I cry at the drop of a hat. As Christmas approaches I’ll lose it over the Marine Corps Toys for Tots commercial, welcome home videos in which troops are reunited with their families, movies with happy, or sad, or hopeful endings, or anything that reminds me of the beauty and goodness in the world. I complement this sensitive side with a distinctly low-brow sense of humor. You know the “Eighteen crotch hits in twenty-three seconds” montages on America’s Funniest Home Videos? Those slay me. Stone cold dead.
This mix might explain why Bad Santa is my favorite holiday movie. There are two kinds of people in the world: people who love Bad Santa and people who wish they could sue Billy Bob Thornton for the two hours of their lives they wasted on the movie and will never get back. I own the former category. I love that movie. I love it for the perfectly written, scathingly delivered lines like, “In case you haven’t noticed, I’m three-feet-f-ing-tall!” I love the boxing ring scene. I love John Ritter in a really brilliant, expectation-busting performance as an uptight store manager (his last performance before his death).
But what I really love is the unsentimental way the movie reminds us that Christmas miracles come to foul-mouthed, alcoholic, law-breaking, perverse thieves as well as the George Baileys of the world. Willy Stokes, the main character, lacks a conscience, a functioning moral compass, or any other redeeming quality. He spends thirty days working as a department store Santa so he can crack the store’s safe on Christmas Eve and steal enough money to drink his way through the next eleven months. But when a fat kid and a pretty waitress come into his life, they accept him unconditionally, caring about him for exactly who he is and where he is in life. Simple, honest affection slowly changes Willy. If I had to describe his character arc, I’d say he goes from “alcoholic degenerate” to “functioning human being”.
Now that’s a Christmas miracle I can get behind.
In keeping with the idea that good things come to those who least expect them, I’ll mention that Thea Moretti, the heroine of my holiday release BREATH ON EMBERS, also gets a miracle. Hers comes in the form of a FDNY firefighter who uses every sexy weapon in his considerable arsenal to coax her through darkness, into the light.
So…yes or no to Bad Santa? Comment between now and November 26 for a chance to win a BREATH ON EMBERS goodie bag including Starbucks, iTunes, shortbread, and more!