huge laughs from beginning to end, as long as you can put up with all of the bad language, which has got to be close to setting a record.
Billy Bob Thornton plays Willie, an ex-con drunkard who gets a job every year at a different department store playing Santa, along with his own elf, Marcus (Tony Cox). The catch is that every Christmas Eve, Willie and Marcus rob the department store blind. Willie wants to get out of this game, but he's so irresponsible and undisciplined that every year he's in dire need of cash again and needs to pull another job. As Santa, he swears at kids, urinates on himself, and is generally the exact opposite of what you want your Santa to be.
This particular year, a young kid (Brett Kelly) who is oblivious to the fact that Willie is not, in fact, the real Santa, attaches himself to Santa. Lo and behold, the kid lives alone in a posh suburban house with only his catatonic granny, so Willie takes up residence with the kid. As Christmas Eve approaches, Marcus becomes increasingly concerned with Willie's condition, the kid becomes increasingly annoying, and Willie stays exactly the same - drunk, angry, and generally foul.
Bad Santa is exactly my kind of movie - unrelenting, unapologetic, inappropriate, completely distasteful, and utterly hilarious. It's essentially the anti-Christmas film. Billy Bob Thornton has an unbelievable knack for acting, and an almost poetic way of unleashing cuss after cuss. This movie gets a big thumbs up, but definitely is not suitable for kids or the easily offended.
If you are a bah-humbug individual, a Billy Bob Thornton fan, and/or have an appreciation for dark comedy....THIS is the Christmas film for you! Oh, yes, it requires an open mind and the ability to appreciate the unique, but finally here is a holiday film for those who like their seasonal entertainment with a little less 'sugar and spice'.
First, do not take your 11 year old to see this film, as did the gentleman sitting behind me in the theater. He elected to remain even though I advised him this was an adult film (seems the R-Rating didn't seem to do the trick). I stressed that was probably not suitable for his son - even if my answer to his inquiry: "Well, it's about Santa Claus isn't it?" was "YES". Because the entire answer was: "YES, but a very, very baaad Santa".
After the movie, the viewer told me that I was correct, that he should have left, and that he had in fact started to leave several times during the film, but didn't. He added that he himself did not like the film. This made be all the more curious as to exactly why he elected to watch until the credits were rolling.
All the other movie patrons must have checked the ratings (as they were all adults), read the reviews, watched the promos, and perhaps caught Billy Bob on every talk show on TV the previous week (where he spent an inordinate amount of time telling the public - 'This is NOT a family film'). They also must have enjoyed the film, because they all laughed, actually, they all laughed a lot.
Being an avid, devoted fan of Thornton, I understand and would be first to admit that I am more than a little biased when it comes to Billy Bob. I think he is incapable of making a film that is not entertaining. That being said, I would have enjoyed 'Bad Santa' if Santa had been portrayed by some other actor (except perhaps Jim Carey, but I digress). However, I don't know any other actor who bring the pathos, the heart, the lewdness, the earthiness, the seediness, and the overall great performance to this film that Billy Bob did.
Billy Bob Thornton continues to explore the depths of his talent and take fans along for the ride by always finding new and unique characters to portray. Generally he does this via the 'independent' film method, because indie films provide the greater opportunities for his enormous creativity.
This time his choice was not a 'new' character, rather actually a very, very recognizable character - recognizable at least by name - Santa, and this time in a film by commercial film makers. That is where our acquaintance with the character of Santa ends. Willie Stokes' Santa may resemble a lot of characters that we know really exist, as opposed to old Kris Kringle. We know this because many of us have met just such confused people in our real lives, though usually not wearing red velvet suits. The individuals we knew were known to us in the guise of losers, con men, hard-drinkers, and otherwise less-than-perfect people who are just a little bit mixed up about who they are, where they are going, and exactly how to get there.
The only disagreement I would have with many of the reviewing film critics about this film is their insistence that "Bad Santa' does not have a 'good hearted' ending. I would beg to differ. While I won't give it away, I would tell you it has what might be considered an ending that is totally 'appropriate' for a holiday film such as 'Bad Santa'. It isn't an 'It's A Wonderful Life' ending, but then again the film isn't 'Miracle on 34th Street'. But we already know that because the title reveals it from the git-go. I may be a bit of a softie when it comes to kids, but I must tell you some of the tears in my eyes at various moments in 'Bad Santa' were not tears of laughter.
Speaking of kids, Brett Kelly, the young actor who plays 'the kid' in "Bad Santa" is priceless in this film and perfectly cast. Brett is the Coronji Calhoun (Tyrell Musgrove - Monsters Ball) of this film. Thornton is excellent in acting in films with children, this film being no exception.
John Ritter, like Billy Bob, has played a variety of characters in a myriad of films during his career and is always 'absolutely on the mark' for the personality of each character. Rather than being 'sorry' for Ritter that his last film was 'Bad Santa'; I believe that making this film with his old friend (from 'Hearts Afire', the 80's TV series) Billy Bob Thornton, in their first film together since 'Sling Blade', was probably a tremendous source of fun and pleasure for Ritter. I am personally very glad that he and Billy Bob had the opportunity to co-star one last time before John's untimely death. While his on-screen time seemed short on this film, John Ritter, as usual, did an excellent job and was very funny, as was always his way.
Open your mind, prepare for laughter, and give yourself the gift of a different kind of holiday cheer this year - go see 'Bad Santa'. If what you want for Christmas is a little break from the often false cheerfulness of the traditional and instead a swig of dark humor for the delight of your soul, 'Bad Santa' can definitely make all your wishes come true - whether you have been bad or good.
on December 31, 2003
Bad Santa, the new anti-holiday comedy from director Terry Zwigoff is one funny movie. It is just what you'd call hilarious and Billy Bob Thorton does make one very bad santa.
