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Bad Santa



Directed by Terry Zwigoff
Produced by John Cameron
Sarah Aubrey
Bob Weinstein
Written by Glenn Ficarra
John Requa
Starring Billy Bob Thornton
Bernie Mac
Lauren Graham
Music by David Kitay
Cinematography Jamie Anderson
Editing by Robert Hoffman
Distributed by Dimension Films
Release date(s) November 26, 2003 (2003-11-26) (United States)

Running time 91 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $18 million
Box office $76,057,639

Bad Santa is a 2003 American Christmas crime comedy film written and directed by Terry Zwigoff, and starring Billy Bob Thornton, Bernie Mac, and Lauren Graham, with Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Lauren Tom, and John Ritter in supporting roles. It was Ritter's last film appearance. The Coen brothers are credited as "executive producers".

The film was screened out of competition at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.[1]

An unrated version was released on DVD on March 5, 2004 and on Blu-ray Disc on November 20, 2007 as Bad(der) Santa. A director's cut DVD was released in November 2006, which features Zwigoff's cut of the film (including an audio commentary with him and the film's editor), but is three minutes shorter than the theatrical cut and ten minutes shorter than the unrated version.

PlotWillie T. Stokes works Christmas holiday seasons as a mall Santa with his dwarf friend, Marcus, as Santa's elf. Every Christmas Eve they disable the mall security alarm after hours and rob the mall. Afterwards, Marcus goes back to living with his wife, Lois, while Willie goes to Miami and spends all his money on alcohol and hedonistic, self-destructive and usually illegal pursuits.

The next year at a new mall in Phoenix, Willie's alcoholic rants arouse the suspicions of mall Manager Bob Chipeska, who asks Security Chief Gin Slagel to investigate. Willie meets bartender Sue, and they begin a relationship. During their visit in the mall Willie meets a pudgy preteen boy, whom he nicknames the Kid. When Willie leaves a bar a hostile man confronts him, but the Kid stops the man from beating up Willie. A lonely, unpopular boy, the Kid lives with his senile grandmother; his mother is dead and his father is in prison for embezzlement. When Willie takes the Kid home, Willie breaks into the family safe and takes the money, then takes the absent father's BMW.

Irritated by Willie's reckless behavior, Marcus berates him about his new car, his alcoholism and his flirtatiousness with customers. After Gin breaks into Willie's motel room posing as a police officer, Willie moves in with the Kid. During his time spent with the Kid, Willie starts to show minor signs of kindness, offering the Kid advice on fighting and playing checkers.

Willie causes more trouble at the mall but continues to spend time with Sue and the Kid. Marcus is continually disgusted by how unreliable Willie has become. Gin, meanwhile, discovers the history of the criminals and he demands half of the loot, creating further friction between Willie and Marcus. Willie goes to the mall drunk and destroys a nativity display. Marcus and Gin try to cover it up, but get into an argument. The next day, Willie tries to commit suicide, giving the Kid a letter explaining the mall robbery. He changes his mind when he sees how bullies have blackened the Kid's eye; Willie beats up the lead bully. Willie feels that he did something good for the first time in his life. To make sure the Kid can defend himself, Willie and Marcus try to teach him how to box.

The Kid gives Willie a Christmas present in advance: a wooden pickle he bloodied when he cut himself carving it. He gives Willie a low-grade report card, hoping to make him happy. Willie learns the Kid's name is Thurman Merman. Thurman asks for a pink stuffed elephant this year, since he has not received any presents for the past two years.

That night, Marcus and Lois murder Gin with their van when he refuses to take less than half the money. On Christmas Eve, Sue helps Willie and Thurman decorate their house for Christmas. Willie leaves to rob the mall with Marcus. After cracking the safe, Willie takes a stuffed elephant for Thurman. However, Marcus produces a gun and plans to kill Willie because he is too unreliable. Willie, in tears, asks Marcus and Lois if they really need everything they steal. Fortunately for Willie, the police arrive, having been tipped off by Willie's letter that Thurman gave them. Willie flees and speeds (to the sound of Chopin's Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2 in the background) to Thurman's house to give him his present; he arrives at the house but the police shoot him eight times in front of the neighbours. Willie survives and avoids prison time because of the letter and the fact that an unarmed man dressed in a Santa suit getting shot eight times in front of screaming children "is more fucked up than Rodney King", as Willie puts it. The police arrest Marcus and Lois. Sue is given legal guardianship of Thurman and Willie becomes a sensitivity trainer for the police department. Thurman walks outside to fix his new bike. The bully who had previously tormented him is waiting outside his house and confronts him. Thurman kicks him in the testicles and rides away with a carefree attitude.

