July 3rd: Festive Spirits

Bad Santa

138. Bad Santa (Terry Zwigoff, 2003)

He hasn’t directed many films but Terry Zwigoff has only made interesting stuff. Bad Santa might look a little out of line for the man behind indie fare like Ghost World, which was brilliant by the way, but this film really works. Billy Bob Thornton is absolutely spot on as Willie, the depressed alcoholic safecracker partner to Tony Cox. They rip off the department stores where they work as the Santa and Elf team in the Christmas period. During all of this Willie drinks and shags his way through life before he stumbles bizarrely into a family unit where some form of responsibility is thrust upon him. Its funny, filthy and cynical. One of the best Christmas films of recent years, it makes you wonder why Zwigoff doesn’t get more work.

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