Director: Terry Zwigoff
Stars: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham
Never is Billy Bob Thornton better than this saga of Willie, a hard-drinking, sex-addicted, suicidal stand-in Santa who robs malls blind with some assistance from his elf-sized partner, Marcus (Cox). When a husky, odd, but kind boy sits on his lap and asks for a pink elephant. Willie yeah-yeahs him, then discovers the kid lives in an opulent mansion thanks to his imprisoned, embezzler father. So Willie moves in while Pops is still behind bars. From there, he wins over a woman with a Santa fetish as he dodges the suspicious eyes of a citrus-loving head of security (Mac). After the boy carves him a blood-stained wooden pickle, Willie grows fond of the kid. And eventually, a betrayal by his partner and a tip-off to the cops puts Willie in a redemptive car chase that’s shockingly emotional as it concludes in a hail of police bullets. The soft center of Bad Santa makes it more than just a foul romp. Instead, it’s the touching story of the one time a broken man did something decent.