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Billy bob thornton in bad santa
Don’t sit on my lap. I don’t care what you want for Christmas. Dirty little f#@kers.

Billy Bob Thornton can act. He’s underrated, but shows a consistent range throughout his filmography. During the holiday season, he’s even got two popular rewatchable Christmas songs under his belt. He’s completely believable, whether he’s a smary President of the United States,  or the world’s meanest, drunkest Santa.

Spoilers Ahead!

And here’s where Bad Santa begins. I have a surprising amount of holes in my “personal” movie database, and this is another film I never had a chance to see. Now upon watching it, I’d say he really is the worst Santa imaginable, and I thought Dan Akroyd’s dirty/hungry Santa in Trading Places would get this award.

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The World’s Most Indispensable Movie App

The RunPee app tells you the best times to
run & pee during a movie
so you don't miss the best scenes.


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[pullquote]Thornton’s Santa is more like a Grinch or a Scrooge than anything else, except that this character is worse. [/pullquote]He’s a dirty, mean drunk who snarls at children and pisses himself. He leers at and and grabs women (wait — he ALSO did this as the US President in Love, Actually). He has one useful skill — cracking safes — and uses the money to drink on the beach until the next Christmas season, where he can start it up again.

I expected this film to be pure low-brow comedy.[pullquote position=”right”] It wasn’t until the second act that I realized this is a drama — a drama with comedic points — with a real storyline in there, and a lot of pathos. [/pullquote]Thornton suffuses his character with strong whiffs of desperation, alienation, and the complete lack of a moral compass.

In a word, this Santa is a vile man. It takes an awful lot to stir him towards anything remotely resembling compassion. By the time he’s gassing himself in the garage, we pity this human husk. I waited for him to become a better person, but when I saw him in the car, I thought his story was done — it would be a reasonable ending; we’d all walk out sad, but it made sense.

Turns out some kind of Christmas Angel was smiling upon him in Arizona. He meets a couple of people who like him for no real reason. He’s rude to them — super rude, in fact — but they come back for more, slowly breaking down his self-imposed barriers of isolation. What happens over the course of the film is nothing short of a Christmas Miracle (TM). He doesn’t end up a nice man by any means, but he’s found a reason to live, and to reach out to others, and discovers the remnants of his own humanity. He ends up exactly where he needs to be, ready for an ersatz family to care for.

In other news, I liked Bad Santa a whole lot, more than I thought I would. Never once did it get syrupy or tug on my heartstrings. But in spite of myself, I rooted for this guy in the end. If you don’t like the Hallmark Christmas subset of a genre, try watching this.

Movie Grade: B

What people are saying
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A Google user

July 11, 2019

I’ve loved this app for years and use it at the theater and home. Super easy to use and so helpful to know when it’s a good time to run for the restroom. I notify my kids when it’s close to time, so I don’t end up running them to the restroom multiple times. (Updated review from 4 to 5 . I’d had an issue with the app while at the theater and it was quickly resolved with FANTASTIC customer service. Thanks, RunPee!)

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A Merry Movie Christmas – The RunPee Family’s Favorite Holiday Films

Don’t miss your favorite movie moments because you have to pee or need a snack. Use the RunPee app (Androidor iPhone) when you go to the movies. We have Peetimes for all wide release films every week, including Bad Boys: Ride or Die, Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga and coming soon Inside Out 2, Despicable Me 4  and many others. We have literally thousands of Peetimes—from classic movies through today’s blockbusters. You can also keep up with movie news and reviews on our blog, or by following us on Twitter @RunPee. If there’s a new film out there, we’ve got your bladder covered.

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