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YMMV / Bad Santa

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  • Crosses the Line Twice: Willie's constant swearing at children.
  • Director Displacement: The film was executive-produced by The Coen Brothers (who also did uncredited re-writes), yet it's a Terry Zwigoff film.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Also common, as in the end it really is a movie about the spirit of Christmas. Although Willie loses his temper around Thurman quite frequently, he really does love him, even if he would never admit it.
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  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Billy Bob Thornton once mentioned having a fear of little people (even featuring them to create disorientation in his Sling Blade). Guess who he's paired with in this movie?
  • Jerkass Woobie: Willie may be a complete bastard for about 95% of the film but it becomes increasingly clear that he is caught in a cycle of alcoholism, crime, self-loathing and suicidal despair.
  • Moral Event Horizon: For most of the film, Marcus is a pretty funny and mostly Harmless Villain who serves as the Only Sane Man in comparison to Willie. Then he murders Gin Slagel and after successfully robbing the mall, decides to kill Willie as well.
  • Strawman Has a Point: When Willie is eating lunch in the food court, a woman encourages her son to climb on his lap and tell him what he wants for Christmas. Willie yells "I'M ON MY FUCKING LUNCH BREAK!", and we're meant to see it as another example of Willie being horrible with kids. While he did go way overboard, he was off the clock, only in partial costume and had every right to not be bothered by a selfish mother who thought it was okay to crash in on his lunch demanding special treatment for her son.
    • Also, while it doesn't justify him trying to kill Willie, it's hard not to agree with Marcus that Willie's reckless and unprofessional behavior has made him more of a liability than anything else, and that without him their plans would go nowhere. Willie's actions throughout the film almost caused them both to be arrested on several occasions, almost caused them to be fired, and allowed them to be blackmailed by Gin.
      • The latter was perhaps what drove Marcus to not only betray Willie but also attempt to kill him.
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  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: The director's cut (not to be confused with the unrated cut) removes virtually every scene in which Willie displays any kind of humanity to Thurman, which in turn removes most of the Character Development and some of the funnier scenes in the film (like what Willie uses for Advent calendar candy). This coupled with some other inexplicable cuts (the "you people" meeting with the John Ritter character, the voiceover narration that sets the tone in the beginning, and oddly adding several pointless scenes of the Lauren Tom character scouting the stores for loot) leaves most fans with the consensus this is the weakest version despite being Zwigoff's intended cut.
  • Wangst: Willie himself spends most of the film being a whiny man-bitch.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Boy has this film suffered from this. Hey, it's got a guy in a Santa Claus costume on the cover/poster, it can't really be kid-inappropriate! In the USA, TV adverts had to be hastily plastered with "this is for ADULTS ONLY, YES WE REALLY REALLY MEAN IT" warnings following complaints. In the Republic of Ireland, the film has been claimed to have directly inspired the creation of the mandatory "16" age rating to fill a perceived gap between the advisory "15A" (which it originally received) and the mandatory "18".
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  • The Woobie: Thurman Merman. He's a lonely kid who's constantly bullied by a bunch of cruel teens For the Evulz, he lives with his senile dementia grandmother (she dies in car accident in the sequel), his mother is dead for unknown reasons, his father is in jail for embezzlement, he's in a precarious financial state and he has an Unfortunate Name.


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