We Love… Christmas: ‘Bad Santa’

Illustration by Adeline Pericart

Throughout December we’ll be adding more Christmas films we love – so keep an eye on the website and feel free to add any of your own…


Bad Santa

Liam Brennan

‘I’m on my fuckin’ lunch break!’

The words of an aggravated mall Santa…words that we are all guilty of nearly saying at least once in our working lives.

For those of us who work a meaningless day job just to pay the bills, often staring out the imaginary window that should exist in front of your cubicle but likely doesn’t because that would make your day go by just a little bit faster, well, Bad Santa is the holiday film for us. It’s not so much that Willie hates his job as a mall Santa – he does after all take home a nice sum of cash at the end of the holiday season, be it illegally, but nonetheless – it’s that he seems to hate just about everything there is, except for booze and sex. And who could blame him? Willie lives out every man’s fantasy of playing by his own rules and taking absolutely no shit from anyone, other than his wisecracking, little person partner, Marcus that is. Together, they make a perfect team, outsmarting that wormy mall manager, Bob Chipeska (the brilliant John Ritter in his finest role) who tries to see the best in them despite Willie’s fondness for the word ‘fuckstick’ and his affection for having sex with large women in the ladies big and tall changing rooms. They even manage to avoid the suspicions of security officer, Gin, (the hilarious Bernie Mac in perhaps his finest role as well… this is all becoming a bit of a downer, but Willie would drink to that so here we go…) for a while until Marcus has to take matters into his hands and pulls a Coen Brothers-style hit on us out of nowhere.

And what about Therman Murman, the oversized adolescent who takes Willie in when no one else will because his only friend is his sandwich-making granny who’s oblivious to anything but what’s on the television? He shows us the true meaning of Christmas by feeding Willie when he’s hung-over… albeit through his beloved Advent calendar with ‘awesome fuckin’ stories’ in it, but nevertheless. Bad Santa presents viewers with over-the-top characters involved in over-top-situations, but it’s likely the most realistic Christmas film you’re bound to see this holiday season simply because of it’s honesty. Years come and go and as they do, we tell ourselves that we’ll take a different path and make profound and lasting changes in our lives only to wake up the following year and wonder where the hell the time went and force ourselves to make new promises we’re bound to break by the time the New Year’s hangover finally subsides, all the while filling our respective voids with useless shit that’s out of date the moment you take it out of the box. But there’s no shame in that, and through it we do ultimately manage to evolve into entirely different people without really realizing it…just as Willie does by the time he’s gunned down trying to hand Thurman his pink elephant on Christmas Eve.

Whatever the case, we can all stand learn a solid life lesson from watching “Bad Santa this Christmas: Shit happens when you party naked.


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