Thorton plays a lascivious, acoholic who works with an elf, (hilarious Tony Cox). They're both bad allright! They're business specializes in stealing, by working at different malls around the area and waiting for the right moments to take what they want. Soon a bartender (Lauren Graham) falls for Thorton. The story works out well, it's not amazing (obviously) but it does this movie just fine. As for humor, this movie receives a high rating on my scale. Note: If you find Christmas too sacrosant to joke about or if you don't like scenes using abusive language towards children, then you should skip this. Also Brett Kelly plays a kid, who think Thorton is a real Santa and won't leave him alone.
This is a dark comedy, no doubt. If you have a dark sense of humor, you should definetly look into it. Though the film is vulgar and some of the humor might be viewed as vile, it is entertaining all the way. Bad Santa is rated R for Pervasive Language, Strong Sexual Content and Some Violence. The language is consistent and seems to never end, the sexuality is fairly explicit, you mainly hear sounds, but some is shown. There are only about 3 sex scenes but none include nudity. The violence is reasonably mild, a shootout near the end, which surprisingly isn't bloody and some fistfights. Billy Bob Thorton has also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor for his performance, he does make a great, bad santa, but I'm not sure if he deserves it. Other contenders include, Bill Murray for "Lost in Translation," and yet another nomination this year for Jack Nicholson for "Something's Gotta Give. All in all, a fine comedy, the one thing I might've changed was the constant profanity but I guess it helps make the movie even more funny. Worth seeing in theatres and not a bad pick for owning on Video or DVD.
on November 25, 2003
Not since "There's something about Mary" have I laughed so hard in a movie theater! I got into one of the preview screenings of this last week in LA and I have to say 90% of the audience was laughing just as loud as me. Let the prudes stay home - this is a film for anyone who wants to laugh till it hurts!
on June 24, 2008
This just goes to prove that artists often are not the best judge of their art, as Terry Zwigoff, in his Director's Cut here, completely RUINS one of the finest comedies I've ever seen, a hilarious antidote for those who hate the holdays, a vulgar comedy with an angry spirit and an ultimately uplifting experience, has been transformed here (hard to believe this was the intended version) into a completely miserable film.
Gone is the voice-over in the opening bar scene; gone are many, many funny scenes; instead of being a 'dark comedy', as Badder Santa is (and likewise Bad Santa, both recommended over this swill), this movie here is simply dark. As in pretty darn depressing. The whole mood of the film is different. It's just not funny.
Even the ending is changed, something far less triumphant.
If you have never seen this movie, first off, it is NOT a "holiday film", as many mistake it for, and thus hate it; rather, it is indeed an antidote, for those of us who say, hate It's A Wonderful Life.
Secondly, if you are a BIG fan of Bad Santa, please DON'T be tempted by this; all you need is Badder Santa, that I would give five stars to easily.
It's a shame this version was ever released.
This DVD is a waste of time and money. Skip it.
Bad Santa is an anti-holiday comedy that is sometimes hilarious and often depressing. Billy Bob Thorton plays the part of Bad Santa very well. I don't think the role of alcoholic depressed scumbag is one that Thornton had to go very far out of his element to perform. Tony Cox plays Thornton's elf sidekick. They use their mall Santa job as a front for robbing the shopping malls where they work.
Soon a bartender (Lauren Graham) falls for Thorton. It's a little unbelievable that such a hot bartender would fall for the drunken pig that Thornton plays in this movie. Still, this results in some pretty funny skits and some wild sex scenes.
Brett Kelly plays a lonely kid who befriends Thorton in the hopes of finally getting a Christmas gift. His deadpan delivery and nagging questions will have you laughing out loud. Watching Billy Bob curse and abuse him in his drunken haze will make you twinge more than once. In the end, even the heartless Thornton warms up to a kid who deserves a lot better than he's been dealt.
You might almost forget that this was a major Hollywood release, if not for the total bogus ending. Somehow, Thornton is redeemed and genuinely cares for the kid. Even though he is shot 7 times by police, he miraculously is unharmed (Surprise, Hollywood never did that before!). He doesn't have to do hard time either.
The hidden gems in this movie are the hilarious performances by John Ritter as the straight-laced mall manager and Bernie Mac as the mall Detective. Both of them make average roles come alive.
Parts of this movie are very very funny. Some of it is just cruel and will have you feeling confused. Don't get me wrong, I like dark humor more than the average person. But watching kids get treated like dirt by insensitive adults is just not funny to me.
Needless to say, this movie is not for families or for those who are very religious. If you have a dark sense of humor, you probably won't be too offended by the vulgarity and cruel jokes. Billy Bob Thorton was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance, which is really good. All in all, if you like dark sadistic humor this movie is worth a viewing.
on December 24, 2012
I actually received this as a gift last week from a friend who knows what I fan I am of the film. She excitedly pointed out that it was "the Director's Cut", and I excitedly assumed that that meant there would be even *more* great features. What a bummer. As others have pointed out, many of the greatest scenes were omitted! No monologue, no beach bar, no kid training to fight......It was a major disappointment.
If you love Bad Santa, do not purchase the Director's Cut. Your favorites scenes are likely missing. On a positive note, today I learned what "Director's Cut" actually means.
on December 12, 2003
If you're easily offended by swearing/bad language then this film's not for you. If you don't mind a bit of swearing and you want to escape reality for an hour or so, then this film's a must for adults.
It's the funniest film I've seen this year and certainly the most funny christmas film, however I wouldn't recommend children see it.