Two times the Billy Bob

As I said, I like Christmas movies. (Christmas itself, not so much.) And I like Billy Bob Thornton. Lately he’s been in a string of not-so-great looking movies that I will probably never watch, sure, but he was also the coach in the movie version of Friday Night Lights, and that will hold him in my heart forever. And so, in celebration of the non-sucky parts of his career, and of slightly demented Christmas movies, I present Billy Bob’s “That’s Pretty Fucked Up” Christmas Double Feature.

ice-harvest.jpgMovie number one: The Ice Harvest

According to this movie, one would think Christmas is all about hanging out in strip clubs and violating open container laws. John Cusack, a mob lawyer, and Billy Bob, some sort of low-level mobster type, have managed to steal over $2 million from their boss. How they managed it is unimportant and never really addressed. The problem is that now they’re stuck in iced-over Witchita on Christmas Eve, and someone’s figured out the money’s gone a bit before they anticipated. There’s a lot to like about this movie: the presence of John Cusack outside of an unwatchable romantic comedy or crappy horror flick, the bits of black comedy, Billy Bob going on a priceless tirade against a guy locked in a trunk. Overall there are some satisfying twists, and the whole thing clocks in at 89 minutes, which is ideal for the first movie of a double feature. Connie Nielsen is particularly not great as the femme fatale, having clearly seen Double Indemnity too many times (you are no Barbara Stanwyck, Connie), but I was entertained. These two actors play off of each other really well, and the desperate feelings that Christmas brings out in people make a good backdrop.

bad-santa.jpgMovie number two: Bad Santa

“He’s not going to say fuck stick in front of the children, is he?”

This is the full course meal after the appetizer, Billy Bob at his most glorious and most disgusting. I love love love this movie. It is so amazingly funny that if you somehow haven’t seen it yet, I am simultaneously ashamed of you and jealous, because I would love to watch it again for the first time. Billy Bob is alcoholic louse Willie Soke, who attempts to come out of his stupor once a year to be a department store Santa, just so he can crack the store safe on Christmas Eve. And maybe get some action in the Big-and-Tall ladies’ dressing room. Though the gross-out humor is most memorable, the film’s also very well-crafted. I find it impressive that a movie this crass and cynical can manage to fit in some sentiment at the end and make it work, as Billy Bob’s character actually comes to care about the dumb kid he’s been freeloading off of. The final scene isn’t exactly George Bailey finding out he’s the richest man in town, but it is nice, in its own way.

That’s Christmas spirit, Brandi style.


3 Responses to “Two times the Billy Bob”

  1. 1 angunc3 December 5, 2007 at 6:13 pm

    Oh my goodness, I thought Bad Santa was deliciously naughty! My favorite line (and I’ll edit for language), “F me Santa! F me Santa! F me Santa!” How often will you hear someone screaming THAT out?! I’ve never seen Ice Harvest, but I might have to check it out.

  2. 2 patty December 7, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    did you really just dedicate a post to billy bob?

  3. 3 Carly December 7, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    I haven’t seen Bad Santa yet. And you’re not the only one who’s ashamed of me for it either; Dad’s appalled too.

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Other projects:

Downton Gabby: podcasting about Downton Abbey from a funny, foul-mouthed, feminist perspective

Quick Lit: reading one short story a day in 2015

Grand Dames: collecting sundry achievements of admirable women

The MacGuffin: archive of my days as a film critic

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