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Bad Santa (2003) and the Learn To Stand Up For Yourself Moment

The One-Line Summary: Willie T. Stokes (Billy Bob Thornton) is a depressed, alcoholic thief who works only one time a year in department stores as a Santa, and along with his partner in crime, Marcus (Tony Cox), they rob them on Christmas Eve, though this year, Willie gets involved with a woman with a Santa fetish and a young, over weight boy who is certain Stokes is the real deal, causing a little chaos in Willie’s plan.

The Two-Line Blurb: Directed by Terry Zwigoff (Ghost World), Bad Santa is a thoroughly raunchy piece of cinema that takes a no-holds-barred approach to comedy with an aggressively demented story that is twisted, dark, unwholesome and yet undeniably funny with some genuine moments of sentiment. By no means a family Christmas movie, and should not be seen as one despite the children in it, this film spins tropes on their ear with Thornton taking a very risky, potentially career-ending role that he somehow manages to make endearing.

The Three-Line Set-up: This moment is all about the good man hiding in a Bad Santa and begins when Stokes and Marcus come to Saguaro Square Mall and are hired by mall manager Bob Chipeska (John Ritter) who calls attention to the pair’s uncouth and vulgar behavior to the building’s security chief, Gin Slagel (Bernie Mac), who catches on to the thieve’s plan and instead of turing them in, demands a cut of the action. Meanwhile, as Santa at the Mall, Stokes contends with a line of kids he generally despises, though one boy, a chubby, naive kid (Brett Kelly) makes an impression, mostly because he is gullible and wholly convinced that Willie, no matter how inconceivable, is actually Santa.

The Four-Line Moment: The curly-haired boy, who is the target of abusive skateboarding boys, comes to see Santa a second time after he told him he wanted a pink elephant for Christmas. This time, he has his undershorts pulled up and out of his pants from an atomic wedge given by the bad boys and asks Santa to change his present from the elephant to a gorilla named Davey who can beat up the skateboard kids and leave him alone. Stokes, as Santa, tells him no, saying that when we was a kid and got picked on, his father didn’t help him, but rather beat him up and not to better him but because he was a drunk, mean man, further telling the kid that the world ain’t fair and that he’s got to learn to fight back. The moment reveals a sentimental side in Stokes that will become integral to the fate of the character and come to define Willie as not a bad man but only a disillusioned one with a need for hope.

The Five-Word Review: Crass, profane and really funny.

Clip courtesy Movieclips


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