Bad Santa

  • Directors: Terry Zwigoff
  • Producers: John Cameron, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
  • Writers: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa, uncredited, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, Terry Zwigoff
  • Genres: Comedy, Crime, Drama
  • Actors: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Lauren Graham, Lauren Tom, with John Ritter, and Bernie Mac

The film begins in a bar on a December night in Milwaukee, where the viewer is introduced to Willie Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton), a bitter, lonely alcoholic. Willie works the holiday seasons as a mall Santa along with his dwarf friend, Marcus (Tony Cox), who works as Santa’s elf. Every Christmas Eve, the two of them disable the security alarm after the mall closes and rob the mall safe; afterwards, Marcus returns to living with his wife (who Willie finds very ugly and annoying), Lois (Lauren Tom), while Willie goes to Miami and spends all his money on booze, a resort condo, and other purely hedonistic pursuits.

At the new mall they plan to steal from, Willie’s alcoholic rants arouse the suspicion of mall manager Bob Chipeska (John Ritter), who asks security chief Gin (Bernie Mac) to investigate. Meanwhile, Willie meets bartender Sue (Lauren Graham), and they begin a relationship. He also meets a pudgy, preteen boy, whom he nicknames the Kid (Brett Kelly), during their visit in the mall. When he leaves the bar and is confronted by a hostile man (Ajay Naidu), the Kid stops the man from beating up (or possibly raped due to the man turning him around) Willie after the guy falsely accuses Willie of being gay. A lonely, unpopular boy, the Kid lives with his senile grandmother (Cloris Leachman) who only says “Roger, you’re home! Let me fix you some sandwiches”; his mother is dead and his father is in prison for embezzlement. After taking the Kid home to the Kid’s father’s mansion, Willie breaks into the house safe, takes all the money, “borrows” his father’s BMW, and winds up spending the money on more booze.

In the final scene, Thurman wears a shirt that Willie sent him, which says on the back, “Shit happens when you party naked,” together with his original present. When Thurman goes out for a bike ride, the head bully appears and starts to taunt Thurman by threatening to steal his bike. But Thurman kicks him in the groin and rides off giving the bully the middle finger.

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