Billy Bob Thornton as Willie T. Stokes
Tony Cox as Marcus
Brett Kelly as The Kid/Thurman Merman
Lauren Graham as Sue
Lauren Tom as Lois
Bernie Mac as Gin Slagel
John Ritter as Bob Chipeska
Octavia Spencer as Opal
Cloris Leachman as Granny (uncredted)
Alex Borstein as Milwaukee mom
Billy Gardell as Milwaukee Security Guard
Bryan Callen as Miami bartender
Tom McGowan as Harrison
Ajay Naidu as Indian immigrant
Ethan Phillips as Roger Merman
Matt Walsh as Herb (uncredited)
Max Van Ville as Bully
Ryan Pinkston as shoplifter
Curtis Taylor as Phoenix Security Guard
Sheriff John Bunnell as Phoenix Police Chief
Dylan Cash as Kid on Bike (uncredited)

Bad Santa, Zwigoff's fourth film, was his most mainstream, following the limited releases of Crumb and Ghost World. The original screenplay was written by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. Prior to filming, Ethan and Joel Coen and Zwigoff did rewrites on the script, although by WGA rules, they were uncredited.

Jack Nicholson and Bill Murray were both interested in playing the role of Willie, but were already filming Something's Gotta Give and Lost in Translation, respectively.

[edit] ReceptionThe film has an aggregate "Certified Fresh" rating of 77% at Rotten Tomatoes.[2] It received 3½ stars out of four from Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert.[3]

[edit] Box officeThe film grossed over $60 million at U.S. box offices and over $76 million worldwide.[4]

[edit] Home media In the U.S, a theatrical version, an unrated version, a director's cut and a Blu-ray version (which includes unrated and director's cut) have all been released. According to, the special features for the theatrical cut of the film included: a behind-the-scenes special, outtakes, and deleted scenes. The unrated edition was released June 22, 2004 and had all of the above plus a 'Badder Santa' gag reel and over seven minutes of unseen footage. The director's cut was released October 10, 2006 and contained the new version of the film (as Zwigoff originally intended it). It also had a new commentary (in addition to the rest of the features: outtakes, deleted/alternate scenes, and the behind-the-scenes feature). The Blu-ray version released November 20, 2007 contained the unrated version and the director's cut of the movie. Among its special features were director's commentary, an interview with Zwigoff and editor Robert Hoffmann, along with other features ported over from the previous unrated version's release in addition to a showcase feature.

[edit] SequelOn September 18, 2009, Billy Bob Thornton appeared on the NFL Network show NFL Total Access. He confirmed, after host Rich Eisen hinted, that there would be a sequel to Bad Santa, aimed for release by Christmas 2011.[5] In March 2011, Thornton and The Weinstein Company confirmed that negotiations had begun for a sequel.[6] A sequel has now been scheduled for December 2013.[7]

[edit] References1.^ "Festival de Cannes: Bad Santa". [link]. Retrieved 2009-12-05.
2.^ Bad Santa at Rotten Tomatoes
3.^ "Bad Santa :: :: Reviews". [link]. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
4.^ "Bad Santa (2003)". Box Office Mojo. [link]. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
5.^ Fleming, Mike. "Weinsteins And Miramax Strike Sequels Deal". [link]. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
6.^ Hopson, Travis (2011-03-20). "Punch Drunk Critics". Punch Drunk Critics. [link]. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
7.^ Eisenberg, Eric (2012-02-14). "Billy Bob Thornton Says Bad Santa 2 Is Starting Up This Year". [link]. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
[edit] External links Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Bad Santa

Bad Santa at the Internet Movie Database
Bad Santa at AllRovi
Bad Santa at Box Office Mojo
Bad Santa at Rotten Tomatoes
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